One of the main reasons I got into photography was because of the physical printed image. Whether it be framed or a poster print or even just a print of a photo from a normal A4 piece of printer paper. For me it is all about touch. I want to feel it in my hand, feel its real and feel its weight and texture. If you ever go shopping with me you’ll know that I touch everything before I even look at the design and what not. I lived in Jakarta for 3 years and a lot of the things there weren’t that high quality (things may be different now just fyi) so I was always touching things with my bare hands.
With me on my journey of branding and self style as a photographer, I have been printing and even framing my work a fair bit recently, because the physical product is important to me. I have spent some time this week looking over the print paper range offered by The Print Space, a professional printing company based over in Hackney, and I would like to share my thoughts on what I think of the papers. Just to make it clear I am not sponsored by them and I bought the pack of print samples out of my own pocket.
Paper 1 - Fuji Matt
Just an all round quality paper tbh. If I will be doing client photo books or something like that in the future, this paper would probably be in the mix of papers I would go for. However it is quite transparent and you can see a outlines of things through the paper if help closely together.
Paper 2 - Fuji Gloss
The only thing that bugged me about this paper was that it was too damn glossy. Can we turn it down like 2-3 notches please! Just think of it as your bog standard prints you used to get at a photo print machine that used to come in the packets but it serves a purpose at least.
Paper 3 - Fuji Flex
This paper was almost my favourite of the bunch in terms of image rendering when printed. I loved the drama and contrast but the paper was highly flexible and so would need to be mounted on something to make it more durable and resistant to tear and etc. However the printed surface was smooth and didn’t produce screeching so to put more emphasis on the picture it was showing off.
Paper 4 - Kodak Metallic
Now metal or a metallic looking paper isn’t something you would think would be possible but no, there is such a thing. Its the sort of effect that would really suit a cool car or urban street shot. One thing I noticed is that the reflections aren’t too pronounced and the paper seemed to be somewhere between a matte and glass finish, which I think is cool and interesting. However, again this is a paper that screeches a lot and its thin and flimsy.
Paper 5 - Epson Semi Gloss
A weird one in my opinion. It was a weighty, rigid and durable paper but you should see shadows of your hand if you had it behind the paper. And for me this is a slight no go, especially given the circumstance of the paper qualities and etc. Also the paper had the worst screeching so it’s a solid no from me.
Paper 6 - Hahnemühle Bamboo
One thing I clearly need to say about this is, yes I there are bamboo fibres involved but upon further research it is “acid- and lignin-free and meets the most precise requirements in terms of age resistance” and the “sustainable” bamboo fibres gives the paper a solid durable, thick but smooth feel.
Paper 7 - Canson Baryta
Robust and a clear matte finish but still I do not like the ability of it to allow screeching when rubbing the paper hard or with wet or warm sticky hands.
Paper 8 - Hahnemühle Pearl
One of the most durable papers in the pack as it takes a lot to bend but allowed for screeching, which if you can tell, I don’t like for the ??? Of it. However a black and white image would work very well for this picture as the blacks seemed very deep and black.
Paper 9 - Hahnemühle Photo Rag
So I grouped paper 8 and 9 together because I liked both and they were of good weight and durability. Actually what felt like some of the most durable in the whole pack. This papers different in the fact it was slightly rougher than paper 8 as it feels the texture is sharper (if you get what I mean). That I like. However after some analysis it seems it may be seen giving off a slightly warm creamy yellow. And that I don’t like.
Paper 10 - Hahnemühle German Etching
A cool hip paper this was. The first thing I noticed, being me and going straight in to touching and feeling it was it kind of had a furry/faux leather feel to it and that kinda made it cool in my eyes or hands should I say. Also the image on this paper looked to produce strong deep blacks and was also durable and held up to a shake well.
Paper 11 - Canson Aquarelle Rag
Quickly, this paper seemed to not sit flat but you did see the texture of the paper pretty clearly so if thats what I want then this should be well in the mix.
One thing I would like to say is the shiny smooth feeling papers, to me, would feel like they would hold up well some slight rain. I know I am talking about rain getting on prints but its just in the off chance that they might be in contact with some moisture during transit to the framer or something. I will need to invest in a case or holder for them. One that would hold an A3 print should be big enough right? Saying that I like big prints so Ill
After a final feel and look over the collection of 12 papers I would like to conclude my top 5 are (and in no particular order)
- Hahnemühle Photo Rag
- Hahnemühle German Etching
- Kodak Metallic
- Fuji Flex
- Fuji Matt
So next on my list of to do lists is get a photograph or 2 and get them all printed with these 5 and go from there and see what I think.