Paper Really Is The Key To a Good Photo

I appreciate the feedback on my reviews.  Please note that yesterday’s review on photocopiers, and today’s review on photo paper, comes from my photography night school notes.  I am not endorsing any products.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Would you like to know how your photos stack up against the best?  Would you like to know what is behind good quality photos?  Would you like to know how to make your photo last 50 to 100 years?  Then read on.

How Can I Test My Paper?

This is going to sound really crazy.  Go grab a photo in your stash, and lay it in a bowl of water, covering the paper in its entirity.  Let the photo soak for 24 hours.  After that time, pull out your photo and look for any running ink.  If the ink runs, then you need to reassess the paper and ink you are using.  If there is no running ink, you are good to go–but you can make it even better.  How?  By using Chrome or Ultra Chrome paper.

There are lots of photo papers to choose from.  Can you break it down for me?

Sure.  Nowadays you can purchase photo paper from Walmart, Staples, and even the dollar store.  The important thing to look for is what “type” of paper it is.   Here is a sample list of what product is out there:

  • Ilford
  • Kodak
  • HP
  • Epson
  • Canon
  • Staples
  • Fuji
  • Lumijet
  • Ilofojet

I’m a Scrapbooker and want my photos to last over 50 years.  What should I use?

Simply put, use Chrome or Ultra Chrome paper.  Your local camera store can order it in.  The average cost is about $90 for 100-8 1/2 x 11 sheets, but Sam’s Club often carries it at a cost of $25.  Shop around.

I want to have long-lasting photos that will last my life-time.  What should I use?

Your top choice is Kodak Premium Photo Plus.   It runs about $17-$20 for 100-8 1/2 x 11 sheets.  This, and the papers mentioned in this section, lasts about 20-25 years.  After that, colours begin to fade. Other top contenders include Epson Premium Glossy or Premium Luster and costs $100/box.  Canon’s Premium paper is also good ($20/50 sheets).  Then there is Fuji Premium at a cost of $17/25 sheets.  There are lots of other papers, but these are the ones I am focusing on today.

Why do I have preserved photos from my great-great-great grandparents?

There can be many reasons, but the top reason is that the photos were printed on Ilford paper.  The company toots that their paper lasts for 100 years, but we see they last even longer.  Another reason why the photos are still around is the fact that the ink is black and white.  Not the black that is mixed with other colours to create black, like in today’s printers, but true “black” and true “white.”

Do I have to use the same brand of paper and printer?


Glossy or Matt?

Glossy for colourful pictures such as flowers and butterflies.  The gloss makes colours pop.  Matt for family portraits.


There are many things to think about when printing photos at home, paper being one of them.  Many companies toot that their photo paper will last over 50 and over 100 years.   Do what is best for you.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Let me hear your view.

Posted on : Oct 15 2008
Posted under Tips & Tricks |

2 People have left comments on this post

Oct 15, 2008 - 08:10:06
Manna said:

Another useful info. TFS! Fortunately, I don’t print out photos that much anymore! I usually just view it all on the PC now. Kinda sad, I know 🙂

Oct 16, 2008 - 01:10:03
MaggiLiz said:

Hi Beth
This is very useful information. Thanks for adding it to your blog.

Powered by Wordpress | Design by Laycock Designs