There are a number of great questions and answers which discuss the topic of (inkjet) prints (I have cited three which I have recently re-read, but surely there are many others, no disrespect is meant).
I would like to analyze in greater depth a basic point (partially already tocuhed upon in those questions & answers) and that is: what is the best way, for some definition of best, to choose the kind of paper for a given print?
First of all, you need to choose which of your photo you want to print (and it is a rather humbling experience... let's say that this will hopefully teach me to shoot better pics!)
Then, you have to print it. I don't know about you, but I don't have all these different kinds of paper at home. So I have to guess if the kind of texture that I happen to have will be good for the photo that I want to print, otherwise I look for another one.
Then I print it and the results are good but maybe non optimal: is this because of the natural difference between monitor and printer, or maybe because I used wrong parameters, or I should have bumped the brightness slider (I am using LR 4)... in short, it may be for a series of motives.
So I am left with a doubt: should I print the same photo again on the same paper but with different settings (so that the first print is a sort of hard proof), should I change paper... should I stay or should I go :-) ?
After all this introduction, my question is:
- can you provide a sensible guide to choosing the best (providing your definition of best) paper support for a photo? Fine art matte, glossy, ...?
- can you provide a sensible guide to minimize the number of trials?
I would be glad if this could become a sort of definitive guide to choosing paper, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Prints.
Bonus points for:
- how to make best use of soft-proofing features (like the one available in LR 4) to predict the final rendition?
- how to make the best use of the final adjustment (non visualized, done before printing)?
Assume that issues like color management, ICC profiles, print resolution... are properly taken care of (for what is worth, assume that the monitor is calibrated, too).
ps: in any case, a printed photo is (for me) much better than an image on the monitor. It seems to me to be much more real and interesting. I am very happy of having begun this stuff :-)
pps: in my specific case the ink is pigment based, but ideally the answers should not be focused only on my specific case obviously, since other people will have different technologies.