If you have an interest in photography, you may have heard that some people prefer matte photos over glossy photos. When photos come to mind, most people think of the glossy store-developed photographs traditionally seen in albums and behind glass. However, photos can be printed on many types of photo paper and each kind has its own advantages. Nowadays, it’s easy, efficient, and more affordable to print your own photos at home using photo paper and a photo printer. Depending on your project, you may find that matte photo paper suits your needs better than an everyday glossy paper.
Matte photos have a different look and feel to them than the photos most people are used to. Unlike glossy photos, matte photos do not have a thick, shiny finish. Instead, they have a subtle matte finish. Because of this, most matte papers can be used in both inkjet and laser printers. Furthermore, photos printed on matte paper will not produce glare like glossier photos will. Matte photo paper is recommended for printing photos that will be seen “naked”, meaning without a protective cover, or from a distance. For example, it works very effectively for projects like a business presentation or a bulletin board display. Matte photos also dry quickly—since they do not have a sticky surface they are good at resisting fingerprints once they are fully dried. Most commonly, matte paper is available in 8.5”x11” or in 4”x6” sheets.
Since the benefits of matte photos mainly involve the functionality of the photo, one disadvantage to using them is that they are likely to leave you with a lower quality image in terms of sharpness and color quality. Also, since matte photo paper does not have a heavy coating photos may be more prone to creasing and not last as long as photos printed on other papers. If color quality, high resolution, and longevity are of key importance to you, a premium or professional photo paper would be a better choice. Depending on the brand you choose, professional papers can sometimes be found in matte varieties. If you are set on matte paper, using a professional matte photo paper is ideal because it puts emphasis on the photo quality and longevity.
All in all, matte photos are inexpensive to print and suitable for all kinds of projects. Since the price of matte paper runs for about the same price as glossy paper, you’ve got nothing to lose in trying it out! You may find that it suits your project better than your usual photo paper.