My test strips from the Print Space arrived in the post today – I was really excited to see how my image looked on each different paper type! I ordered test strips on the Kodak Metallic, Canson Baryta, Hahnemühle Photo Rag and Hahnemühle Pearl.
First was the Canson Baryta. This is a slightly glossy paper, but not quite as much as the semi-gloss (which I didn’t actually get a sample of!). The colours looked really good on this paper and I quite liked the slight gloss to it.
Next was the Hahnemühle Photo Rag – I love this paper! Its quite thick and matte but also really soft, and the colours all come out really well. The blacks look properly black too which really adds to the image. This paper could work so well for my image, but the only problem I have found so far is how easily it scratches! Richard and Liam have warned us about how easily giclée papers can damage so I was aware of the risk, but just in the time of me taking out the test strip and taking a few photos it has somehow already got a small scratch on it! This isn’t such a problem with my test strip but I’m concerned about my final print getting scratched in the process of hanging the exhibition. I emailed Print Space after discovering the scratch to ask about their sealing options, but they advised me that they only offer sealing on mounted prints (which I’m not sure yet if mine will be mounted or not) but they also don’t really recommend sealing as it can sometimes change the look of the image significantly. They would only advise sealing if the image is to be hung in an environment such as a school where it is at much higher risk of being touched and therefore damaged. I am really unsure what to do – I am a huge fan of this paper and my image look stunning on it, but I’m worried about the possibility of it getting ruined without a seal on it.
The third paper was the Kodak Metallic. I had no idea what to expect from this one but the sample image I got looked great with a metallic sheen, so I thought I’d try it out on the different colours in my own image. It looks good, but for me it’s a bit too glossy. I’m not a fan of really reflective prints as I think it can be distracting and sometimes make it difficult to see the image properly. A lovely paper with the right sort of image, but just not for me!
Finally I looked at the Hahnemühle Pearl. After getting my sample pack of papers this is the one I thought I would most likely go with. It’s got the colour richness of the photo rag but with a pearl finish to give it a slight sheen. However, when seeing my own image on the paper it didn’t quite look right and the blacks weren’t as dark as I thought they would be. Again, a lovely paper which is great for really colourful images but it just didn’t really appeal to me for my own print.
Overall, I think my favourite from this sample has been the Hahnemühle Photo Rag. The matte finish works better with my image than glossy, and the deep blacks and rich colours just really make the image stand out. The only issue is the risk of damage as I explained above. I’m so glad I have done test strips because I originally thought I would go with the Hahnemühle Pearl but on seeing the actual print I changed my mind – an expensive mistake to make if I had gone ahead and just ordered it!
My plan now is to meet with either Richard or Liam and show them my test strips and see what advice they can give on which I should go for.