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Matte vs Glossy Photos: Choosing the Perfect Print Finish for Your Pictures

by Leah from Picta

Reading time: 4 minutes

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Table of Contents

One of the questions that you may ask yourself when embarking on your photo printing journey is โ€œWhat is the difference between matte and glossy prints?โ€. Have no fear, Picta is here to offer some help and hopefully provide you with the answers you're looking for!

What are glossy vs matte prints anyways?

Close-up of glossy and matte photo prints side by side

๐ŸŒŸ Glossy or Matte? See the Difference Side by Side ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ

Let's talk about glossy photo prints, shall we?

Let's talk about glossy photo prints, shall we? They're the classic kind of print we think of when printing photos, with their shiny and luminous appearance. Picture this: a natural shine that reflects all that light, thanks to a special glossy layer on top of the photo to add an extra pizzaz to your prints!

Brightly lit glossy photo showcasing its reflective surface.jpg

โœจ Discover the Shine or Matte Magic ๐Ÿ“ธ

Now its matte time, a sleeker and more refined option, matte prints are the glossy prints without the shiny layer on them. Yup, itโ€™s simple as that! They are little more textured, which allows the light to scatter and not reflect on the print.

Textured matte print photo highlighting its non-reflective surface.jpg

๐ŸŒˆ Print in High Gloss for Vibrant Colors ๐ŸŒŸ

Itโ€™s up to you โ€ฆ

Ultimately, the big decision is a personal preference when it comes to printing matte vs glossy photos but weโ€™ve found some great resources and helpful tips to give you a bit more guidance if youโ€™re feeling stuck. Some things to focus on are the size of the print, the type of photo being printed, or the photo product you are printing and how you plan to use it!

Team Glossy ๐Ÿ’Ž

The Pros

Vibrant glossy photo print of a rainbow and scenic landscape.jpg

๐ŸŽจ Go Matte for a Sleek, Elegant Look ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ

Glossy photos have got a โœจshineโœจ that really makes your photos pop! A more classic choice, glossy photo prints are great for vibrant photos like wedding portraits or that snap of a rainbow on your last vacation, without the need for a frame. They can also make great additions to photo products like in a photo album to really make your photos stand out!

They can add clarity and brightness to photos to really make them stand out, so make sure you choose the best photos with great colors!

The Cons

Fingerprints and scratches visible on a glossy print surface.jpg

๐Ÿšซ Say No to Scratches โ€“ Choose Matte! ๐Ÿ”

Since glossy photos do sometimes tend to have reflections when exposed to light, printing glossy for photo prints you want to frame might not be the best choice as they tend to have reflections of windows or hallway lights for example in addition to the glass on the photo frame.

They are also a bit more fragile than matte prints as they tend to collect dust, scratches, and fingerprints a bit more easily.

Team Matte ๐Ÿ“œ

The Pros

Black and white matte photo print, emphasizing its elegance.jpg

๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿค Black & White Elegance in Matte Finish ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ–ค

Elegant and ๐Ÿฅ‚classy๐Ÿฅ‚, matte prints are the perfect choice for photos with more neutral colors like sepia or black and white prints! Matte photos are also a good choice for larger prints to avoid large glare spots on your fave photos. Since these photos are more resistant, they make the perfect addition to a scrapbook, or displayed on a wall (or in a frame) in a well-lit room.

Large matte print displayed on a wall, free of any glare.jpg

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Enlarge Your Memories with Matte Prints ๐ŸŒ†

The Cons

Darker matte photo print showcasing its muted color palette.jpg

๐ŸŒƒ Capture Night's Beauty in Matte ๐ŸŒŒ

Since matte prints do not add extra brightness to your photos, this may not be the right choice for darker photos taken at night or dusk or photos with duller colors. Itโ€™s important to keep in mind if your photo is already heavy in shadows or on the darker side.

Collage of glossy and matte photo prints with varying images.jpg

๐ŸŒŸ Mix it Up - Glossy & Matte Side by Side ๐ŸŒ“


Classic glossy prints are perfect for printing photos with vibrant colors that don't need framing, while modern matte prints make great additions to scrapbooks or are suitable for display in well-lit areas to avoid glare!

Mix of printed photos spread out below

๐ŸŽจ Choose Your Style - Glossy or Matte? ๐ŸŒˆ