You Have Taken the Picture of Your Dreams, What Next?

It is time to make some important decisions, Obviously you want quality printing for a floating frame for canvas or gallery wrapped canvas or a myriad of other choices. It is time we understood what each choice means.

Here I introduce the exciting world of photo and art media!!

All photographic papers consist of a light-sensitive emulsion, consisting of silver halide salts suspended in a colloidal material – usually gelatin-coated onto a paper, resin coated paper or polyester support.

Fine art paper is professional quality paper for printing photographs and is composed of natural fibers: most frequently cotton or alpha cellulose. These choices are best for quality printing and nature landscape photography.

Alpha Cellulose is the building blocks of wood pulp; it is made up of multiple sugar molecules bonded together to form a chain. During the paper manufacturing process this chain is broken down, refined to remove undesirable elements (such as lignin) and then reformed to give strength to the finished sheet of paper.

So, what exactly is archival paper? Archival paper is a permanent, durable, acid-free paper, intended to last a very long time. It is typically broken down into two categories, conservation-grade and archival-grade.

Asleep Yet? If not we will look at the making of different media.

The Material of the Paper

Usually, fine art print paper will have at least two layers. The base is what makes up the bulk of the paper, and the coating is applied on top. For the best results, the finished paper should be acid-free. It should also have a pH value of 7.0 or more to prevent discoloration and fading.

Common materials used to create fine art paper include:

  • Alpha cellulose: Alpha cellulose is made from wood pulp. This high-grade pulp creates a strong, durable paper that is also inexpensive to manufacture and use.

  • Cotton rag: Unsurprisingly, cotton rag paper is made from either cotton rags or cotton liners. A combination of these materials creates fine art paper with some texture.

  • Resin coated: Resin coating can cover both laminate and inkjet photo papers. This material can deliver a wide range of finishes, from pearl to glossy.

Weight or Grams Per Square Meter (GSM)

The weight of a fine art print paper is another key component. The weight, which is measured in grams per square meter (GSM), can range from 60 to 400 GSM. For fine art printing, you want to choose a heavier weight. This paper will help support the print and deliver some rigidity, which is especially beneficial when you are displaying artwork.

Choosing a paper with a weight of around 200 to 300 GSM should provide enough support and keep your print from warping.

Surface Finish

Surface finish is another component that influences how fine art paper looks and functions. While there are many different types of finishes to choose from, here are some of the most used options:

  • Matte: Matte papers are smooth and don’t have any kind of gloss or sheen. This finish helps to bring out texture and detail. It also helps to emphasize the colors and tones in an image, especially in black and white ones. Because of the natural-looking, shine-free surface, matte papers are perfect for displaying behind glass in either homes or museums.

  • Glossy: Glossy papers have a resin coating on them, which creates a shiny finish. There isn’t much texture on the paper, which helps to deliver as much sheen and detail as possible. The gloss brings out contrast and color as well. As a result, glossy papers work well with a wide range of fine art images.

  • Luster: Luster papers are often used by professional photographers because they offer a deep color saturation. They also resist fingerprints. The finish is essentially a mixture of matte and glossy, making it ideal for individuals who want the best of both.

  • Metallic: Metallic papers give off a glossy, metallic finish. Because of the way this paper is made, it delivers sharp detail and gives images a 3D effect. This type of paper is perfect for black and white art.


Typically, you want the paper to be as white as possible if you want to achieve the highest contrast of colors. The amount of brightness in a fine art white paper is usually rated on a scale of 1 to 100. A rating in the mid-to-high 90s range means that the paper can reflect more light, causing it to appear extremely bright and creating vibrant prints.

What are the best quality canvases?

The fabric used in most canvases is either linen or cotton. Of the two, linen is considered the best due to the quality of the surface and its durability, however, it is also very expensive. Cotton is a more affordable option that provides an excellent surface of suitably durable quality.


When most refer to metal prints, they are referring to prints made on thin aluminum sheets. These aluminum sheets may be mounted on rigid substrate like “gator board” or even wood.
Aluminum sheets can also come in different finishes such as:

·Brushed aluminum The image is imprinted directly onto a brushed aluminum substrate giving it a uniquely metallic look

·White base The aluminum is first coated with a white paint. The image is then imprinted onto the white surface, giving it a very clean and crisp look.Due to its light weight, aluminum is a favorite among photographers, artists, and decorators. While not as expensive as Aluminum Dibond, it is still extremely expensive when compared to canvas prints. This is due to the cost of the material itself as well as the method which they imprint the image onto the metal.

Aluminum prints are also difficult to hang when compared to other types of prints.

To maintain that clean, modern look, aluminum prints are typically frameless, which requires special mounting hardware to be installed on its back side.

Aluminum’s strengths are:
Vibrant prints
Has a very modern look. Very different from canvas.

Aluminum’s disadvantages are:
It’s expensive – there are options, such as vibrance metal paper printing.
Or Vibrance Metallic, your choice for the terminology.
It’s not magnetic
New mounting methods make hanging and mounting no more difficult than
traditional mountings.

Printing methods used:
Dye Sublimation
Direct Printing (UV or offset)

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