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

Originally Published May 28, 2024Updated Jun 03, 2024

One of the questions that you may ask yourself when embarking on your photo printing journey is “What is the difference between matte and glossy prints?”. 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?

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!

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

It’s up to you …

Ultimately, the big decision is a personal preference when it comes to printing matte vs glossy photos but we’ve found some great resources and helpful tips to give you a bit more guidance if you’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 💎

The Pros

Glossy photos have got a ✨shine✨ 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

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 📜

The Pros

Elegant and 🥂classy🥂, 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.

The Cons

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. It’s important to keep in mind if your photo is already heavy in shadows or on the darker side.


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!


Leah from Picta

Written by Leah from Picta

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Leah is a self-proclaimed iced coffee enthusiast, "word artist", and brunch connoisseur. 
By day, she makes a living by creating all this content you know and hopefully love for Picta on the blog, in your inbox, or on social media. 
By night, she enjoys cooking up something new in the kitchen, hopping on her road bike, and painting watercolors with a glass of rosé (or two or three)!

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