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Lustre vs Glossy: Which One is Better? | Top 5 Recommendations

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If you plan to print your photographs, you will come across many photo papers to select from. And whether or not you are a professional photographer, you may experience some challenges when selecting the right paper. However, the most popular choices for photographic paper finishes are lustre and glossy. But which one is better?

This blog post will look at lustre vs. glossy prints, their differences, and the top 5 recommendations.

What is Lustre?

Lustre is a semi-sheeny photographic paper that combines the stability and flexibility of matte print with the glow and variance of glossy print. It has a slight texture that provides a top-notch appearance to the photographs.

Advantages of Lustre

vintage printed white and black photos in hand

Photo by Cheryl Winn-Boujnida on Unsplash

Lustre photographic paper has a variety of advantages. They include;

  • It reveals precise skin tones such as black and smooth tones.
  • It doesn't support the reflection of light for the observer, and you can also attach it anywhere.
  • You can view it from a variety of perspectives.
  • It supports both a semi-gloss and matte appearance.
  • It has a more smooth surface than glossy paper, making it acceptable for printing portfolios or gallery photos.
  • It is not vulnerable to fingerprints or stains.
  • It has a great appearance below the glass.
  • It supports more oversized prints that you can display on your walls quickly.
  • Photographers can use it for several types, such as wedding and school photos.

Disadvantages of Lustre

Besides having a wide range of benefits, lustre photographic paper also has some disadvantages.

photo gallary on the wall

Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash

They include;

  • It can partly lose its variance and intensity because of its gravel texture.
  • The colors don't emerge as compared to glossy paper.
  • It doesn't support adequate reflection of light.
  • There is no clear proof that it is as evenhanded and raw as the matte paper.

What is Glossy?

Glossy paper is another standard design of photographic paper with shiny and smooth varnish, offering your prints a reflective finish. It's the usual photographic paper you can use to produce your family and friends' photos in any studio.

Advantages of Glossy

a certain amount of printed photo on wooden desk

Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash

Glossy photo paper has various benefits, and they include;

  • Its shiny nature gives the paper quite an impressive appearance.
  • Glossy prints are also very vibrant by nature, making them capture colors brilliantly.
  • The intensity of a photo is also evident in glossy prints, blacks are deep, and highlights are bright.
  • It has a smooth surface that maintains and supplements all the credentials of the photo.

Disadvantages of Glossy

The glossy photographic paper also has a few downfalls in photography. Some of them include;

  • It is highly prone to fingerprints and stains, making every touch on a glossy print visible.
  • It has an intense glare, making it difficult for a viewer to see in sunlight or bright places.
  • It is not the best option for making large prints, especially if you plan to hang them on the wall, as they can also stick to the glass frame.

a pile of printed photo

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

    Lustre vs Glossy

    Both lustre and glossy papers ensure photographs appear attractive. But when it comes to comparing them (lustre vs glossy papers), you need to consider the kind of photograph you want to print.

    Both paper types have an intent surface, but the lustre is not as gleamy and soft as glossy. In addition, lustre photo paper displays a bit of a blurry texture, which is the same as matte paper, while glossy has an intense glassy look.

    However, there are some significant aspects to consider when comparing lustre vs glossy. They include;

    1. Reflectiveness

    reflective printed photo scattered beside a plant

    Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

    It is the significant difference between lustre and glossy papers, even though they are both shiny.

    Therefore, the glossy photographic finish has an intensively reflective surface that can generate a vigorous radiance when you exhibit it straight to sunlight.

    However, when you run a lustre photographic paper over the light, you will discover a much ultra-fine and squashy drop of light that won't interfere with the viewer.

    Consequently, lustre photographic paper is the perfect option for professionals and devotees to display their projects, as it is more flexible and can adapt to intense light beams.

    2. Color And Variance

    Lustre paper has a closely matte appearance, meaning it subdues the colors slightly and generates a loss of brightness compared to the natural sparkle of the glossy finish.

    colorful printed photo that well organized  in lines

    Photo by Soragrit Wongsa on Unsplash

    So, glossy might be your champion if you want soaked colors with deep whites and blacks.

    The smoothness in lustre paper offers beautiful and soft tones for a more artistic and skilful-looking outcome.

    3. Intensity

    A glossy print guarantees the highest level of intensity and transparency as the shiny layer features the credentials of the photo.

    On the other hand, the grainy texture of lustre paper minimizes the intensity slightly, so that's an aspect to consider if you require a neat, crystal-clear print.

    Glossy vs Matte Photo

    Glossy prints usually blend with photographs that require their colors to emerge because such prints enhance vitality. Therefore, you can print essences such as pets, children, and glowing landscapes extremely well on glossy photo paper.

    printed photos and wooden clips

    Photo by Analia Ferrario on Unsplash

    In addition, a glossy finish can produce photographs that appear more naturalistic, making it a better and more famous option for event photographers such as weddings.

    On the other hand, the matte photographic paper has no reflective features. It is flat and offers a lumpy texture that computes a more artistic and vintage feeling to your photographs.

    Suppose you are looking for photo paper for making fine-art prints and touching photos without leaving marks on their surface. In that case, matte is the best option, as it is made of a heavier and more robust material that doesn't sustain fingerprints or marks.

    It also doesn't generate vibrant colors as its shiny opponent (Glossy).

    5 Best Photography Papers to Buy in 2024

    Purchasing the best photography paper is essential, especially if you want to display your photos professionally. After all, there's no need to take some fantastic shots and print them substandardly.

    However, with several brands and types in the market, it can be hard to get the right paper for your use. As a result, the five best photography papers to buy in 2024 have been mentioned below. They include;

    1. Canson Infinity Rag Photographique Matte 310 gsm

    Canson Infinity Rag Photographique Matte 310 gsm

    Image Credit: 

    Canson's Infinity Rag Photographique Matte is an extraordinarily shiny matte paper with plenty of blacks, tonic whites, and the best color certainty. It has the following features;

    • It is available in a wide range of sizes such as 8.5 x 11 inches, 11 x 17 inches, 13 x 19 inches, 17 x 22 inches etc.
    • It has various roll dimensions of 17" x 50', 24" x 50', 36" x 50', 44" x 50', 60" x 50' etc.
    • It is made up of 100% Cotton material.
    • Its whiteness proportion is up to 89.8%.
    • It Weighs 310 gsm.
    • It has a thickness of 18.3 mils.


    Canson's Infinity Rag Photographique Matte has the following pros;

    • It is convenient as you can purchase it in either 210 or 310 gsm.
    • It is bilateral as it is accessible in one or two-sided form.
    • It has more than one choice of sizes. Therefore, you can purchase them in sheets or rolls.
    • It has a classical quality which is solid and long-lasting.


    The paper also has the following drawbacks;

    • It is expensive as its price increases frequently.
    • Not all sizes are available in all stores.

    2. Epson Ultra Premium Lustre

     Epson Ultra Premium Lustre

    Image Credit:

    Section of Epson's famous line, the Ultra Premium Lustre paper, has an attractive finish that supports framing. It has the following critical features:

    • It is available in a variety of sizes, such as 8.5 x 11", 13 x 19", 11.7 x 16.5" (A3) etc.
    • Its base material is made up of Alpha cellulose.
    • Its brightness level is up to 97%.
    • Its weight is 240 gsm.
    • Its thickness is ten mils.


    Some of the common advantages include;

    • It is crystal clear and has a specific color.
    • It desiccates quickly when wet.
    • It is a perfect paper for framing purposes.
    • It is accessible in packs that contain a maximum of 250 sheets.


    Some of the cons include;

    • It is not available in a wide variety of sizes to select.
    • It is also not obtainable in rolls.

    3. Canon Photo Paper Pro Platinum


    Canon Photo Paper Pro Platinum

    Image Credit: 

    Canon's Photo Paper Pro Platinum offers an astonishing and ultra-shiny photograph, making a perfect selection for photographers who prefer an extreme glittering finish. It has the following key features;

    • It has various sheet sizes; they include; 4×6″, 8.5×11″, 11×17″, 13×19″, 17×22″ etc.
    • It has many roll size selections such as 17" x 100', 23" x 100', 36" x 100', 42" x 100' etc.
    • No base material
    • It has a brightness level of around 98%.
    • It weighs 218 gsm
    • It has a thickness of 11.8 mil


    Some of the pros include;

    • It is highly glossy for those who love gloss prints.
    • You can purchase it in sheets and rolls.
    • It has several size selections, including petite sizes.
    • It projects bright colors.


    It also has a few drawbacks. They include;

    • Rolls categories are not available in many stores.
    • Color profiles can be awkward if you use other printers.

    4. Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 gsm

    Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 gsm

    Image Credit:  

    Hahnemühle supports fine arts as it is one of the archival-quality photo papers.

    Some of its key features include;

    • Its sheet size is available in various dimensions such as 4 x 6", 8.5 x 11", 13 x 19", 17 x 22" etc.
    • Its roll size is available in 17" x 39', 24" x 39', 36" x 39' and 44" x 39' dimensions.
    • Its base material is made up of cotton rags.
    • Its brightness level is 93%.
    • It weighs 308 gsm.
    • It has a thickness of 18.8 mils.


    • It is convenient in 188, 308, or 500 gsm.
    • You can buy either roll or sheet design.
    • Available in both single and double-sided categories.
    • It has acid- and lignin-free for best age resistance.
    • It has an attractive texture.


    • It is costly, and everyday users can find it expensive.

    5. Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag 310gsm


    Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Sheets

    Image Credit:  

    The Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag provides the soft fibre paper originally used to produce black and white prints. Its key features include;

    • Its Sheet size is available in 5 x 7”, 8.5 x 11”, 11 x 17”, 13 x 19”, 17 x 22” etc.
    • It is available in various roll size dimensions such as 17" x 50', 24" x 50', 36" x 50', 44" x 50' and 60" x 50'.
    • Its base material is made up of cotton rag.
    • Its whiteness level is upto 89%.
    • It weighs 310 gsm.
    • It has a thickness of 15.6 mils.


    • It offers a wide variety of sizes, including extra large.
    • It is available in roll and sheet choices.
    • It is a smooth, velvet-like finish
    • It has a high quality


    • It is expensive.


    There is no precise champion after comparing lustre vs glossy finish, as they have diverse uses. If you want photos you can display on your walls, you can go for lustre photo paper, and if you want a photo with a smooth surface that maintains and supplements all the photo credentials, then you can go for glossy paper.

    Therefore, the kind of photographic paper you choose can positively change your photo's glance, condition, and display quality. Remember to choose your photo paper carefully regardless of where you print your photographs.

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