A Guide to Paper Selection

Back in September I assisted a client with her first purchase of one of my prints, Acadia Sunrise, through Fine Art America. With the client being in New York City we were able to setup a consultation meeting where I walked her through the process of selecting a frame, mat and paper for the image. During the consultation the client raised several questions about paper selections (as there are several available through Fine Art America), specifically which paper would be best to display behind glass, which paper was best suited for an image characterized by intense color and contrast, and which paper would be best in a room that receives a lot of light.

I explained the difference in printing papers and what to consider when making a selection. Some papers have a have a warm or cold hue that affects the overall tone of the image, while others have finishes that affect contrast and/or brightness.

There are certain papers that are more suited for display behind glass. Papers with more surface texture tend to have a greater sense of depth, which may or may not be what a client wants. Then there’s the ultimate consideration of where the print will “live” in your home – which takes into consideration (among other things) whether or not the space is brightly lit or exposed to sunlight.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but as an artist who is as concerned about his client’s needs as he is about his photography, I can make a few recommendations:

  • If the print will be framed and displayed behind glass (or acrylic) in a room that receives a lot of light (sunlight or other), keep in mind that a glossy print surface can actually create additional reflections behind glass. In this situation I would not consider a glossy paper
  • For most color images, I would recommend the Premium Semi-Matte or Premium Luster papers as both offer a neutral tone, high dynamic range and high ink saturation
  • For color images that require vivid color, contrast and black reproduction, the recommendation would be the Somerset Velvet
  • For black and white/monochrome images, my recommendation would be the Cool Tone Picture Rag, but you could also go with the Premium Luster or Somerset Velvet depending on the image

Confused? There’s an extensive explanation of papers (and canvasses) on Fine Art America at FineArtAmerica.com/showpaperscanvases.html. Also, for those interested, sample kits can be ordered from Fine Art America for $5 at FineArtAmerica.com/samplekits.html. And if you need a consultation regarding a print, I can be reached though my contact form.

Just a reminder: Fine Art America fully backs their work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

This entry was posted in Fine Art America, Fine Art Print, Information, Purchaser's Guide.

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