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Matte vs. Glossy Photo Prints: Which Finish is Best for Your Pictures?

A very common question when it comes to printing is: Should I print my photos on glossy or matte photo paper? There are pros and cons to both of these options and best suited for different uses so let’s take a look them.

Glossy photo prints ✨

Glossy photo prints are sleek and luminous photos printed on glossy photo paper. They have a natural shine to them that is designed to reflect as much light as possible thanks to a special glossy layer that is added on top of the photo. Matte photo prints and glossy photo prints are basically the same photo only glossy prints have an extra layer that adds the reflection.

Pros of glossy photo prints

The added gloss has two main functions – to make the image clearer and brighter by adding definition and to make the colors more vibrant and deep. Glossy photo prints are very popular for digital printing mostly because of these features. They are perfect for any photo where you want the color to pop. That’s why they are not recommended for black-and-white photos and photos with sepia tones. Glossy photos are more resistant to moisture and you can easily wipe them clean without damaging the surface.

Cons of glossy photos

The glossy layer reflects light which might problematic in some situations. Glossy photo prints are not adequate for large photo prints because the bigger the print the bigger the glare. They are also not suitable to be displayed behind glass because the glass adds another layer of glare. If you want to display your glossy photos in your home choose a place where is no direct light which would cause a lot of reflection. Glossy prints are also more sticky meaning they are more prone to fingerprints.

Matte photo prints

Matte photo prints are free of glare. The photo print is textured meaning when the light hits the surface it's scattered into different directions and some of the light is absorbed. That’s why matte photos are the perfect choice when you want to display your print in a high-lit space.

Pros of matte photos

Matte photos are great for displaying them on the wall. You also frame them so they wouldn’t stick to the glass and cause any glare. Matte finish isn’t prone to either scratches or smudges making them great for scrapbooking. Since there is no shine, the texture of the image can be more pronounced so this paper is ideal for detailed photographs. Black and white photos also will look stunning on matte photo paper.

Cons of matte photos

The main reason for adding a glossy layer is to make the colors more vibrant, hence matte photos might be a little less bright and vibrant. The glossy finish is also an all-time classic, so if you’re storing your new photos with some older pieces as well, the glossy print might better pair with them.

Glossy vs. matte: which one should I choose

✨ If you’re looking for a classic way to print your photos and want to make all the colors pronounced, glossy photo prints are the way to go.

🖼️ If you want to display your photos on the wall or create a scrapbook with them, matte photo prints will be perfect.

Some prefer the glossy look and some the matte finish so we recommend trying both of these finishes and seeing for yourself. You might prefer glossy photos for your keepsake photo album but matte photos to display on the wall.

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