Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?

Started Jul 25, 2012 | Discussions
davidevans1
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Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
Jul 25, 2012

Is there specific criteria that defines what is Fine Art paper and what is Photo paper?
I admit to being confused with this!

I have some Epson Premium Glossy photo paper (300 gms or 330 gms I think - I'm at work so haven't got the exact details to hand), and also some Epson Fine Art Smooth (not bright white) paper. I also have some Epson Fine Art non smooth surface paper and having used it a couple of times I'm struggling to decide what sort of prints would look best with a non smooth surface.
I'm using a 3880 printer with Epson inks.

I've been using Epson papers as it cuts out one area of printing hassle with profiles, but maybe I should get my head around this!

For colour photography I don't like the off white Fine Art paper so have been using the Photo paper.

For monochrome the off white colour of the smooth Fine Art paper is OK, but my preference would probably be a brighter white paper again.
I am mostly happy with gloss.

My wife on the other hand much prefers matte, so for her prints we've been using the Fine Art paper.
Is there a difference in longevity between Fine Art and Photo?

If we wanted to exhibit or sell prints should we be using Fine Art paper or is that irrelevant?

Is the Epson Premium Glossy Photo paper the best for fine detail A2 prints (it seems good but I have nothing to compare it with)?
What matte paper would you recommend for fine detail A2 prints please?
Thanks for any advice.
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David

Island Golfer
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to davidevans1, Jul 25, 2012

Epson gives brief discriptions of each of their papers, and their use, on their site.
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/pamHome.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=0

If you click on a particular paper, often the discription expands a bit. I suspect that Epson would define their papers even further if you contacted them.
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intensity studios
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to davidevans1, Jul 25, 2012

I think fine art paper usually means it's 100% cotton. This paper is considered pro quality and I think is more archival. But cotton rag is more difficult to get a good print as the gloss and pearl and even regular matte papers seem to be more forgiving.

I am just learning printing, so I could be wrong here.

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Hugowolf
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to davidevans1, Jul 25, 2012

These category designations aren’t set in stone, but generally for high quality papers, photo papers are RC (resin coated = plastic coated) and fine art papers aren’t. Fine art papers should be archival, photo papers need not be.

A very few fine art papers allow the use of photo black ink. Exceptions include Epson Exhibition Fibre (Trad Photo in Europe) and Museo Silver Rag.

Fine art papers do not need to be 100% cotton based. They can be 100% alpha cellulose (wood pulp); Hahnemühle German Etching 310 is an example of an alpha-cellulose based fine art paper. There are Japanese papers which are made of Kenaf fibre. There are Japanese papers which contain Mulberry fibres. Hahnemühle has papers with Bamboo and Sugar Cane content.

Harman, distributed by Hahnemühle in the US, produces a Gloss Baryta paper that it sells as a fine art paper. It is certainly one of the highest quality papers in the world, but I don’t know if I would think of it as a fine art paper.

As far as printing is concerned, I don’t think you are saving anything by sticking with Epson papers and not using profiles. The first time you use a profile it will take you a little longer, but after that there isn’t anything to it, if you are using manufacturer supplied profiles (canned profiles). Just select the manufacture’s recommended media type (Epson paper equivalent), turn off color management for the printer, then select the appropriate profile in whatever software you are printing from.

Glossy and lustre/pearl papers have deeper and darker blacks and produce higher contrast, more saturated prints than matt papers. But which paper you choose for a particular print is really a personal choice – and if you are putting it behind glass it is somewhat moot anyhow.

The problem with bright white papers, whether photo or fine art, is the optical brightening agent (OBA) content. OBAs, sometimes called bluing agents. OBAs fade over time, especially if subject to any daylight exposure.

Brian A

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davidevans1
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to Hugowolf, Jul 25, 2012

Hugowolf wrote:

These category designations aren’t set in stone, but generally for high quality papers, photo papers are RC (resin coated = plastic coated) and fine art papers aren’t. Fine art papers should be archival, photo papers need not be.

A very few fine art papers allow the use of photo black ink. Exceptions include Epson Exhibition Fibre (Trad Photo in Europe) and Museo Silver Rag.

Fine art papers do not need to be 100% cotton based. They can be 100% alpha cellulose (wood pulp); Hahnemühle German Etching 310 is an example of an alpha-cellulose based fine art paper. There are Japanese papers which are made of Kenaf fibre. There are Japanese papers which contain Mulberry fibres. Hahnemühle has papers with Bamboo and Sugar Cane content.

Harman, distributed by Hahnemühle in the US, produces a Gloss Baryta paper that it sells as a fine art paper. It is certainly one of the highest quality papers in the world, but I don’t know if I would think of it as a fine art paper.

As far as printing is concerned, I don’t think you are saving anything by sticking with Epson papers and not using profiles. The first time you use a profile it will take you a little longer, but after that there isn’t anything to it, if you are using manufacturer supplied profiles (canned profiles). Just select the manufacture’s recommended media type (Epson paper equivalent), turn off color management for the printer, then select the appropriate profile in whatever software you are printing from.

Glossy and lustre/pearl papers have deeper and darker blacks and produce higher contrast, more saturated prints than matt papers. But which paper you choose for a particular print is really a personal choice – and if you are putting it behind glass it is somewhat moot anyhow.

The problem with bright white papers, whether photo or fine art, is the optical brightening agent (OBA) content. OBAs, sometimes called bluing agents. OBAs fade over time, especially if subject to any daylight exposure.

Brian A

Thank you Brian for a very clear and detailed reply. I particularly take your point about OBAs.

So having looked at the main UK paper suppliers website http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/ I'm leaning towards trying the following papers from Hahnemuhle:

http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/hahnemuhle-matt-fine-art-smooth-paper-photo-rag-ultra-smooth-305g-25-sheets-a2

http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/hahnemuhle-glossy-fine-art-paper-baryta-fb-350gsm-a2-25-sheets
Do those look like good choices would you say?

I've also had a look at Hahnemuhle's ICC profiles which they do for these papers and the 3880 printer.
Thanks again.
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David

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Hugowolf
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to davidevans1, Jul 25, 2012

davidevans1 wrote:

Thank you Brian for a very clear and detailed reply. I particularly take your point about OBAs.

So having looked at the main UK paper suppliers website http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/ I'm leaning towards trying the following papers from Hahnemuhle:

http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/hahnemuhle-matt-fine-art-smooth-paper-photo-rag-ultra-smooth-305g-25-sheets-a2

http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/hahnemuhle-glossy-fine-art-paper-baryta-fb-350gsm-a2-25-sheets
Do those look like good choices would you say?

I would get sample packs from Harman, Canson, and Hahnemühle, then you can try them before buying any quantity.

http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/test-packs-photo-gloss-satin-lustre-matt-smooth-textured-fine-art-inkjet-photo-papers?zenid=28c0de871a9ce94019ecf5f58e0857d2

If you are in the UK then you owe it to yourself to try Harman Gloss Baryta. Probably the finest gloss paper ever made.

http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/harman-digital-photo-and-fine-art-inkjet-paper/harman-digital-matt-fine-art-inkjet-paper-gloss-baryta-320

… and anything from St. Cuthbert’s Mill in Somerset. St Cuthberts make Epson Velvet Fine Art and Epson Somerset papers.

http://www.on-linepaper.co.uk/st-cuthberts-mill-inkjet-sampler-30-sheets-6-types-a4-pack

Personally I prefer Canson Rag Photographique 310 to Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308, but the Hahnemühle is probably the most popular photo rag paper worldwide. I haven’t used a lot of the ultra smooth, but it did not seem much smoother than the regular rag.

I use a lot of Hahnemühle German Etching in large sheets (A1) which I cut down if I am using a 17 inch printer. Nice even texture which holds detail well and easier to cut when dry mounted than cotton papers.

If you are also looking at photo papers then Canson Baryta Photographique and Canson Platine are very nice lustre/pearl papers, but not cheap.

But again, paper is a very personal choice.

Brian A

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daMatrix
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to Hugowolf, Jul 26, 2012

Yep try sample packs. Take the discipline to use one and the same color and black and white image on each sheet. Not the name of paper, and print settings and use it as reference guide when ever you have a particular printing need.

The other route is just buy at best guess and occassional sales and create a chaotic stock of printing paper were 50% of the boxes never are used.

Someone once said that buying a tripod will save you money if you make the best quality the first time, instead of wasting a multitude of money on the wrong gear.

That wise words also go for printing paper.

The boxes with Epson premium glossy paper are gathering dust here..too blue. The Illford papers are on the edge of color ok. Harmann and Hanemuhle are the better choices (for lustre and glossy photopaper).

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davidevans1
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to Hugowolf, Jul 27, 2012

Brian, thank you once again for the very detailed advice and information.
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David

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davidevans1
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to daMatrix, Jul 27, 2012

daMatrix wrote:

Yep try sample packs. Take the discipline to use one and the same color and black and white image on each sheet. Not the name of paper, and print settings and use it as reference guide when ever you have a particular printing need.

The other route is just buy at best guess and occassional sales and create a chaotic stock of printing paper were 50% of the boxes never are used.

Someone once said that buying a tripod will save you money if you make the best quality the first time, instead of wasting a multitude of money on the wrong gear.

That wise words also go for printing paper.

The boxes with Epson premium glossy paper are gathering dust here..too blue. The Illford papers are on the edge of color ok. Harmann and Hanemuhle are the better choices (for lustre and glossy photopaper).

Wise word with graphic example! Of course what you suggest is absolutely right and I accept if I adopt a little discipline and patience at this stage I will save a lot of time, money and disappointment in the longer term. I will follow your advice. Thanks.

Referring to your analogy it was possibly by luck rather than judgement that I got the tripod right first time, though I've come to accept that using a ball head is probably the best compromise (I wish someone would make a strong, lighter Manfrotto 410 geared head!). If you'd referred to camera bags and backpacks though, I must had gone through twenty over the years before settling on my current Clik Elite backpack!
Thanks again.

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MrScary
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Re: Whats the difference between Fine Art and Photo paper?
In reply to davidevans1, Jul 28, 2012

BIG problem I find with Baryta paper is that it is Very Easily marked by anything. A good print often gets spoilt by a mark that appears from nowhere.

I prefer Fotospeed Lustre & Harman Lustre. But of course, if you got plenty of cash, then there be far better papers to buy, but these two are Good.
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