Why Choose a Matte Finish?
True Matte Photo printing is one of the exciting options that Giclee/ digital inkjet printing affords us. Before inkjet printing, matte finishes were only avialable through certain sprays or four color offset printing.
Matte finishes allow a print to be viewed from any angle without the distraction of a highly reflective surface. This also means the print is immune to gloss differential, which plagues so many glossy papers.
However, with those benefits comes a decrease in saturation, contrast, and overall "pop" that you would get with glossy media. To some photographers, this subdued nature of the finish is a welcome attribute, rather than an inconvenience. Glossy does "pop," but it is also "flashy."
If you are looking for a middle-of-the-road option, try a pearl or luster finish.
Matte Photo Paper vs. Fine Art Paper
Many clients ask why they should choose a Matte Photo Paper over a Fine Art Watercolor Paper, or visa versa.
The answers have to do with taste & stigma, archivability, and use & cost.
Taste & Stigma are the first and most important consideration. Photo Matte paper is made from wood fibers, Fine Art Paper is made from 100% cotton rag, hence it's acceptance as Fine Art Media.
What is your taste, or your clients' taste? Are they willing to pay more for the stigma of "Fine Art"? Do they want a special texture, or the paper to have a creamier tactitle feel to it? Fine Art media gives you both of those, but the quality is matched by a price increase.
Archivability is a hugh issue in fine art reproduction and photography. Three maxims can guide our understanding of both the nature of archivability, and the stigma of it: 1) Cotton is not only more archival than wood fiber, it is perceived by the community to be so. 2) Brighteners which improve the whiteness of the surfaces are believed to be less archival.
In other words, Fine Art Media is more archival than Matte Photo Paper; and in both catagories, "natural white" media is considered more archival.
The following Photo Matte Papers are very bright:
The following Photo Matte Papers are medium bright:
Use & Cost is an important consideration, closely associated with the stigma you are willing to pay for. Fine art papers are more expensive, but is more suited for fine art printing.