Difference between Glossy and Matte Photos
By Theydiffer - August 2, 2016

Photos are used for countless purposes. Some people use them for their businesses while others keep them in photo albums or display them in frames around their homes. They can be printed in various sizes and on different textures of photo paper. The two most common kinds of photo paper are glossy and matte, and there are pros and cons to each.


Getty Images/Moment/Thanasis Zovoilis

Glossy photo paper is the most frequently used. It has degrees of glossiness ranging from normal to high. The shiny coating on this type of photo paper makes the colors on the photograph appear more vibrant and allows the smallest details on it to be seen clearly. However, in a brightly lit room or environment, the glossiness causes a glare, making it a bit difficult to view the print from certain angles. In addition, glossy photo paper tends to accumulate dust and is prone to fingerprint marks when held, especially for black and white prints. Therefore, photos printed on this type of photo paper may look dirty.

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Matte photo paper is the opposite of glossy in that it lacks that polished quality. Photos printed on this type of photo paper will not have the same vibrant and elegant look as glossy photos. However, with its texture, it’s good at not collecting fingerprints and dust and is the better option for black and white photos. This type of photo paper is cheaper and is consequently usually used for brochure and flyer printing.

Glossy Photo vs Matte Photo

The difference between a glossy photo and a matte photo is fairly simple. A glossy photo has a shiny quality that allows the existing colors on it to come alive, making the different details appear well defined. Additionally, it has a more impressive look than a matte photo. However, the same quality that makes it elegant is the same quality that brings about its flaw; that is, collecting fingerprints and dust which result in a dirty appearance if not handled carefully or kept properly. Meanwhile, a matte photo, despite having a less striking appearance because of the absence of shininess, does not have the said flaw. Consequently, it looks tidier and is the preferred texture for black and white prints. Furthermore, it is more affordable than the aforementioned counterpart.

Comparison Chart

Glossy PhotoMatte Photo
Has a shiny finishDoes not have a shiny finish
Colors and details are more vividColors and details are less vivid
Collects fingerprints and dustDoes not collect fingerprints and dust