Glossy vs. Matte

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by maijaathena, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. When printing photos from 4x6 to 11x14, which finish do you prefer? And why?
    Are there types of photos (i.e. landscape, portrait) that you feel look better
    in one vs. the other? Thanks!
  2. Pearl. Because it's brighter than matte, has texture but doesn't hurt my eyes like glossy? Or maybe I just can't make up my mind.
  3. I happen to like the 4x6 glossy color prints i get when i get my 35mm and APS film developed at Rite Aid. I tried a "pro" shop down the road, and he made the 4x6 prints with a matte finish. But they just didnt seem to look as vibrant, as clear, as brilliant, as the Rite Aids. I shoot Fuji ISO 200 Color film, and they process using std C-41 process.
  4. The larger the photo, the more matte I like them. I find that huge glossy prints turn into mirrors and you cant see the photo as well as your face.
    So, I print small things on pearl or luster and sometimes even glossy, and larger things on matte paper.
    If you frame them under low reflectance glass, or rather plexiglass, large prints also look nice on slightly more glossy paper.
  5. Glossy color is strictly amateur. My prolab does not even stock it for wedding and event photography.
  6. Glossy is amateur? Based on what? That's kind of silly.
    I think it really comes down to personal preference.
  7. Whether it's pro or not, I prefer matte.

    The lack of glare, and the subtle random shading from the slight texture of matte paper give the prints a feeling of infinite detail -- like the closer you look, the more you will see. Similar to film grain. It gives you the impression of detail and contrast.

    I am alway unimpressed by the plastic look of glossy prints.
  8. "Glossy color is strictly amateur"

    Ronald, as far as I'm concerned you deserve a price for one of the most hilarious statements I've seen in a long time.
  9. Depending on what the subject warrants I'll print on anything from glossy to watercolor paper (obviously using historic process for that last). I tend to print on glossy when I want a sharper appearing print (it just seems sharper to my eye) and matte when I am working toward other ends. There are times when the texture of the paper changes the way I see the print, so I don't use hard and fast rules, rather I keep smaller lots of various papers on hand so that they get used before they get old and I can still have a nice selection.

    - Randy
  10. I prefer the traditional look of fiber-based glossy B&W paper dried matte. Its look is classic and kind of in between today's digital glossy and matte papers but without the texture found in most manufacturers' "pearl" papers.

    The closest approximation I've used is Hahnemuhle's fineart pearl, which has minimal texture and comes close to the classic look. It's a very nice paper but it's comparatively expensive. I'd like to see the mainstream manufacturers such as Epson and HP come out with something similar at a price point comparable to their glossy and matte papers.
  11. If you want to make scanning on a flat-bed easier and of better quality, print glossy.
  12. stp


  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Glossy color is strictly amateur.
    I think we are setting some records here for misinformation.
  14. Matte will hide better greasy fingerprints, which detract from the print.
  15. Harman Matt FB Warmtone paper is a matte paper that has all the detail and contrast of a glossy paper, to my eyes.
  16. Matte is preffered
  17. Actually I think you will find that the REAL professionals prefer tintypes. The more toxic the processing chemicals, the more professional the photographer. Them's the rules.
  18. I don't like glossy for a few reasons.

    Fingerprints show

    Dust shows

    glare when light hits
  19. My preferred surface texture is Ilford Satin. It isn't quite matt but just has the meerest hint of sheen.
  20. I print most everything on matte paper but PPA and other print competitions almost require glossy so apparently someone up there considers glossy better for some things.
  21. I prefer matte, its impossible to hide specks with spot tone on glossy.
  22. Glossy holds more detail so I often use it for small prints. Luster is my preferred material overall. Has the saturation of glossy but does not glare as much. I don't like matte as it reduces sharpness and shows muted colors, what is the point of having a fine color imaging setup if the gamut is so limited by the print material?
  23. It all depends on the mood I'm trying to convey with the image...I can't imagine limiting myself to only one type! Too many different things to say, I suppose.
  24. I'm surprised nobody mentioned the slighly higher Dmax with glossy prints,
    certainly a small consideration for black and white work, but also for colour.

    However, I tend to agee with Ronald, matte or semi-matte seems to provide a
    better looking image, especially with larger prints.

    If you put a matte photo behind glass, I believe it gains a bit in contrast, and
    the glass wil protect the print to some degree (some UV damage).

    I cannot see much merit in very glossy prints. We don't SEE in glossy...
  25. I went from Glossy, to Matt, to Pearl when I was shooting film. With digital I went from Glossy to Lustre. Lustre is the Digital equivalent to Pearl.

    Everything looks good in Lustre.

    Matt is kind of specialized and not all images look good in Matt. It's good for portraits or large images of flowers and plants, anything with allot of texture.

    For Black and White political shots and some Head portraits, the standard is Glossy tinted with Sepia.
  26. Hi Maija,
    I think what kind of paper you print on is a totally personal thing. There is no right or wrong, no pro or amateur. I think every photographer goes through a lot of different papers until they find the one or some that suit them and there work. The only paper I personally stay away from for darkroom work is b&w RC because that does look pretty awful. I have printed huge prints on glossy color paper and they look absolutely great just because the subject matter fits. That being said, I have yet to find a really nice digital glossy paper. You can tell the ink just sits on top, the image is not a part of the paper like with darkroom prints, oh how I miss working in a darkroom.
    Good luck,

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