Matte Photo Paper Pros and Cons

Matte photo paper is an industry term used to describe a whole host of Inkjet high-resolution matte papers. Amongst industry professionals and photographers, the real debate is whether ‘Matte photo paper’ is a true photo paper.

These papers usually range from 90gsm for the day-by-day use to examples over 200gsm and are available as a single or double-sided printable paper. GSM stands for g/m² or in plain English, paper destiny.

The Matte paper is a regular based paper that has a coating of an inkjet receiving layer which is in place to make sure that the ink droplet coming from your inkjet printer by means of a powerful jet (hence ink-jet) are received well and get its full definition on the paper without bleeding or losing its colours. The matte coating layer used for the Matte photo paper is usually very basic and although it will yield a nice crisp image, it is yet not up to a real photographic paper level.

What would I use the matte photo paper for?

Light Weight 90-120gsm – These are excellent for printing a wide range of presentations that include not only text, but also some images and colour prints. You can rest assured that you will get a brilliant print with a solid black and crisps colours for an affordable price.

Heavier Weight 150gsm and Onwards – The heavier options that range from 150g onwards are used for various types of prints such as presentations when a heavier and more rigid feel of the paper is required. Example will include menus, manuals, calendars, greeting cards (when it is double sided coated) and many more economical prints that require a solid feel.

Some industry professionals and photographers will use the matte photo paper for real photography, especially for black & white or sepia prints as the colour definition requirements are not needed and the prints look brilliant and artistic on a matte background.

How do I evaluate quality?

Options from various manufactures can vary in their coating quality, as well the thickness of the coating can change and therefore the print quality will vary. In cheap produced matte photo paper you can get around 5-8 grams of coating per square meter when on the higher quality matte photo paper you get up to 15gsm of coating that will improve the print quality tremendously. It is important to get the highest quality matte photo paper.

So is matte photo paper is a photo paper, it is up to you to decide.

From our point of view, having examined many thousands of prints over the years I’ll say NO. A real high quality photographic paper that is used in inkjet printers will provide a full colour gamut and spread with many more sub colours. True photographic paper will therefore yield the all shades of greys and colours that matte photo paper can’t.

What are its pros?

– Cheap option

– Can be more artistic if you like matte finish

– Good for using on day-by-day presentations

What are its cons?


– Print quality is nowhere near true photo papers

– Longevity and fading are a real concern

– Not a real photo feel and look

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