What is the Difference Between Metallic & Matte Photo Print?

Written by fritzi newton
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  • Introduction

    What is the Difference Between Metallic & Matte Photo Print?

    Photographers today have a vast selection of photographic papers to choose from for printing their images. Matt and metallic--which produce very different results--are two popular options.

    Matt and metallic photo paper offer very different results. (photographie image by Christophe Fouquin from Fotolia.com)

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    Matt pros

    Matt photographic paper provides softer, almost velvet-like tones, and works well with black & white and colour images. Any type of lighting complements non-reflective, matt paper. Finally, photos printed on matt paper will not show fingerprints.

    A matt finish is a good choice for replicating the soft colours of a landscape. (landscape image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com)

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    Matt cons

    A matt finish tends to create a flatter, less dynamic print. According to author Tim Daly, "Matte papers are capable of displaying ultra-sharp details, but do so with less vivid colours."

    A matt finish is less showy than a metallic finish. (bird image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com)

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    Metallic pros

    Metallic photo paper reproduces vibrant colours with intense saturation. The glossy, metallic appearance of the printed images is eye-catching and dramatic. A metallic finish is recommended for portraits, sporting events, posters and commercial displays.

    A metallic paper is the perfect choice for a portrait shot. (girl portrait image by .shock from Fotolia.com)

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    Metallic cons

    Metallic photo paper should be used selectively. Most likely, its intensity would not make it the best choice for landscape or wildlife shots. In addition, some metallic papers only can be printed professionally.

    Some metallic papers must be printed only professionally. (The printer image by vin5 from Fotolia.com)

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    Matt or metallic?

    The choice between matt and metallic paper will depend on your photographic goal. Experimenting with both will help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of each finish.

    Experiment with both papers to determine your preference. (still life image by Robert Molnar from Fotolia.com)

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