Choosing Between 4x6 Photo Printer Paper Finishes

When it is time for you to print to your 4x6 photo printer, you will find that you are going to be presented with a number of options.  These options are going to be pertaining to the finish that you are going to want to apply to the printed image.

Step 1: Understanding What A "Finish" Is

A finish is essentially the feeling that you get when you actually touch the paper. When you look at the photos that you have lying around your home, you will notice that they are all very glossy and smooth. That gloss and smoothness is their finish. Paper can also have a textured finish applied to it. When you refer to a finish, you are referring to the way the surface of the paper is treated.

Step 2: Determine the Finish You Want

The hardest part is going to be determining which finish that you want to use. There are wide varieties that are available to you, and each one has its own unique attributes. Below you will find a few examples of what finishes are going to be offered to you.

  • Felt - This finish provides a mildly textured look by created broad crater-like depressions in the paper. Typically you would find this kind of finish used on watercolor paper.
  • Burlap - Just as the word implies, this finish gives the paper the look of a burlap sack. This is one of the few finishes that are considered extreme in that it is incredibly noticeable. This also works well with watercolor images, and its works wonderfully when creating a stamp look. The texture of the paper allows it to hold color incredibly well.
  • Embossed - This term is used very loosely. This can refer to a number of different finishes as long as they are not glossy or smooth. An embossed imaged will appear to have been physically pressed into the paper that it is printed on. This will create a sense of depth with the frame. 
  • Matte - A matte finish is a very classic finish to go with. This is basically a clear, protective coating that is placed over the image as it prints. This is used to protect and preserve your images. As well, this maintains a very glossy and smooth feel to it. Another benefit is that the matte will prevent scratches from appearing on the image
  • Satin/Silk - This finish should be applied to any paperwork that is considered important. If you are simply working on a small design that you want presented in a classy and professional manner, this is the finish that you should use. 

Step 3: Applying Your Finish

Many computer programs will have the above listed finishes and many more available to you. The program will allow you to preview your image before printing so that you don't waste the paint or the paper. When you have made your decision, simply click the "Apply" button.  This will tell the computer to permanently add the finish to your image. Of course, you can always go back and remove it if you make a mistake. 

Step 4: Print the Image

By simply going to "File" and then "Print," the computer will give you the option to set up your page for printing.  Bare in mind that when you are printing photos, it always takes longer printing on photo paper, and adding finishes will take even longer; but, the overall effect will be worth it in the end.


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