I often get calls that ask me if I have a certain type or make of paper and most times I have to reply “sorry no I don’t”. Then I am asked why? Well there are a lot of different companies that make paper and some really good companies at that. The problem is that each paper has good qualities and bad and I have to weigh that before I bring the paper in.
As an example there is an amazing paper that is thick and has a great feel look to it, I get asked once a month about it. But there are a couple issues with it, first the cost per page is three or four times that of other papers. So a 8×10 on this paper is $25 at least. The second issue is more serious in that the paper flakes after printing. So if you handle the paper you will see flakes coming off the corners or even off the paper itself. Once framed it is fine but if you are not framing immediately, like the minute you pick it up, you run the risk of having the print damaged. When I tell people about this and the fact I have a paper that has a similar look and feel for a lot less and no flaking people don’t want the more expensive paper.
There is also one more issue that I deal with almost daily and that is availability. If you stop in you will see that I have stacks of paper, three or four of each paper type and size. I do this because there are always issues with getting product, from floods to hurricanes to labour issues and more. So if I want to be able to offer a product when my clients want it I need to stock a good supply. Some of the smaller suppliers are so hit and miss that I have had to give up trying to get the product. With one supplier it was three years and they still did not have the product available so I permanently switched.
So what line of papers do I use? Well I have a few, most of the paper that I use is Epson, (99% of my media in fact is Epson). The reason for Epson, even with it being a little more expensive then some of the discount brands, is that it is an amazing quality, it is archival and is usually available when I need it. The next line is Ilford (.75%) as they make some sizes that Espon does not and I find the Ilford quality as good as Epson. The issue with Ilford is the cost, even more than Epson so I have to be careful. I then have a couple other smaller suppliers (.25%) that I use when I need special sizes and surfaces and the reason I use these guys is that I know their paper is manufactured by Ilford or Epson, or they manufacture for them, so I am getting the same product. The price is a little better but the main reason that I use them is that I can get the product more reliably then the big companies as it is not mainstream paper or product, one such product is folding art cards, Epson has or had them but they did not always have them available and I buy cases of 500 at a time and with Epson they had them in packs of 5 or 10 if they even had them.
So the next time you are looking for a certain paper give me a call and I wold be happy to help you navigate the photo paper line-up!