5 Unique Photo Papers You Should Try

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Printing your work can be a very satisfying experience. The level of control you have when you do it yourself is unmatched and can be extremely rewarding. There’s also the feeling you get when you’re holding one of your photographs in your hand, which just can’t be beat. Sticking with classic glossy, luster, or matte paper is certainly a very good way to work with most of your images, but there are some more unique and alternative options available that can impart even more character into your printed photograph. Here are a few intriguing ones that you should check out.

1. Hahnemühle Natural Line Papers

As Hahnemühle writes, “Sustainability and digitization are mega trends. So, as inventors of digital fine art papers, what could be more natural than for us to develop sustainable papers?” And that’s exactly what this manufacturer did with its Natural Line trio of inkjet papers, made from Agave, Bamboo, and Hemp materials. Each of these three “green” papers are made from sustainable sources, do not feature any optical brightening agents, and are still acid- and lignin-free for archivability. While the finished papers aren’t remarkably unique looking—Agave has a rougher textured matte surface, Bamboo has a lightly textured matte surface, and Hemp has a smooth, silky matte surface—they are unique in how they’ve been produced.

Hahnemühle Agave FineArt InkJet Paper

2. Awagami Factory Murakumo Kozo Select Natural Paper

Based on a classic Japanese papermaking technique and style is the Murakumo Kozo Select Natural Paper, from Awagami Factory. Using machine processes to replicate the Washi style of paper, Murakumo Kozo is a soft, strong, and semi-transparent paper. This is, thanks in part, to the use of Kozo fibers from mulberry trees that impart a naturally warm tone to this paper. It also feels very light in the hand with a weight of just 42 gsm and a thickness of 6.3 mil (0.16 mm) and is well suited to backlit applications, as well as reproducing the look and feel of antique prints or texts. This is a very special paper for specific applications. You can find it in A4 and A3+ sheets or 36"-wide rolls.

Awagami Factory Murakumo Kozo Select Natural Paper

3. Canson Infinity Aquarelle Rag Paper

Achieve the watercolor look with your digital prints by using Canson Infinity’s Aquarelle Rag Paper. Whether you are printing art reproductions or want to impart a new look to your photographs, the distinct texture of Aquarelle Rag may do the trick. The mould-made paper looks and feels like traditional watercolor media but has been formulated with the proper coatings to support dye- and pigment-based inks from common photo printers. Heavyweight at 240 or 310 gsm and with a thickness of 18.4 mil (0.47 mm), this paper will feel solid in the hand. It is also made from 100% cotton, has a warm-white matte finish, and omits OBA (optical brightening agent) content for longevity. It is a unique, fun paper to test and you can find it in 8.5 x 11", 11 x 17", 13 x 19", 17 x 22", and 24 x 36" sheets or 17-, 24-, 36-, and 44"-wide rolls.

Canson Infinity Aquarelle Rag Paper

4. Epson Legacy Etching

Epson’s line of Legacy papers is, as they put it, “Designed for artists who intend to sell their prints.” Among them are the smoother Platine and Baryta papers, which have developed a cult following, and the lightly textured Fibre paper, but then there is also Etching paper, the most obscure and niche of the quartet. Legacy Etching paper is meant to replicate the look and feel of “Old World” handmade papers and etching pads, but obviously updated to suit its use with contemporary inkjet printers. In terms of finish, it’s a matte paper with fine, subtle-but-present texture and has high brightness despite not containing any OBAs. It is available in 8.5 x 11", 13 x 19", and 17 x 22" sheets, as well as 17, 24, and 44" x 50' rolls.

Epson Legacy Etching Paper

5. Moab Slickrock Metallic Silver 300

At least one metallic paper had to make the list, and Moab’s Slickrock Metallic Silver 300 is one of the more popular options out there. It is available in a wide variety of sizes, from 5 x 7" and 8.5 x 11" sheets up to large 44"-wide rolls. Metallic papers can be polarizing—you either love them or hate them—but it’s undeniable that they bring an inherent pop and dynamic feel to nearly any image. Moab’s Slickrock Metallic has an ultra-shiny high-gloss finish and an instant-dry coating for easy handling.

Moab Slickrock Metallic Silver 300 Archival Inkjet Paper

What is your go-to paper? Are any of these unique offerings going to make it through your printer any time soon? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below!

2 Comments

The Photographic Papers of Ilford, Canon, Kodak Professional and Epson are all very Successful because I am always careful, indeed!!! Finally, I also always blessed of using in either Black & White or Color (Film or Digital!!!) Stay Blessed!!!

The photo paper pro luster is really beautiful to work with - I am going to try the Canon infinity aquarelle rag paper.

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