When it comes to printing photos, you have many photo paper options. Lustre and Glossy are two such options.
Glossy is a more popular photo paper when compared to Lustre. When you have these two choices, you need to know which one of these is best for your pictures.
Both these photo papers have got its advantages and disadvantages. I have printed my pictures on almost all types of photo papers.
In this guide, I will share the difference between glossy and lustre photo paper based on various factors, along with the various pros and cons. It will help you make the right decision.
1. Cost Factor
Cost becomes a major factor when you have lots of pictures for printing.
If you go for a glossy print in a 4×6 photo size, it will cost you around $0.12. If you go for a lustre print in a 4×6 photo size, it will cost you around $0.32.
Thus, the cost of a lustre print is around 2 times the price of a glossy photo print in the same size.
One main reason for the lower price of glossy photo print is because of its popularity.
So, glossy photo print is a clear winner when it comes to the cost factor.
2. Photo Print Quality
Photo print quality mainly depends on the quality of the photo paper and the printer used for printing.
You can get both lustre and glossy photo prints of very-high quality if you pick the best of the above-listed two factors.
3. Reflection of Light
The light reflection is more for a glossy photo print when compared with a lustre one.
So, you cannot hang a glossy print in places where there is more sunlight or artificial light.
The reflection of light from the print will distract the viewer’s eye from the photo.
4. Prone to Fingerprints
Glossy photo prints are famous for fingerprints and stains. Lustre prints are less prone to fingerprints.
If the photo print is going to be handled very often, the lustre will be a better choice over the glossy.
It is one of the reasons why lustre photo print is preferred for postcards, small-size portrait prints, and wedding photos.
5. Color & Vibrancy
Glossy prints will have more saturation and vibrancy of colors than lustre prints.
If you are using colors for your photo composition, you can consider printing the final image in a glossy medium.
It will help to make the image more appealing and aesthetic for the viewer.
6. Glossy VS Lustre- Texture
When it comes to texture, the lustre print lies in between the gloss and matte prints.
So, if you are interested in bringing up the details of the image with texture, you can go for lustre instead of glossy.
If you still want more texture, then matte photo prints are the best option.
7. Lustre Vs Glossy – Image Contrast
The blacks will be deeper and the highlights in the picture will be brighter in glossy when compared to lustre prints.
Thus, there will be more contrast in the picture if you go for a glossy print.
If you are looking for a photo print with less contrast, the lustre will be a better option.
Here, it is up to your preference.
8. Lustre Vs Glossy – Sharpness
When it comes to sharpness, glossy print is a clear winner over lustre print.
You can get a greater amount of sharpness in detail in a glossy print.
A slight reduction in sharpness will be there in the lustre print. It is due to the grainy texture of the lustre photo paper.
9. Lustre Vs Glossy –Photo Size Options
You can get all regular photo sizes in the luster photo prints too.
Thus, if you can print your photo on glossy photo paper of a particular size, you can get the same size in luster photo paper too.
10. For Picture Framing (With Glass)
If you are interested in framing the print in a picture frame that has glass, the lustre will be a better option if you plan to hang the picture frame near a window or artificial light source.
When you go with a glossy framed photo with glass in front and hang it near a window, there will be a reflection from the glass and the print. So, you won’t be able to enjoy the beauty of the print.
If the place where you hang the framed picture is not near a window and there is no influence of sunlight falling on it, you can go for glossy as well as lustre.
11. For Picture Framing (Without Glass)
In many cases, there will be no glass in the picture frame. The print will be directly exposed to air.
If the photo is hung at a place where sunlight falls, the lustre will be a good option. The glossy picture will reflect lots of light.
When you use a glossy print for a picture frame without glass and if the photo is displayed in a place where one can easily touch it with a hand, there will be lots of fingerprints on the picture.
If it is hung at a place that has no direct sunlight falling on it and is not easily accessible by everyone, you can go for glossy prints.
12. For Large photo prints
You will be going for large photo prints when you want to hang the picture on the wall.
If you go for glossy, there will be unwanted reflections from it. So, it will not look good.
A lustre will be a better option when it comes to large prints. It will look aesthetically pleasing on the wall when it is large.
13. For Black and White Photo Prints
I tried printing one of my black and white images in lustre and glossy photo paper.
I really liked the smooth tone of shades of black and white on lustre paper more than the glossy one.
The lustre print has a better feel when it comes to black and white pictures. It looks more natural.
14. For Portrait Prints
When it comes to portraits, you have people as your subject. Here, you want to get the best skin tone on your print.
Lustre photos are known for their accurate skin tones.
Skin tones will look better in a lustre photo print than in a glossy one.
So, go for lustre paper when you print people portraits.
15. For Landscape Prints
When it comes to landscape photo prints, you will be interested to get a natural feel of the image with excellent details.
From my experience, a landscape photo in lustre photo paper will give a better feel than one in a glossy medium.
Most landscape photographers use lustre or matte photo paper for printing their landscape images.
16. For Wildlife Prints
When it comes to wildlife images, you want to get the natural feel from the pictures when you see a physical photo print.
The extra gloss on the paper can make it feel unnatural for a wildlife image.
I have tried printing my wildlife images on different types of photo paper.
I found that the lustre paper does a good job of giving a good feel to a wildlife image, apart from the canvas.
So, I recommend lustre over glossy prints for wildlife.
17. For Fine Art Prints
When it comes to fine art prints, lustre paper will be a better choice.
Fine-art photos will be framed and displayed on walls without any protective glass in front.
Thus, there is a chance that people touch the photo quite often. If it is a glossy one, it will leave more fingerprints on the image.
So, better go for a lustre print for fine-art images.
Final Thoughts- Which is Better?
Now you know the various advantages and disadvantages of lustre and glossy photo prints.
In my opinion, if you are going to hang the framed photo on the wall, the lustre will be a better option.
If you are interested to take small-size prints and keep them in a photo album, glossy prints will be a better choice.
READ MORE: Matte Vs Glossy- Which is Better?