Photo Printer Paper Options
Despite increasing digitalization, printer paper is still an essential aspect of everyday life. In fact, there are more varieties than ever before. Printer paper doesn't even have to be "paper," as banner paper for wide-format printers now comes in materials such as plastic, canvas, and vinyl.
Before browsing the multitude of printer paper options, first determine what type of printer you're buying paper for. You want to use the right kind of media for your machine to keep the device in good condition. Paper comes in different sizes, colors, thicknesses, and finishes. Each type of paper is created with a different purpose in mind.
What to Look for in Printer Paper
When choosing printer paper for special projects, the specifications will tell you a lot about its quality and purpose. Higher-quality versions tend to be brighter, thicker, and smoother. Lower-quality paper will feel lighter and appear less opaque.
Coating or Finish
Most everyday types are matte, meaning the surface isn't shiny. Matte paper generally has some texture to it. Glossy paper is usually associated with photo printing, which has an ultra smooth, lustrous finish. Although most photo printing paper is glossy, matte versions exist as well. Unlike luster photo paper, they're not as reflective, but still have a smooth texture.
Although nearly all printer paper appears white, many shades of white are available to consider, which you'll find measured on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the brightest white. Most commonly used paper is a natural white, ranging around the mid-90s. Bright white paper, although considered higher quality, has a slightly blue tone. Generally, this produces better details for text or images, but it can also distort a picture's true color if you're printing photos.
Weight and Thickness
The heavier the paper, the thicker it is. Everyday versions tend to be thin, which is why durable types are best for resumes and business cards. Tying back into appearance, paper thickness also correlates with opacity; the heavier stock is more opaque.
There are many types of specialty paper to choose from. Some large-format rolled paper choices for posters and banners feature a polyethylene coating that makes the ink dry instantly for immediate use after print jobs. Other oversized options include those as large as 24 inches x 300 feet. Zink photo paper, which got its name from the words "zero ink," is a type of multilayered, thermally reactive paper that produces colored images with heat, not with ink. It's important to note that Zink photo paper is only suitable for use with specific equipment, and won't work in the common inkjet or laser printers.
At B&H Photo and Video, you'll find an extensive selection of printer paper and media. Whether you're looking for basic inkjet paper, photo paper, or wide-format roll paper, you're sure to find what you need.