A Tutorial on Choosing Photo Paper

The following post was contributed by the good people at Snap Paper.

If you are aspiring to learn photography and become a professional photographer, printing using the correct papers is an essential part of the process. Although the vast majority of your images will remain stored in their digital form, some will undoubtedly find their way to the printer and then the quality of your work will not longer be judged solely on your photographic skills, but on the printed work as well.  In the inkjet printing world, the paper type and quality plays a central role in the final quality of the print. In this tutorial we will cover all aspects of sourcing photo paper for your particular circumstances.     

Choosing Photo Paper

Snap paperBond Paper Vs. Photo Paper – Perhaps the biggest mistake amateur photographers make is attempting to print a high-resolution image on normal printer paper. It is true that both normal printer paper and photo paper originate in the same manner, however one is uncoated and suitable for simple text printing while another contains a receiving layer designed to accommodate large amounts of ink. Printing on a non-coated paper will produce lower resolution, washed out results and the paper will start displaying waves caused by ink over saturation.

Photo Paper Size – Printing in a professional capacity is very much about cost effective printing. You want to balance quality with your printing expenditure. One area where waste may raise its ugly head is choosing an incorrect size and then having to reprint your work. Naturally, the same photo paper model will cost less in its smaller 6×4” than its much larger A3 alternative. As a photographer you should be made aware of the various options.

6×4” and 7×5” – These are two photo-album size measurements designed to fit into a normal photo album for image keepsake.

A5 and A4 – These are larger than the photo-album sizes and used to fit into various frames to be mounted on the wall, kept on a desk and so on. A common mistake is buying A5 or A4 sheets to insert into photo albums. While cutting these to size is possible, it is both time consuming and a waste of money.

A3 and A3+ – These are mostly used on a professional basis and require an A3 printer. A3+ or oversized A3 is slightly bigger and can vary in sizes so double-check the precise measurements prior to buying.

Photo Paper Finish – The finish is a transparent layer that adds a level of glare to the image. Most common on a scale of highest to lowest levels of glossiness are glossy, satin and matt. While it is possible to revert the finish of choice by using a fixative spray in a different finish to override the initial finish, you are better off choosing the most suitable finish to start with. For personal use, the finish of choice is often down to personal taste however in a commercial manner such as when displaying an image in a gallery viewing angles should be taken into account.

Glossy – Glossy is the finish with the highest level of sheen and in a commercial manner makes viewing from the sides tricky at times.

Satin – Satin can include various levels of sheen, though less than glossy finish. It makes it easier to view images behind glass.

Matt Finish – Matt does have any glare. It is very rarely used in a professional commercial manner to display work.

Photo Paper Weight – Photo Papers vary in weight from as little as 120gsm to 300gsm and more. Weight, which is measured in GSM (grams per square meter or g/m²) relates in most cases to the thickness of the paper (known as caliper), as it is a measurement of material density. While the type of base paper and receiving layer will play a role in the quality of the paper, weight is an important indication of quality. Generally speaking, the higher the weight is, the higher its quality is. It is important to select the most suitable weight to the type of print. For example, lower weights such as 120gms are often used to print brochures and posters, while higher weights such as 250gsm and over are used to print photos.

Snap paper 2

Photo Paper Printing Mistakes

Mistakes in printing photos are annoying and can be costly. Common mistakes to avoid vary from buying the wrong paper to printing on the non-coated side.

Paper Technology – Printers are available with Inkjet or Laser technology. It is essential to match your printer with a suitable compatible paper.

Wrong Orientation – Failure to proof landscape or portrait prior to printing leads to waste and should be proofed beforehand.

Printing On the Non Coated Side – Unless stated otherwise, photo paper has only one coated side (with the exclusion of double sided photo papers). Printing on the non-coated side leads to poor results and waste. 

Neglecting Printer Settings – Most printers are set by default to print text and to get the best out of the photo paper you will have to adjust the printer settings. Often manufactures are able to supply a profile computer file which when opened will set your printer automatically for best results.

This post was written by the people at Inkjet Photo Paper suppliers Snap Paper. Snap Paper™ is a leading manufacturer of Inkjet papers with operations in mainland Europe and other parts. Its range of Inkjet media is used by commercial and domestic clients in order to achieve high quality image reproduction using any type of Inkjet printer.

Take 52 Challenge – Critique Week 4

This week’s theme was Glass – not a very easy subject to capture and it resulted in lots of various types of the substance.  I choose the following image from Holly Feerrar as she obviously took some time in the set up and the thought process – LOVE IT!

Holly Feerrar

Image Stats:

Aperture: f/2.8

ISO: 800

If you would like to hear what I have to say about Holly’s take on the theme Glass, please click on the video below.

If you would like to join the Take 52 Challenge, its always a good time to jump in! Click here to find out all the deets!

Happy Snapping

Ingrid Owens CameraShy


Week 3 – Entrance

This week we are looking at this beautiful image by Stacy Phillips.

Black and White image of trees looming talll

Entrance by Stacy Phillips

I love the way Stacy has chosen to process this shot as a Black and White image.  It makes the foggy atmosphere all the more intriguing and those trees to appear all the more frightening!  If you’d like to hear what else I had to say about Stacy’s image, please click on the video below.

Aperture: f/6.3,

Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec

ISO: 320

The Take 52 Weekly Photo Challenge is a really great way to improve your photography by getting out there and shooting! We have a great group of keen amateur photographers over on facebook who are always ready to jump in with advice on their comments on your work.  We’d love to have you join us!

Happy snapping

Ingrid Owens CameraShy


Take 52 Critique – Week 2

This week’s theme was “Local” and it was really fascinating seeing glimpses into where everyone lives.  Amid a vast array of landscapes and street scenes there were a few portraits and this one by Michael Knight stuck out to me as something we could all learn from.

Michael Knight - Local

Michael Knight – Local


Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/160

ISO 125

If you would like to here what I have to say about Michael’s image please click on the short video below.

We’d love to have you join us in the Take52 Weekly Photography Challenge, so if you think it’s something you’d like to try you can find out all the details and sign up here.

Happy Snapping

Ingrid Owens CameraShy

How to set manual mode in your DSLR Camera

How to set manual mode in your DSLR

This post was inspired by a question in my Take 52 group on Facebook.  If you are not in that group then you are missing out on all kinds of good information and a cool bunch of photographers friends too 🙂  – So join us! 

“How do you set Manual Mode in your DSLR”

Shooting in manual mode is often considered the holy grail to many beginner photographers but its important to remember that there are many levels of manual shooting and it really is not the be all and end all. If you are comfortable making a few mistakes here and there though, its a great way to start taking control of your camera and learning to use it to the max.

What do I mean by Manual  Mode?

Manual Mode should really be more clearly defined as Manual Exposure Mode.  This means that you, the photographer are taking full control of the exposure of the shot.  You will decide on the the Shutter Speed, the  Aperture and the ISO value you need to shoot at. It is these three variables that go to make up the correct exposure.  If you change one of these variables it will impact one or both of the others.

Its important to remember therefore, that there is no one correct combination of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO for any one scene – there are several combinations that will work.  Which one you choose is at your (the photographer’s) discretion depending on the look and feel of the image that you are trying to create.

So for example, if you are a portrait photographer, and Depth of Field is really important to you, then that is the variable that is top of mind for you and you will have a certain f/stop in mind that you will want to stay within to achieve your particular look.

If you are a Sports photographer, Shutter Speed is usually the most important thing to, so you will strive to shoot at as fast a shutter speed that the conditions will allow.

Its the combination of these variables and which one do you change that trips people up in my experience.

Just remember which the the one that is most important to you, hold it where you need it to be and fiddle with the other two until you get a correct exposure.

How do I know when I’ve got a correct exposure?

In through the viewfinder of your camera you have a little meter that reads   -3..-2..-1..0..+1..+2..+3   The goal is to have the indicator right on the 0, unless you are trying to deliberately over or underexpose your shot (then you’d shot towards the + or – side of the meter.)

exposure compensation

In  Canon cameras such as the Rebel T5i, there is a command wheel at top of the camera. Turing this dial changes the Shutter Speed value. If you have a mid-range DSLR like the new Canon 7D ii (lucky you!)  you may also have a second dial either on the back of the camera body or at the top right hand corner (Nikon.) Turning this dial will change the Aperture.  If you do not have this second dial then consult your user manual as you will need to press and hold another button while turning the main command dial.  This gets a bit tricky and takes a bit of practice!

What about Manual Focus?

You can shoot in Manual exposure mode and have a whole host of other things taken care of Automatically in your camera, including Focus.  The Auto-Focus on modern DSLR cameras is really excellent and there are only a few times when it doesn’t work well.  (If you are shooting in low light for example or trying to photograph through glass)

So I prefer to always shoot in Auto-Focus as I trust my camera more than my eyes!

Semi-Manual Modes

So we’ve established that in Full Manual you are in control of all three exposure variables – Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO.  The other modes in the creative zone let you control some of the settings whilst the camera controls the others.

Mode Dial

In Av, A or Aperture Priority Mode YOU control the Aperture and the camera sets the Shutter Speed to compensate.  You also can control the ISO or leave it to Auto in this mode.

In Tv, S or Shutter Priority Mode, YOU control the shutter speed and the camera sets the corresponding Aperture. You can also set the ISO in this mode.

In Program Auto you can only control the combination of the the  values, you cannot change each one independently, but you can still control the ISO.

So you see there are many steps from that little Green Box of Full Auto to Full Manual. Don’t frustrate yourself by jumping in the deep end too soon and just keep shooting and paying attention to the numbers and you’ll get there eventually.

Happy snapping

Ingrid Owens CameraShy

First Critique of 2015

A brand new year brings a brand new Take 52 Weekly Photography Challenge and I’m proud to say that this year its bigger and more lively than ever!  We had a record number of submissions and I am promising to try my best at being consistent with one video critique per week.

This week’s image was submitted by Chris Reynolds for Week 1 Theme “Beginning”

Photo Critique of Weekly Photo Challenge theme beginning

“Where Pecan Pies Begin” by Chris Reynolds


Image Stats:

Camera:Nikon D300


Shutter Speed:?


Listen to what I had to say about Chris’ image, by clicking on the video below.

If you would like to improve your photography with weekly practice we’d love to have you join our friendly group on Facebook so click here to find out how it all works and sign up to get access to the group!

Happy Snapping

Ingrid Owens CameraShy

5 Things you can do to improve your photography


January 6th at home in Ireland is called Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas. It’s traditionally the last day of the festive season and one day for the women to finally put their feet up and take a rest. Ha! Not likely in this house! Here in the US the Christmas season only lasts one or two days and this year we even took our tree down on the day after Christmas day itself as we were headed out of town.  Needless to say today, the holidays are truly over, despite me still finding pine needles everywhere (I guess Spring Cleaning has yet to begin in this house!) Our minds have instead turned to the New Year, new resolutions and new commitments to master new things.  Now’s the time to finally figure out how to use that camera and polish up your photography skills!

Improve your Photography in 2015

If improving your photography is something on your list for 2015 I’ve outlined my top 5 tips below on how to help you achieve this goal.

1. Take your camera out of the box! Seriously! Take your camera out and have it accessible in your daily life so that when the notion takes you, you can grab it and shoot. Charge the battery, stick on a lens and leave it somewhere convenient in your home. Better yet, get one of these cool camera purses and you’ll have no excuse not to take it everywhere you go and look cute to boot!

2. Schedule playtime for yourself.  Try to calendar in some dedicated time each week to allow you to play with your camera and it’s settings.  Press the buttons and see what happens – I promise you can’t break anything and if in doubt you can always turn it off and turn it on again 😉

3. Read the Manual.   I know you have one – it’s probably still sealed in the little plastic baggie in the bottom of the box.  Throwaway the French/Spanish version and read a little of the Double Dutch version that came with your camera.  If that doesn’t work, consider buying one of the appropriate Dummies for … Books which help to break your camera functions down into easy to understand language.  The less intimidated you are by the thing, the more likely you are to become it’s friend. I promise you there is no self-destruct button on there so you really can’t do any damage (at least not on the new models…) If you are local to Atlanta and want to meet up to go over your camera functions get in touch and we can meet for my crash course session which will have you confident with your gear in no time.

4. Get out of Auto.  Move away from that little green box or smiley face and play with all those other modes on that mode dial.  Mr Canon wouldn’t have put that dial right up there on top if he didn’t want you to turn it, now would he?  It’s only by taking control of the settings that you are ever going to improve.  Spend some time learning what some of those numbers mean and what happens when you change this or that.  There is oodles of info on all this stuff out there but if you would like to cut to the chase, check out my course for absolute beginners and my course for those who feel a little more confident and are truly ready to get of of auto.

5. Shoot Shoot Shoot.  Did I mention I think you should shoot? It’s really the only way to get better.  One of the ways you can commit to doing this is by taking part in a daily or a weekly photo challenge.  Project 365 has been around for a while and it involves taking a picture every day of your life to document the everyday.  I tried this for about 20 days and decided instead that a photo a week might be more doable for me.  Hence the Take 52 Challenge was born! I now head up a group of more than 1,000 like-minded beginner photographers who hang out in a private group on Facebook.  Every Monday morning I issue a one worded prompt to inspire participants to get out and shoot around that particular theme.  It’s amazing what a little assignment can do and this weekly, constant practice is truly one of the best ways of improving your craft.  The Take 52 group has the added bonus of a supportive community to answer questions, give help and advice and critique your work.  The improvements made by past participants is incredible and I’d love to have you join us. Click Here to Join the Take 52 Challenge for 2015

Hope to see you in the Group!

Happy Snapping!

Ingrid Owens CameraShy


Take 52 weekly photo challenge critique week 36

It’s week 36 on the Take 52 Challenge and this week’s theme was “Crushed.” I choose this image by Cindy Csomo for critique as I was enthralled by her use of bright colors and when she shared on the Facebook group of the lengths she went to to reshoot the image I was super impressed!


Image Stats:

ISO 100
1/50 Sec
f 7.1
No flash, Outside light
Nikon D3200, Kit Lens 18mm – 55mm
Edited in Lightroom 5.6

If you would like to hear my critique of Cindy’s image please click on the video below.

If you are trying to improve your photography then joining our weekly photography challenge is a great way to do just that! You can take a look at this page to see how it all works.

Happy snapping


Multiple Exposure Images – Critique of Week 35

We have reached week 35 on our Take 52 Challenge and our theme is Unexpected. This week I’m critiquing the beautiful image below from Harsha Priolkar.


To hear what I have to say about this image and how Harsha achieved this multiple exposure image click on the video below.

There is still time to join our Take 52 Challenge group and you can begin where you are at!  Click here for all the information.

Happy snapping!


Trick Photography – How to do Multiplicity

We are onto Week 34 with our #Take52 Challenge critiques and this week’s theme was “Tricky.” I absolutely LOVED how Julianne Anderson interpreted the theme to capture a regular everyday moment (at least this is in our house!) In this case, one picture tells the story of at least 20mins (or the duration of Doc McStuffins)

See how Julianne Anderson uses the photography technique Multiplicity for this week's theme of Tricky

Image Stats:

Shutter Speed: 1/30

Aperture: f/9

ISO: 400

Edited in Photoshop

To hear my critique of Julianne’s image click on the video below.

Julianne shared with the group that she achieved this image by following a tutorial on YouTube by Photo Extremist.  This guy does LOTS of cool things with photography and even has a brilliant ebook on the subject which you can check out here.  I think it would be a great read for anyone tempted by this type of photography or if you are just a little bored by the same old stuff. I know I’m going to try out some of the things recommended and I’d love to see your efforts too! Click here to learn more about the Ebook which includes 9 hours of video tutorials.

Trick Photography Artwork

If you would like to join the Take52 Challenge there is still time and we always love to see new faces 🙂  Find out more here.

‘Til next week

Happy snapping