Intro to Paper

Choosing a paper is a personal and artistic decision that matters. It can enhance, change, or disrupt the nature of your work. We can help you choose a paper that will enhance your artistic vision. We have a wide range of high-quality papers from top manufacturers including Hahnemühle, Ilford, Moab and others. Plus, we keep most of them in stock so you don’t have to wait for us to get something in to make your prints.

Why does paper matter so much?

You may already have—or want to develop—your own visual style in print. Every image we’re asked to print has its own strengths. If you’d like something distinctive, we won’t use a cookie cutter approach for paper choices. We’ll help you match the strengths of your images to the strengths of the paper. Or, if you want to change things up and go in a contrarian direction, we can help you find a great paper that does a complete 180 with your images.

Paper types

We carry a lot of papers. Most people love the choice. Some find it overwhelming. If you find it overwhelming, thinking about these three main characteristics will help you narrow down your choice. 

  • Papers can be matte, glossy, and a lot of stuff in between.
  • Papers can be ultra smooth, smooth, smoothish, kinda textured, kinda more textured, pretty textured, and very textured. Textures will also vary.
  • Paper whites can be neutral white, very bright and blue, or warm and yellow. Of course, there’s a lot of whites. 

These characteristics all affect your image’s printed appearance. A great paper choice can help express an emotional content to complement the image. A smooth, warm, velvety paper will evoke a different feeling to the viewer than a bright, punchy, stark paper. Both papers will be appropriate for different images.

Subtlety can be important. That’s why we carry various papers that may seem very close to each other at first glance. But each is chosen because it has some important difference. Papers may have a similar texture, but different shades of white. Or papers may have a similar colour tone but vary in texture. There are other paper qualities as well, including the degree of visual sharpness, the type of material the paper is made from, and the long term stability of the paper.

Paper is awesome, and choosing a paper for your images can be really fun! But if this all sounds complicated and you don’t want to have to consider such a large menu of choices, don’t worry. We know which papers are most popular for different kinds of work and which papers fit different budgets. If you need us to simplify the choices for you, we can recommend some great choices.