Susan Ashford is a Welsh Photographic Federation Judge and Member Swansea Camera Club as well as being a volunteer for the RPS in South Wales
This article is a summary on how I arrived with my photographic papers of choice. We are spending more time at home than we're used to due to the COVID19 pandemic, so perhaps now is the ideal time to think about " what paper will suit what purpose".
There is a lot to consider about printing, especially if you are on a personal journey to a Photographic Distinction or to an award in a photographic club or in an external competition. Print quality really matters.
If you demand the best from your images it is advisable to invest time and effort into both paper printer and ink selection. Another important consideration is your individual budget. Shop around - talk to different manufacturers, other photographers and read reviews in specialist and consumer magazines and contact their experts and go to demonstrations at Photography Shows and Events when it is safe to do so from a Public Health standpoint.
Please note that this article is purely intended for educational purposes and should not be seen as an endorsement of any manufacturer.
Image 1 This image is my attempt to replicate a Daguerreotype.
Original daguerreotypes looked as if the pictures were printed onto a mirror with tarnished edges. It was necessary to imitate the metallic finish and Titanium Lustre 280 paper gave an excellent result. The paper is a heavyweight silver resin coated base - metallic finish.
Image 2 For this image called 'Sweet Surprise' I used Titanium Lustre 280 paper.
I wanted some visual impact and high contrast and wanted bright bold colours as well in the print. Titanium lustre paper suits both an old looking image and a new contemporary image.
I have always done my own printing and used to use whatever paper I had at hand. I use an Epson R3000 Printer with genuine Epson Inks but other manufacturers products should always be looked at as well.
Image 3 Idyllic mooring My aim with this image was to create a soft pastel print and Portrait White 285 Paper did a superb job .
Image 4 The Horse Whisperer is another image printed on Portrait White paper.
I recommend this paper for portraits too. Ultimately one paper isn't any better than another - It all comes down to personal preference as well as what you are trying to portray.
Image 5 Uncle Walter This image is a still life watercolour effect that I managed to beautify by using Museum Heritage 310 paper. The print gives out an artistic painterly feeling.
When using this paper to print, the printer's Ink setting must be on Matt Black and paper setting on Fine Art. The Epson R3000 printer has the ability to feed paper from the front as the paper is thicker than usual.
Image 6 Cyanotype Poppy
The chemicals for Cyanotypes work well with 100% acid free paper. Watercolour paper is usually recommended. Fine Art papers differ in their composition in that they usually consist of natural fibres such as cotton and cellulose.
For this cyanotype poppy image i used NT Bright White 315 photo paper as it is 100% acid free. The paper washed well and dried flat - back to my old habit of using what is at hand!!
Finally, please remember that this article is purely subjective and based on my own experimentations. I hope it encourages you to experiment with different photographic papers.
Happy Lockdown and stay safe!