Photo FinishPhotography

Photo Finishes: Matte, Lustre, Glossy or Metallic

By September 10, 2019 September 17th, 2019 No Comments
A black and White image of people staring at photos in a gallery

When you think of the professional photoshoot process, you are more than likely envisioning a photographer and a client taking the actual photos at selected location or in an on-site studio. While that is the major activity for the client in the process, there is much more involved going on behind-the-scenes after the fact. This is where the editing and printing process come in. The following elements are all a part of this:

  • Retouching
  • Color Correction
  • Color Grading

Think Ahead

While the digital editing process is especially important in addressing any imperfections in the image, the printing process is just as significant. All too often, photographs’ finish is ignored or forgotten by clients. That being said, it is a detail that deserves consideration so that the final product fits in seamlessly in your home, office, business, or showing.

What Are Your Options?

Certain packages may come with certain prints. Based on the expertise of your photographer as well as your own personal tastes, discuss what print finish will best for your photographs. If you are unsure of what is available, keep reading for some quick descriptions and general industry recommendations on the four major finish options.


Matte finish is a widely popular finish because of its smooth quality. It is a refined, non-glare option. This typically allows for it to have a more muted tone for pieces serving as accessory or wall art. It also does not show fingerprints if the photograph is ever handled. Matte finishes often do not require glass-paneled framing either.


Lustre finishes provide a semi-gloss appearance, giving photos the most authentic appearance possible. Details and colors look their best in this finish because of its precise resolution and saturation. This is also another strong option to avoid fingerprint smudges based on its texture.


Metallic finishes allow for striking and seemingly three-dimensional imaging. This finish is also semi-gloss but has a distinct texture enhanced by the finish’s deep saturation, strong contrast and pearly tones. The finish is also extremely durable and resistant to wear-and-tear.


Glossy finish is best for photos and images you want to be bright and bold. It is great for photos of faces or groups because of its clarity and definition, especially with skin tones. However, because of the smooth and “sticky” texture of the paper, it is best to keep these photos in frames without a glass panel.

Finishing Touches

Every professional photographer has their own preference but it is also important for your style to come alive within the photo as well. Be sure to ask your photographer what they typically use and what would look best based on the photos’ content as well as its placement in your home or office.

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