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Standard photo paper sizes

Updated April 17, 2017

Photo paper is designed to optimal quality when printing digital photos. Standard document paper can compromise the detail and look of a photograph. Your home printer can print on photo paper, so you don't have to take your photos into a store to have them printed. However, there are many different sizes and types of photo paper, so you should decide how big you want to print your photos before buying photo paper.

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Standard photo paper comes in a variety of sizes. Measured in inches, smaller photo and paper sizes include 3 by 5, 5 by 5, 4 by 6, 5 by 7, 6 by 8 and 8 by 10. The 4 by 6 size is the most common photo size used by consumers in the U.S. Larger sizes include 8 by 12, 10 by 12, 11 by 14, 16 by 20, 20 by 30 and 30 by 40 for oversized prints. The larger the photo print, the greater you want the resolution to be. Also, you need to know the photo paper sizes to know if your home printer is capable of printing at that size and to know what size frame to buy.


Photographers use standard photo sizes for a number of purposes. Consumers often use smaller sized photo paper, such as 3 by 5 or 4 by 6, to create photos for scrapbooking, wedding albums, online albums, slideshows, model portfolios and magazines. However, larger photo sizes such as 8 by 12 to 16 by 20 can be used for decorative wall pictures for homes and businesses or art fair displays. Very large standard photos sizes, such as 20 by 30 to 30 by 40, are often used by businesses for billboard advertisements.


Standard photo paper, regardless of size, comes in several styles, including glossy, matt, semi glossy and borderless. Choose the style you think is most appropriate for your needs and will show off the details in your picture the best. Some people prefer a glossy look on their photos while others like the look and feel of matt.

Best Quality

When selecting standard photo paper sizes, individuals should seek the best qualities. In order to prevent photos from quickly fading, photo lovers must select from some of the top brands. These brands also offer archival photo paper. This type of paper can maintain quality up to 200 years or six generations. It is double coated, buffered and free of acid and lignin.

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About the Author

Steve Glenn is a member of the Loft Writing Center in Minneapolis and has been writing professionally for over six years. He has written various newsletters and has published articles in the "Milwaukee Community Journal." Glenn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and education from Metro State University in St. Paul.

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