Papers to choose from

[This page is needs to be updated. I have removed the links for a couple of the companies (Color Textiles, Harman) that seem to have gone out of business. — Rick]

There are many large and small companies that offer excellent papers for your photo inkjet printer. Here are a few of my favorites (remember to check their Web sites for downloadable ICC profiles for your printer):

Red River Paper. One of my favorite companies, Red River offers a potpourri of papers, from inexpensive RC and matte photo papers to recycled and specialty papers. Their Aurora fine art paper is gorgeous and reasonably priced. It’s definitely worth purchasing a sample pack and playing with the different types.

Hahnem├╝ehle Fineart. This paper maker dates back to the sixteenth century, and they make some of the most beautiful papers on the planet. Their smooth-finish, cotton-based Photo Rag comes in a variety of thicknesses and finishes, and they’ve recently added a fiber-based paper, Fine Art Pearl. They also sell a wide range of textured fine art papers. Of that group, Torchon and William Turner are probably the best-known, and are quite nice for times when you want your images to have that “hung in a museum” feel to them.

Museo Fine Art, formerly from Crane & Co.’s Museo line of fine art and fiber-based media late in 2007. I love the Museo and Museo Max papers, and they’ve recently introduced an ultrasmooth fine-art paper, Museo Portfolio Rag, that ranks up there in quality with Hahnem├╝ehle’s Photo Rag line. They also just released a line of matte- and glossy-finish canvas, Museo Maestro, which is some of the nicest I’ve ever used.

Moab Paper Co.. Moab was purchased in 2007 by Legion Paper, and the combined company offers a nice group of papers of all types. Legion’s Somerset Velvet was one of the first fine art papers to be adopted by digital printmakers, and Moab’s Entrada is a great, affordable, double-sided cotton-rag paper that comes in a variety of sizes, in bright white and natural finishes. I have really been enjoying their new fiber-based papers, Colorado Gloss and Colorado Satine; the Satine has a wonderful semi-gloss finish to it, and it works equally well on bright, colorful images as it does on black and white photos. (Many of Moab’s papers are specifically designed for pigment inks–make sure you check the Web site or the box before you buy.)

Hiromi Paper International. Hiromi is based in Santa Monica, Calif., and stocks an unbelievable supply of hand-made and machined Japanese papers. They only have a few papers that are produced specifically for digital printmaking — the Warahan-shi is my favorite — but their catalog is beautiful, and they also sell sample packs.

Additional Reading

  • Wilhelm Imaging Research. Henry Wilhelm’s tests for determining the expected longevity of inks and paper are the current standard in the print preservation industry. If you’re interested in keeping your prints vibrant for years to come, Wilhelm’s site is worth looking at.
  • Pigments or dyes: which is best?. If you’re interested in reading more about combining different papers and inks, this Macworld article offers an overview of the current landscape.

[Portions of this Copyright 2007, Macworld; reprinted with permission.]

Leave a Comment