Glossy and matte photos are the two most popular types of photo papers used for printing pictures. If you are looking to print your photos in these finishes, then you will be wondering which of these two is the best for your photographs.

 The glossy photo paper comes with an additional layer of gloss that helps to create shine on the paper. The matte photo paper offers a neutral look to the photo.

 We will see the major difference between glossy vs matte photos in this article. It will help you to decide the right photo paper for you.

Matte vs Glossy Photos 🌄

 We will look at the differences between the glossy and matte photos based on the following factors.

1. Use with Overhead Lighting 💡

framed photo print on wall with focus light

 If you plan to display your picture in a frame hanging on a wall and if you plan to place a focus light on the image, then the matte photo print will suit you more than the glossy one.

The overhead lighting will result in unwanted glare on the picture when viewed from certain angles for glossy photos. Thus, the hanged image with a glossy finish won’t look pleasant to the viewer from all angles.

2. Handling of Photos 

handling photo prints

If the photo that you print gets handled a lot, you will be left with lots of fingerprints in the images if it is a glossy one. Thus, it will spoil the whole beauty of the picture.

If you place the picture inside a covered frame or in a not-so-easily-accessible area, then there won’t be any fingerprints falling on the photos. Here, you can go for glossy photo paper without any fingerprint issues.

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3. Photo Vibrancy 🌆

If the picture has lots of vibrant colors, you will definitely want to bring the same vibrance in the photo print also. Glossy photo prints are known for their color vibrance.

You can make the image more vibrant with the help of a glossy print. However, you will not get the same level of vibrance with a matte finish print.

4. For Photo Print Sales 🚀

Framed Matte Photo Print

If you are a photographer who is planning to sell photo prints, I will recommend going for high-quality matte photo prints. It will ensure professional quality prints for your customers.

When you are in the business of selling photo prints, you can’t compromise on the quality.

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5. Cost Factor 💵


The cost of the print is another major factor that you must consider. It comes into the picture, especially when you deal with a large number of prints.

Almost all photo printing services, both offline and online, sell matte and glossy prints for the same cost.

So, you can choose either of them since there is no variation in the price. If you go for high-end matte paper, it will be costlier than glossy photo paper.

6. Life of the Print 🖨

pocket photo printer

When you print photos, you definitely want them to last longer. However, when it comes to glossy vs matte, the life of the photo print is almost the same.

The photo print life is actually defined by the quality of the photo paper. You can get both matte as well as glossy photo paper of different qualities.

If you want the print to last really long, you can go for high-quality photo paper.

7. Scratch Resistance

matte vs glossy photos

 The shiny nature of the glossy photo print makes it prone to scratches. The matte finish helps to make the print more resistant to scratches.

When it comes to the scratch resistance factor, it is a big win for the matte prints.

8. Black and White Pictures

black and white photo print on matte paper

If you are printing a black and white picture, I recommend going for the matte finish. These monochrome images will get a better look and feel in a matte format than in a glossy format.

In addition, the matte texture helps to bring more depth to a black and white image. 

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9. For Posters 🌄 

 If you want to print a big poster with your photos, it is better to go for glossy. The shiny appearance of the glossy print will help to attract more people.

In addition, it helps to improve the vibrance of the poster, thereby making it visually more appealing.

10. For Photo Exhibitions 😎

matte vs glossy prints for photo exhibition

If you want to showcase your photos in an exhibition, matte prints will be better than glossy ones. It is because the matte finish will give a more professional touch to the pictures.

It also helps to avoid the unwanted glare on the photos that occurs in the case of glossy photographs.

11. For Framing Photos with Glass 🌉

Framed photos 

Many of you would be printing photos to frame and hang on the wall. In most of these frames, there will be glass in front of the frame to protect the print from dirt and dust.

When you use a glossy photo print inside a glass frame, then the glare will be more. It is because there will be glare due to the glossy finish at some angles as well as due to the presence of glass in front. Hence the effect will be double.

Thus, matte photo prints are better than their glossy counterparts if there is glass in front of the frame.


Now, you can easily decide on whether the glossy or matte photo is right for you.

However, if you still have some doubts in mind, I strongly recommend you take a small size print of the picture in both matte and glossy photo paper and see the results.

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