What’s the difference between matt and gloss photo paper?
Gloss, semi-gloss and matt are the standard paper surfaces. They’re available in a variety of finishes which alter the overall look and feel of your print, enhancing different qualities of an image.
Glossy surfaces have a shiny, highly reflective finish. Due to their coating and the way they retain ink, they can achieve a wide colour gamut and vibrancy, and a very high Dmax (density of blacks). Gloss paper can offer excellent contrast and clarity, often suiting vibrant, modern images such as studio portraits or colourful graphical pieces. However, they can be less suitable for displaying prints due to the reflective surface, particularly if displayed behind glass.
Matt papers have no shine at all, and are most popular for fine art prints, landscapes and nature due to their natural, true-to-life look. Matt papers have a range of textures that sit on a spectrum from velvety smooth right through to heavily textured. A matt paper can add wonderful depth to an image, especially with highly detailed subjects – think of the peeling rust on the side of a boat or an oil painting with intricate brush strokes. These wouldn’t stand out on a glossy paper in the same way that they would on a matt paper. With the right image, the look and feel of a matt paper can completely enhance the emotional and tactile experience of a print.
Matt vs Gloss Inkjet Paper
Comparing the prints below on PermaJet Matt Plus 240 and PermaJet Gloss 271, you can see the subtle differences paper choice can make. Whilst the gloss paper has denser blacks, the matt paper has more detail in the hair and flowers, and a greater sense of depth with no glare. The gloss paper gives a bolder, more graphical feel to this image whereas the velvety softness of the matt paper emphasizes the fine art qualities. Ultimately, the paper you choose is down to personal preference and which elements you’d like to accentuate.