A Guide to Laser Photo Paper
There is a common myth that laser printers are no good when it comes to printing photos. But, of course, this is a myth and not true. Inkjet printers are best for printing your photos, but it doesn’t mean that a laser printer doesn’t have its merits. In fact, the trick to high-quality prints is the photo paper. There are many types of paper out there, but only a select few are good for laser printing.
This article discusses the characteristics of laser photo paper and explains your paper choices to help you make an informed decision. After all, the goal is to get beautiful prints that are colorful and fade-resistant.
What is laser photo paper?
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This type of photo paper is specially created for use with laser printers, not inkjet devices. It is also called digital paper, and it comes in a variety of finishes. Laser paper has a special coating that withstands the high temperatures associated with the laser printing process. The coating is specially formulated to bond the toner particles to the paper.
Laser Printer Limitations
Before you start printing with a laser printer, you should know that laser printers do have some limitations, hence why they’re considered inferior for photo printing.
These printers only use four colors, so you may think your photos will look less colorful once printed. As well, these printers are not known for reproducing tonal nuances. After all, they’re used for mass printing all kinds of documents. Basically, they are productivity devices, and people use them to print things on the go quickly.
However, you’ll be surprised at how well laser printers can print your photos when used with the right photo paper.
It all comes down to using the right type of paper and printer settings. If you match your paper type with the correct printer settings, the laser printer can create stunning prints. Honestly, chances are people won’t be able to tell if you used an inkjet or laser to bring your photos to life.
A more extensive selection of papers is accessible for laser printing than for inkjet printers. This is surprising because most people prefer to use their inkjet printers. But, since there are more laser photo paper options, you’ll be sure to find a great paper for your project.
Additionally, laser photo papers are less expensive than inkjet papers. They also come in bigger packs. Therefore, laser photo paper is considered a great budget-friendly choice, and it’s great for bulk printing.
However, a disadvantage is that laser paper comes in a limited size selection, which means fewer sizes are available.
Can you use an inkjet photo paper with a laser printer?
No, you cannot use inkjet photo paper when you print with a laser printer. The reason for this is that the inkjet paper has a special coating formulated for spray-on ink. This is because inkjet printers ONLY use spray-on ink.
Laser printers, on the other hand, use dry powder ink. Therefore, laser photo paper is coated with a special layer that attracts the powder formula. The laser printer uses high-heat to fuse the toners to the photo paper. The inkjet paper is not heat resistant, and it becomes damaged when placed in a laser printer.
Characteristics of Laser Photo Paper
Laser paper is generally thinner than its inkjet counterpart. The paper weight you use depends on what your printer can handle. This weight is calculated in GSM, and we recommend that you use paper that’s between 120 – 150 gsm for mass printing.
When you want to print photo books, we recommend a thin 120 or 130 gsm paper. If you want a higher quality print, use a thicker paper like the 200 gsm. But, not all printers can print this thick kind of paper.
For the best quality prints, you need to choose high-quality photo paper. This is available in three common finishes: matte, semi-gloss, and glossy. Your laser printer can print on all three, but some finishes look better than others. Many people prefer a glossy finish because it makes the images more vibrant. But, if you want to print darker photos, a matte finish is better suited for a somber aesthetic.
Make sure to select ‘coated paper’ when you print. Always avoid plain office paper when printing photographs.
A common problem with laser photo paper is that it is susceptible to moisture damage. Luckily, brands like HP create special products that are moisture-resistant. Therefore, your photos don’t get flimsy and last longer. A photo paper like the HP Sprocket is specially created to be moisture and water-resistant. It’s best to store the paper in a moisture-free room with a temperature between 66-77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some paper dries faster than others. Usually, fast-drying photo paper has a porous image coating, which makes the image dry instantly. Therefore, you’re less likely to smudge or damage your freshly printed photo. So, with most premium laser paper, you can touch the photo as soon as it comes out of the printer, and you can work faster.
Of course, photo size matters, and depending on your project, you need different sized prints. It’s important to note that not all paper sizes work with all laser printers, so you might actually be quite limited to a couple of sizes. If you have a small desktop printer, your best option is a 4 x 6″ or 5 x 7″ photo paper. This is quite a small size, so if you need to get large prints for an exhibition, you need to go to a specialty printing shop.
Here is a gallery wall of printed photos:
There’s something very satisfying about printing your photos at home or your own small studio. With the best laser photo papers, you can decide how your printed photographs will look.
You can choose the finish, the size, and the thickness that best suits your project. Be sure to use a specially coated paper that’s specifically designed for your laser printer. You’ll have a beautiful photo collection in no time.