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Imaging: Paper Choices for the Serious Digital Photographer

written by: Ariala•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/1/2008

If you really want your photographs to look sharp, choose quality paper that will help your digital photos look professional. In this article we'll examine some ways to make photos stand out.

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    Any digital photographer with a serious desire to compete in the market place knows that producing top quality printed photos is important. Though most of the digital photographer's work may be virtual, it's still important to know the types of papers that are best suited for the type of finished product needed.

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    Really high quality finishes; outstanding photos with a high-resolution look and feel often depend on the paper selected. Whether you select glossy or matte, something more textured to bring out certain qualities complemented by that type of paper, it's good to know a little bit about what's available.

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    Glossy papers help digital photographs to really look sharp and pop off the page. Because digital photos aren't as high resolution as traditional 35 mm photos, the paper used can make a big difference in proving a more professional, high-resolution print.

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    Glossy paper is only as good as the print cartridges in your printer. The better the printer, the better the photos printed from your printer. Obviously, a laser printer is best for outputting digital color photos. There's no running of ink, as is common on some glossy papers used in bad printers. No lines and blotches with a high quality color laser printer. The great thing is, they've really come down in price, making it easier for digital photographers to buy the best equipment needed.

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    Matte finishes are especially good for business cards, personal photography projects, crafts, albums and scrapbooking. They can work well for newsletters and brochures, if glossy paper is out, for whatever reason. Both glossy and matte papers can be used in most printers with no problems.

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    Textured glossy paper is often ultra glossy, meaning it has a cast coated or an embossed finish. This can give your final product a very stunning and attractive look that is dynamic. This sort of paper is good when you want to give a presentation as it carries the image well. It's often referred to as a photographic paper. It also dries quickly making it a first choice for those using ink jet printers.

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    No matter the paper used, remember that what you see on the screen often prints slightly differently depending on your particular printer. Get to know your settings and carefully enhance the colors and textures using a quality software package. In the end, you'll be amazed at what a difference the paper truly makes!