Learn which inkjet photo paper finish to select. PPD offers: Gloss, Matt or Satin finishes.

Which Photo Paper Finish Should I Choose?

  1. Type of Finishes
  2. When to Use Glossy Photo Paper
  3. When to Use Satin Photo Paper
  4. When to Use Matt Photo Paper

Type of finishes

PPD photo paper offers multiple finishes, ranging from shiny to a non-reflective finish:


shiny, reflective surface with a high glare


a.k.a. semi-gloss with low glare


no sheen and low reflective properties

While you may already know which inkjet photo paper finish you prefer, it also helps to understand when to choose a specific photo paper finish. Let’s examine the attributes and the suitable applications for each photo finish.

When to Use Glossy Photo Paper

Glossy photo paper offers a professional look and feel with a shiny finish. You can print full colour, sepia, or black and white photography with great results and a wide colour gamut at high resolution.

Frame any printed photos on glossy paper inside frames without glass to avoid the issue of reflection. Adding glass on top of a glossy photo with its own sheen makes it difficult to see the photo from all angles. Glossy paper works well with special occasion snapshots like weddings, anniversaries, invitations or save-the-date cards, and other shareable photos.

Select our Glossy Premium Photo Paper for high quality photo prints that are suitable for framing and gifting.

The richness of PPD Glossy Heavyweight Photo Paper feels great in your hand . It is also well-suited as a photo attached to the front of handmade greeting cards. We offer pre-scored inkjet greeting card stock that accept photos on the glossy side if you prefer that format.

When to Use Satin Photo Paper

Satin can print black and white or full colour, like glossy, but without limitations regarding how it is best viewed. A satin finish is considered a semi-gloss photo paper which is ideal for framing in bright light situations or presentations with lots of lots of glare. It’s halfway between PPD Glossy and PPD Matt, if you were to look at the papers side-by-side.

Satin photo paper makes beautiful snapshots for photo albums and large prints for framing under glass. When in doubt, choose a satin finish for snapshots and framed photographs viewed behind glass. A wide colour gamut will allow for true colour reproduction.

Satin is less affected by strong light conditions than a high gloss paper. The image is clear from a wider angle. Some versions of satin are called satin lustre, which is a level closer to matt. If you see the name pearl in it, that is slightly glossier than a satin finish.

Premium photo paper with a satin finish is intended for professional-quality photo prints and framed artwork. It’s available in many sizes to suit your needs.

When to Use Matt Photo Paper

Matt photo paper is sometimes referred to as a flat finish. Photo paper with a matt finish delivers a smooth finish with no reflective properties. Use matt in glass photo frames and under high or bright light conditions – wherever you do not want a shiny photo.

The smooth quality of matt photo paper makes it ideal for many business, home, and school applications. Choose matt when printing photos for reports, presentations, giveaway brochures, crafting, and large print runs. It’s perfect when you need to attach photos to foamboard in a display and for inserting photos into sleeves (reports, photo albums, scrapbooking, etc.). Print on double-sided matt paper to make booklets that will be handled frequently, since the smooth finish captures less fingerprints than with a glossy finish.

Our matt brochure paper is lightweight and easily folded into many brochure styles. Choose our matt presentation paper when you want to print high resolution photos on your inkjet printer for economical business prints at home or work.

All Photo Paper Direct inkjet photo papers are smudge-free. You can handle them right off the printer. They are available in multiple sizes. Choose a smaller size to suit your needs or fill up the entire sheet. You can also print many photos on a larger sheet and crop to size.

Now that you have learned which inkjet photo paper finish to select, be sure to follow us on YouTube and Social to see what you can make with our various photo papers for inkjet printers. We’d love to see your photos! Share on social and tag us with #MadewithPPD.