How To Pick The Best Finish For Your Photos

A stack of old photos in a wooden crate against a green background

Ready to print photos but not sure which finish you should use? Don’t worry, our professional Boise photographers are here to help! We’ve compiled a short pros and cons list of the three most popular finishes to help you determine which photo finish is the right choice for you!


Glossy photo finishes are most well-known for their shiny finish. Opposite to matte photos, glossy finishes are optimal when you want to capture the bright colors in an image.


A glossy finish is perfect for when you are printing high-definition photos. Printing colorful photos on a glossy finish will capture and emphasize the vibrant pigments and crispness of the image. The premium quality that these images will print in is well-known in and out of the photography industry.


One of the biggest cons regarding glossy images is that the larger the image, the larger the light reflection can be, especially if you are planning to put the picture in a glass frame. Since glossy photos have a stickiness to them, the more likely they are to stick to the glass when you remove them and if you touch the photo, fingerprints will stick to it.


Contrary to glossy, photos with a matte finish have no shine on them which means no light reflection. These are perfect for framing, putting in scrapbooks, wallet-sized photos, or printing single photos to hand out to family and friends.


Matte photos have a very professional look. It is much more difficult to cause damage to the finish of a matte photo. They also don’t pick up fingerprints, which makes the finish last much longer than the glossy finish. If you are going to be handing them out or putting them somewhere they will be pressed against other pages, a matte finish is the way to go!


The cons of a matte photo mainly revolve around the fact that they do not print with the same color vibrancy. Additionally, matte photos can also hinder the sharpness of a photo due to the lower color quality.


A lustre finish is often referred to as the middle ground between matte and glossy finishes. This finish has an almost textured feel to it which carries qualities from both of the previous finish types. Lustre finish is a solid choice if you are printing wedding, school, and portrait photos.


Lustre allows for minimal light reflection after the photos are printed. You will have good color saturation and brightness while still getting that sharp image quality. This finish also means you will not see as many fingerprints as a glossy finish because of its “pebble” texture.


The main con of the lustre finish is that the colors in the photo can print slightly darker than they appear in the original image. This finish can also have a very slight light reflection so that is something to keep in mind before printing.

Photo finishes are not as difficult to navigate as one might think! If you are looking to have professional photographs taken or have any questions regarding which finish would be best for your images, contact b&b Photography today!

Leave a Reply