Red River Photo Paper: Choosing the Perfect Paper for Your Prints

Printing your photographs may seem like a simple task, but it’s actually more complex than you might think. Not only do photographers require a high-quality printer, but the paper they choose also plays a significant role in the final result. When it comes to inkjet papers, Red River is a popular choice, but is it the best option for you? Let’s dive into a review of Red River paper and find out.

Red River Paper: A Comparison of Inkjet and Laser Printing

Before deciding on a specific paper, it’s essential to consider the type of printer you have. Inkjet printing is a cost-effective method that allows for lab-quality results at home. This process involves a moving head that sprays ink onto the paper and can also be used on other materials like canvas or fabrics. On the other hand, laser printers are best for high-volume printing and are faster but come at a higher cartridge cost compared to inkjet inks.

What Should You Look for in Photographic Paper?

When selecting paper for your prints, there are several factors to consider. The surface finish is crucial, with matte, lustre, and glossy being the main options. Each category has variations, like matte with a dense texture. Some specialty papers, such as metallic paper, offer unique finishes but may not be suitable for every photograph.

A glossy finish produces vibrant colors, deep blacks, and sharp images with fine detail. Matte papers resemble fine art paper used in watercolor, while lustre papers, also known as pearl, semi-gloss, or satin, combine the color quality of glossy paper without the glare. Lustre papers are popular among professional photographers for their excellent color and contrast, which matte papers sometimes lack.

The coating of the paper is also crucial in inkjet printing, as it affects how well the inks adhere to the surface. Each manufacturer offers their unique blend of coating, resulting in variations in professional papers. Weight and thickness also play a role in a paper’s quality and feel. Heavier papers tend to withstand the test of time, while thicker papers are more rigid. However, very thick papers may not fit through certain printers.

A woman holding a blank sheet of paper over her face
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Introducing Red River Paper

Red River paper is a leading supplier of premium photographic papers for inkjet printers, available exclusively through their website. By eliminating third-party suppliers, Red River offers cost-effective purchasing options. Although based in the US, Red River Paper ships worldwide. Before making a purchase, it’s advisable to try one of their sample kits. The Base Kit includes their most popular papers, and you can also explore add-on kits with specialty papers. These kits feature double-sided and lightweight options, as well as fine art papers like cotton rag and fiber-based products. Plus, all kits ship for free within the US.

While the Red River Paper website may appear outdated, it provides a wealth of information about their papers. It offers details on weight, tone, thickness, and printer compatibility for each paper, enabling you to make an informed choice. The website also allows you to shop by photo type, such as black and white or HDR, and select specific criteria like paper size.

A screenshot of the Red River Paper website

Red River Paper vs. Epson and Moab Papers

Red River, Epson, and Moab are the primary competitors in the inkjet paper market, each offering similar products with slight differences. Moab paper is renowned for its superior weight, warmer tones, and excellent ink adhesion. This is an essential aspect where some Red River and Epson matte papers fall short. Epson papers are also well-known for their exceptional quality and ink receptivity.

Lustre Comparison

In the lustre category, Red River paper clearly outshines its competitors. The paper offers better contrast and a slightly less glossy finish. However, this higher quality comes at a price. Red River paper is approximately 20% more expensive than Epson or Moab papers.

Matte Comparison

When it comes to matte paper, Red River has some alternatives that perform better. Certain matte papers tend to absorb more ink, resulting in reduced contrast and color vibrancy. The Red River matte paper suffers from this issue, while Epson and Moab offer better choices in this category. Moab paper, in particular, is brighter and heavier than both Red River and Epson options.

Determining the absolute best paper is challenging, as all three companies offer a wide range of options. The choice ultimately depends on the type of prints you want and their intended purpose.

Industrial printer at work

Which Paper is the Best for Printing Photographs?

The answer to this question is – it depends. Consider the surface finish that will enhance your photography the most. If you’re unsure, Lustre is an excellent, safe choice. However, keep in mind that the final result of your prints is influenced by more than just paper quality. The ink and printer you use also play a crucial role. The Epson SureColor P800 and Canon Prograf Pro-1000 are highly recommended printers.

Epson printer printing a photo of brightly colored flowers

Common Questions

What is Moab Paper?

Moab paper is a premium-quality paper favored by professional photographers and printers. Known for its heavy weights and excellent ink handling, Moab paper ensures exceptional print results.

What is Matte Inkjet Paper?

Matte inkjet paper is specifically designed for use with inkjet printers. Unlike glossy or lustre papers, it lacks a reflective or shiny surface. Matte paper often features a textured finish, but it may not be suitable for every type of photography due to its potential lack of contrast and vibrancy.

Which Photo Paper is Best for Inkjet Printers?

The best photo paper for inkjet printers depends on the genre of photography you’re working with. Landscape and food images require papers that receive ink well and produce vibrant colors, while other papers are better suited for photographs with a more subdued quality, such as fine art prints.

Two SD cards resting on a printer

Conclusion: Red River Paper – Ideal for Lustre, but Other Options for Matte

Red River paper is an excellent choice when it comes to lustre paper. However, if you’re in the market for matte paper, there are better alternatives available. To make the best decision when purchasing photographic paper, understanding its intricacies is key. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your specific printing needs and preferences.

To explore and purchase Red River Paper, visit Quill And Fox, your go-to destination for premium inkjet papers.