Selecting the best computer photo paper for printing your digital camera pictures can be as daunting a task as choosing the right paint for the walls in your home. There are so many finishes to fit so many purposes; thinking about it too long is likely to make your head spin.

If you follow the advice of most of the top-brand manufacturers, you will be led to purchase papers made especially for your brand of computer. This is both a right move and one that is calculated very carefully by marketing departments.

On the one hand, selecting a matte photo paper recommended by the company that made your printer ensures that you get the right color shade and ink quality. These companies spend thousands of dollars making paper and is special designed to work with their own equipment. Not following the instructions for your printer can yield poor or grainy image resolution, as well as a dull color or fading.

Laser printers do not require the same amount of precision. You can easily use canvas photo paper or plain glossy computer paper with only text and yield the same quality result: a good print. Some color laser printers that allow you to print on glossy paper have come down in price in the last 5 years and are quite affordable for the average user.

Choosing the best computer printing paper for photo printing on an inkjet printer can still be a bit overwhelming. Take the Epson brand, for example. Different finishes of paper include photo quality glossy, premium glossy, DuraBrite, and ColorLife. All of these, especially the premium glossy, are designed to help customers frame quality photo prints or share their pictures with friends and relatives. A less formal (and less costly) finish is all-purpose glossy paper. Most people use this kind of paper when they want to present something that looks quality, but it does not have to be framed.

Determining the right paper to use when printing photos is also based on the kind of ink that you use as well. As with most suggestions from the manufacturer, special papers like Epson brand DuraBrite come with a recommendation to use DuraBrite ink.

Printer settings might also determine how well your photo prints come out. It is always the best idea to check your printer settings before doing a final print on quality paper. Some software applications allow you to select the type of paper you are using from the properties box in the printer menu and configure the printer for a special type of ink letting. This flexibility is another reason manufacturers suggest that you use the inks and papers they have created for a special printer.

Two words of caution should apply after you select the best paper for photo printing. Always let the paper completely dry in order to prevent smudges and smearing. Direct exposure to sunlight or contact with particles or gases in the air makes your photos likely to fade. These two possibilities make it necessary to keep your original digital files so that you can reprint if you have to. It never hurts to have a way to restore your personal pictures if you have to undo the damage.

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