Though discussions about photography in magazines, classrooms, message boards and camera clubs often focus on the latest photographic equipment or the hottest Photoshop tip, in the end, it really comes down to one simple thing: the print. It’s nice to share an image via e-mail or by allowing a friend to look over your shoulder at the camera’s LCD, but there’s no better way of sharing your unique vision of the world than by reproducing it on paper.
Mounting and framing your photographs play a big role in properly displaying and sharing your images. It’s also key for ensuring that those prints last for generations. Your choice of printer, ink and paper, as well as the way you handle the finished print, all come together to create the satisfying experience of appreciating a good photograph.
Inks, Papers and Lightfastness
Until recently, pigment inks were the only way to go for lightfastness, but the last few generations of dye-based inks have been catching up, promising decades of resistance to fading and color shifting. However, whether you’re using dye-based or pigment-based inks, your choice of paper will have one of the greatest impacts on the life of your photographs.
Besides choosing between a matte and a glossy surface, one consideration when selecting a paper is how it interacts with the inks of your printer. Paper types, even those produced by the same manufacturer, won’t behave the same in terms of resistance to fading, moisture and pollutants. If lightfastness is a key concern for prints, it’s important to know how long you can expect prints to resist fading and color shifts.