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Matte vs Glossy

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  • Matte vs Glossy

    Many of the online printing sites that offer matte say that it will take an extra week. I have inquired and they say it is because most customers prefer glossy and there isn't much demand for matte, therefore they only change paper and print matte once a week.

    Does anyone know of a photo print shop (upload and order online) that is cheap *and* prints matte more than once or twice a week?

    The initial poll is asking if most of you prefer glossy or matte prints.

    It depends
    Last edited by chiquitita; 09-16-2002, 07:58 PM.

  • #2
    I'm not sure what you're asking specifically in the poll you started however, here is a thread started by Jill who did some online printing tests for quality, speed, and pricing. You might find this interesting. I think there is another one also I will see if I can find for you.


    • #3
      Thanks DJ, I edited my post and tried to clarify, however I cannot edit the poll (it would be kind of nice if the original poll poster had that ability).

      Old threads are great, and that one had some helpful information, but I am always interested in the latest developments. Online services are coming and going like crazy and the competition certainly makes each one improve upon what the others have developed.

      Is it better to post a newer, more specific thread, or to post new messages to one that is almost a year old? I am not aware of the "rule of thumb" on this subject...


      • #4
        Threads are never dead. If you have new updated info to an old thread then put it there or start a new one. I don't think there is any hard rules there. It would depend on the subject I guess and the posters judgement on where that info would best fit.

        Now as to the poll, that clarifies it and is basically what I figured you meant but thought I should make sure first. Here's what I think. I used to love the look of the matte finish on photos so I ordered them alot. Then, I discovered what a nightmare they are when you scan them to repair. Now, I go glossy all the way. It makes sense when you're in our line of business.


        • #5
          I know the old matte finishes with lots of texture are a nightmare, but the matte finishes of the past few years are very fine - I guess you would call it satin - and I don't even see the texture no matter how far I zoom in when it is scanned. Also, there is less reflection in the scan so I find that they scan better.

          Also, less fingerprints, more vivid color, and I find them slightly more durable, or maybe it just doesn't show the damage as much. Also restorations especially don't look right on glossy.

          Just my opinon.


          • #6
            I only use a satin (or lustre) finish on my restoration work. I've only had scan/texture problems when working with E surface, which has a deeper texture than satin.

            I think my opinions on photo surfaces were formed from years of working at photo studios. I don't think I've ever seen a truly professional image on glossy surface (that I can recall), except for those done on Cibachrome. None of the studios I've worked for ever used glossy for anything except reproduction grade images to be sent to magazines or yearbooks. So I automatically equate matte with professional and glossy with amateur.

            My own personal bias I suppose...


            • #7
              I have to agree. The difference in photos I have printed matte versus glossy is amazing. The glossy ones - especially restoration work of portraits - look like I have taken a picture of a picture - it looks unnatural to me. My matte prints turn out beautifully while the glossy ones always look blurry.


              • #8
                Ouch! I consider myself professional after 30 some yrs and still use glossy. Backgroud is in industrial and commercial photography. If not 4x5 or 8x10 trans I always supply glossy. Much sharper image. For our portrait bus we use lustra because you do not want a tack sharp picture. Also its hard to copy proffs from lustra as we all know from trying to scan them.

                Jakaleena, I still think you and your work are great though. Can't start an online romance though because I've been happily married for 30 some years. Boy rounding off the numbers on the low side sure makes them sound better.



                • #9
                  Ouch! I consider myself professional after 30 some yrs and still use glossy. Backgroud is in industrial and commercial photography. If not 4x5 or 8x10 trans I always supply glossy. Much sharper image. For our portrait bus we use lustra
                  Well, maybe my bias to matte/lustre is because the studios I've worked for didn't do industrial/commercial work - only portraits & people, weddings, etc. I've never really worked with industrial/commercial stuff.


                  • #10
                    I wish I could get decent matte around here. All my local printers use a matte paper that is very rough and actually ruins the prints, one can see the roughness of the paper spoiling an otherwise smooth image.


                    • #11
                      Why is that anyway? When I think in terms of matte I think dull with no shine as in paint but in photo prints matte means shiny but on a bumpy surface to lesson it a bit. The old photos from years back were printed on matte paper that was true matte paper. Most printer can't even come close to that these days.


                      • #12
                        I've been on a mini mission to find a good matte print.
                        From some online information I've read, I think what
                        I'm looking for is an "N" surface print. Does that sound right?

                        The paper I want is like Epson Heavyweight Matte, but I don't want an inkjet - just the same type of finish.
                        If anyone knows of an online place, or national chain, I would love to know.


                        • #13
                          Back when I was using an outside printer and needed that old fashioned matte look, I got matte finishing spray for art and photos and sprayed the glossy photo. It worked great. It was the closest thing to an old fashion print I'd seen minus the thickness of the old time photo paper. Still would like to know a place as well but when I enquired I was told they don't make that kind of paper. Good luck on your quest Vikki and do let us know if you make any headway.


                          • #14
                            N surface is a soft matte (Luster or Satin)
                            E surface is a hard matte with deeper texture (which may be what Charles was referring to)
                            F surface is glossy

                            (N surface is the type they use at Wal-Mart - at least it is at my local one so I'm guessing they all do...)

                            That all applies to color paper. With black & white paper, the surfaces with the same letter indications are a bit different in texture type. A good camera shop that sells darkroom supplies should have a sample book so that you can see actual prints made on each of the types of surfaces they sell. If they don't have one available, they should be able to get one. I know Kodak has sample books that they provide to resellers (you may even be able to contact Kodak yourself and get a paper sample book - not sure if they give those out to just anyone or what one would cost, but maybe a local camera store can even order one for you). I think Ilford provides sample books too, but that's BW paper. Even if you don't intend to buy photo paper and process images yourself, that should help you to be able to tell the lab you're using what paper it is that you want...

                            Art spray is a good option. I've used it myself and really like the look. But it's delicate and can be easily damaged when used on RC paper, which is something that clients should probably be told about so that they're careful when handling the prints. It should also be matted and never put directly against the glass when framing.

                            Modern color papers are virtually all RC, so I don't know of any that have that old fashioned, dull, truly matte look that was common in BW. The only way to get that look is to have a BW fibre print made and actually hand color it the old fashioned way...
                            Last edited by Jakaleena; 09-28-2002, 03:22 AM.


                            • #15
                              Hi all!

                              Maybe I can help a little. As Jakaleena was saying almost all papers used by labs are RC, meaning resin coated. In other words a plastic coating. When DJ was referring to the old fashion look that would be a fiber based paper. It had more depth to it. Also it allowed for many types of toning that the RC's can't absorb. Beautiful colors were available such as selenium, copper, gold and even sepia was done with toner. On the plus side this gave the prints almost a three dimensional effect. Really beautiful and long lasting. On the minus side (cough cough) VERY toxic. Most of us stopped using toners years ago. Also MATTE SPRAYS which can be toxic if inhaled.