The Truth About True Photographic Paper

“True, photographic paper is still far superior to the digital printing process which uses inks or other press printing processes…”

This statement, which appears on another company’s web site,  is completely incorrect. High-quality digital presses can produce longer lasting, sharper prints that are virtually indistinguishable from silver halide photographic papers.

Traditional silver halide prints use dyes, which are vulnerable to high humidity and fade more readily than the pigments used in high-quality digital presses. Color photographic prints from the 1970s and early 1980s have faded extensively, and while newer prints are more stable, they still suffer from the same problems. One way to think about the situation is to compare the dyes in watercolors, which are relatively sensitive to light, to the pigments in oil paintings, which will last for centuries.

Digital printing is environmentally friendly, avoiding the chemical processes that are inherent in traditional photography. Digital prints are also recyclable, unlike traditional photographic prints, which must eventually be disposed of in a landfill.

Digital printing presses use different colorants, and prints have a slightly different look and feel when compared to traditional photographic prints. My experience is that some customers prefer the look and feel of digital prints; others prefer traditional photographic prints.

At Creative Memories, Page Prints are produced on our high-quality, environmentally friendly digital press, and personally, I would not have it any other way.

About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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