Founding dates
Founding dates

Fine Art Printing For Photographers And Other Artists

2263 Fifth St. Berkeley, CA 94710     (510) 649-8111 or (888) 649-8111 toll-free     Hours 9-6 weekdays    See Contact Us link for map

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When describing the variety of inkjet papers now available to artists and photographers, I sometimes feel the urge to wax poetic in the manner of those annoying wine reviewers:  “This OBA-free 100% rag offering reveals a subtle texture reminiscent of the undulating ridges of a sea worn shell, wave tossed upon the sands, accompanied by the ...”-you get the picture. Forgive me. I really do enjoy all the different papers we have, but the hard truth is when you put the print in a mat window, behind glass in a frame and view it from six feet away, you’d be hard pressed to tell what it’s printed on, other than glossy or matte.

However, when viewing the bare print,  holding it in your hand, or standing close to the framed piece, there are quite appreciable differences in all these paper choices. Frame it with an inch or two of border showing in the window, or flush mount it unframed, and the paper choice can have a real impact on the image and the appreciation of the work as a whole. It’s something painters have long known and photographers have, for the most part, ignored. In the early days of photography, when papers were coated by hand, this was not the case and we are now returning to those days with the variety of papers choices for giclée printing.

So with these caveats, let me offer a few descriptions of our current papers. Getting the sense of paper color and texture with small pictures viewed in a web browser is rarely accurate, so-I will happily send you small samples -the best way to come to know the richness of our printing options today. Just call or email me with your street address. Or drop by the studio to see them and whatever large prints I have around.

The paper name is followed by its weight (in grams per square meter, or gsm) and our abbreviation for the name. All these papers are much heavier than normal photographic paper. Their stiffness varies, too, and while all are around 300 gsm, some are much stiffer than others. Optical Brightening Agents (OBA) are what makes paper-and laundry- ‘whiter than white’. Does the effect fade over time? Some say it will; manufacturers say not to worry. They’ve been in use in all kinds of paper, including darkroom papers, for decades. We stock many choices with and without OBAs. Anything called Bright White will have them and warm tone or natural white papers do not.

Matte papers

Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 gsm (HPR) For photographers this has long been a standard against which other papers are measured. It was one of the first good matte rag papers with minimal Optical Brightening Agents for a pleasing smooth white surface.

Hahnemühle Museum Etching 350 gsm (HME) More of a water color style matte paper. Natural white, moderate texture. Our heaviest weight paper.

Hahnemühle William Turner 310 gsm (HWT) Minimal OBAs for moderate brightness and an almost sandy feel to the texture.

Hahnemühle Sugar Cane 300 gsm (HSC) An interesting trend in paper manufacturing is to offer ‘green’ papers, where particular concern has been paid to ecologically sound processes. This natural white paper is made from sugar cane harvest waste. It’s acid free and has a matte, fibrous texture.

Hahnemühle Bamboo 290 gsm (HBam) The second of Hahnemühle's line of sustainably harvested papers is this 90% bamboo/10%cotton matte paper. While it has no OBAs and is thus slightly warm, the color rendition is remarkably neutral. The surface is smooth and hard, but with a subtle and elegant parchment look. This is an impressive paper!

Breathing Color Elegance Velvet 310 gsm (BCE) A bright white matte paper with a water color style texture but popular with photographers, too.

Breathing Color Optica One 300 gsm (BCO) Very bright white and one of the smoothest surfaces to be found. Good for brightly colored images where high saturation on a matte paper is needed.

Breathing Color Chromata Bright White Canvas (CBW) Our canvas offering is quite popular with artists and even some photographers. It’s a cotton/poly blend for good durability and stretches without cracking at the edges. We can coat it with a protective glossy or matte finish or leave it uncoated for artists wishing to embellish the print with further painting.

Canson Rag Photographique 310 gsm (CRP) This smooth surfaced paper has no optical brightening yet is almost as bright as Hahnemühle Photo Rag and has a smoother surface and the deepest blacks I’ve seen on a matte paper. It’s excellent for color or black and white and has proven a hit in the short time it’s been available.

Canson Edition Etching 310 gsm (CEE) Similar to the Hanemühle Museum Etching, but a lighter texture. No OBAs and a good “introduction” to textured papers.

Arches Aquarelle Rag 310 gsm (AAR) One of our newest papers, Aquarelle Rag is the modern incarnation of one of the first papers, Arches Cold Press, we printed on in the 90s with our old dye ink printer, the ColorSpan Gicée Printmaker. Dye based inks did not need coated papers the way longer lasting pigment inks do and I was always sorry to lose the ability to print on this venerable water color paper. It’s one of the nicest natural white textured papers available. What painters have loved for years is now back for digital printing. Give it a try.

Innova Cold Press 315 gsm (ICP) This English paper is in the tradition of our Museum Etching and Aquarelle Rag papers. Textured, natural white, heavy stock. A favorite with artists but popular with some photographers, too.

Moab Natural Entrada 300 gsm (MNE) One of our most popular papers with artists and photographers alike. This warm, OBA-free paper has a minimal texture, just a touch more than a paper like Hahnemühle Photo Rag and is 100% cotton rag.

Moab Entrada Bright White 300 gsm (MEBW) This version of the Entrada line uses OBAs and is the brightest matte paper we carry. Excellent with black and white as well as full color images that need the extra pop of an OBA paper.

Lexjet Backlit Film 7 mil (LBF) This is definitely a specialty choice, meant for display on light boxes, but also useful in windows. Works best with low to moderate light levels and also can be viewed from the front with reflected light.

Photo style papers

The following papers all have gloss or luster finishes-they are ‘shiny’ compared to the matte offerings described above.

Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl 285 gsm (HFAP) has a surface similar to the Museo Silver Rag, but less glossy. This is the least glossy of our photo style papers and has some optical brightening for a whiter paper color.

Museo Silver Rag 300 gsm (MSR) One of the earliest luster finished papers to get it right. This rich, OBA-free paper has a luscious surface that puts traditional luster photographic papers to shame. Deep blacks, rich colors.

Harman Glossy Fiber Based AL Bright White (FBAL) 320 gsm and Warm Tone (FBAL WT) While these papers were developed to mimic the look of traditional air dried glossy, fiber based black and white darkroom paper, don’t hesitate to try them for color work. Their rich colors and semi-gloss finish work well for color and black and white. The Warm Tone option is simply OBA-free and just a touch warmer. Both papers feature the addition of baryta to their coatings, a chemical compound often used in darkroom papers for increased tonal range.

Ilford Gold Fiber Silk 310 gsm (GFS) Like the Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl, this luster paper has minimal shine, but in this case, it's a slightly warmer white base. A favorite of many who want the saturation of a glossy paper but with less reflection.

LexJet Metallic 255 gsm (PPM) A glossy RC paper with a silvery metallic finish that is unlike anything else we have. This unique paper falls into the love it or hate it category. While not a cotton rag or wood based paper, I think it still has a place in fine art printing for anyone willing to try something new. High saturation with color work and an exquisite, other worldly look with black and white pictures-this paper also appeals to artists as well as photographers. Don’t rely on my poor words-try a print on this to see for yourself!

Japanese and Asian papers These offerings are still in transition here, as I experiment with the increasing number of these papers making it to our shores. Exquisite hand made papers, thin translucent tissues of mulberry, or kozo, fiber, heavily fibered Unryu-best thing to do is stop by to see these yourself, or call me for a better description, but these will take your printing in a whole new direction!