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Cutting Through the Clutter of Inkjet Paper

SUMMARY: When shopping for digital photo supplies, sometimes it can all get a little confusing, especially if you are new to the world of digital photography. That's why it's important to determine what you want to do with your ink jet paper and what kind of results you are looking for.

If your goal is to make Christmas cards out of family photos, then you'll need a different paper grade than a professional photographer exhibiting photos in a gallery. Below is a breakdown of what you need to look for when deciding what kind of ink jet paper to buy.

The Basics of Inkjet Paper

Weight - The weight of the paper is measured in pounds and determines the thickness and opacity of the paper. Heavier paper will often be more difficult to get through your printer but it is also stronger and more durable than lighter paper.

Thickness - The thickness of paper, also known as the caliper, is determined by the paper weight. Paper thickness is often a matter of personal preference. Some prefer thick paper because thin paper feels flimsy while others like thin paper because it is inexpensive and easy to use.

Finish - The finish on your paper determines if it's glossy or matt, or something in between. The finish also helps determine the brightness of your printed image.

Brightness - Smooth paper reflects light off the paper making it look brighter. A smooth finish will give your picture depth and richness that unfinished paper cannot. Brightness is measured on a scale determined by ISO, the brightest paper level being 108.

Absorption - Paper that absorbs too much ink will look fuzzy and unclear. A wax is usually added to high quality ink jet paper to prevent the ink from absorbing into the paper's pores. The finish on your paper often helps determine how much ink your paper will absorb.

Size - Size is entirely up to personal preference, and what size paper your ink jet printer will be able to accept. Most inkjet printers will easily be able to print on paper smaller or equal to 8" by 10". Keep in mind; standard digital photo sizes are different than standard sizes used by manual cameras.

Opacity - The more opaque your paper is, the less light is allowed to pass through it. Therefore, if you are printing on both sides of the paper, you want it to be as opaque as possible. But if you're just printing snapshot photos, the opaqueness of the paper will not be as important.

Opacity - The more opaque your paper is, the less light is allowed to pass through it. Therefore, if you are printing on both sides of the paper, you want it to be as opaque as possible. But if you're just printing snapshot photos, the opaqueness of the paper will not be as important.

Double-sided paper - Double-sided paper lets you print images on both sides of the paper. Both sides have an ink-receiving coat that will give you a bright, colorful image.

Color - The whiter the paper, the brighter and crisper the image will appear. The color of the paper will determine how the printed colors show up on your paper.

Drying Time - Drying time depends on the paper and the ink. Make sure to read the papers description to learn how long the paper takes to dry. Drying time can range between 30 seconds and 15 minutes. If you just want to bust out as many photos as possible in a short time period, you may want to choose a paper that dries and locks in the color quickly.

 

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