NEW BLOG SERIES: Good, Better & Best eSatin Photo Papers

When comparing photo papers, canvas and other media options, we know it’s not always easy to determine what the best option is for your production volume, output expectations and price point considerations.

That’s why we’re starting our “Good, Better, Best” series to look at some ideal products for your needs. We’re kicking off with one of our most popular categories: eSatin Photo Papers.

These papers are in high demand for professional photographers and reproduction studios who want classic photographic results without excessive gloss and glare. eSatin Photo Papers look great in a frame or on their own, whether you’re producing larger-than-life prints or handy 8x10s. Take a look at our Good, Better and Best options before you buy your next roll:

GOOD: LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper — This all-around high-performing photo paper is a lightweight option for everyday use in large-production volume printing.

Posters fine art inkjet printing
Posters printed on LexJet 8 mil Production Satin Photo Paper

It’s ideal for high-volume thanks to a microporous inkjet coating that dries fast, so you don’t have to wait to handle and finish your graphics. Plus, it’s resistant to smudges and fingerprints — an excellent choice for high-traffic environments. Starting at $0.34 per square foot, it has a subtle satin finish for a natural look, and many users choose to finish it with a film laminate for extra protection.

What users say: “It’s similar in look and feel to Sunset Photo eSatin, but it’s less expensive and thinner. In other words, it’s a good alternative for more economical photo products like posters or even test prints.”

BETTER:  LexJet Sunset Production eSatin 250g — Great results paired with an excellent price point make this photo paper our “Better” choice. Professional photographers turn to this resin-coated option when they need a slightly lighter-weight version that works for both portraits and commercial graphics. At $0.45 per square foot, this paper delivers a larger color gamut with pin-sharp detail.

What users say: “On our initial trials it held its own when we did our side-by-side comparisons with a similar photo paper, and we like the Sunset Production eSatin better. The paper is brighter and just as durable and so far has proven to be a winner.”

Portraits printed on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g

BEST: LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g — This professional-grade, heavy-weight paper sets the industry standard as the ideal product for photo printing for portrait work to museum exhibits that can last for years. Its consistency has made it the go-to option for years for single prints or framed photos in black-and-white or full-blown color. Some customers have had great success face-mounting it to plex-glass. Starting at $0.61 per square foot (and available in sheets) Sunset Photo eSatin provides excellent ink retention for realistic and accurate colors.

What users say: “The heavier weight and wide color gamut of eSatin is exactly what I’m after in a print; I just love how that print medium presents.”

Prints that Win: Firehole River

Firehole River by Jeff Dachowski

This Sunset Print Award-winning photo from the New Hampshire PPA print competition, entitled Firehole River, almost didn’t happen. The photographer, Jeff Dachowski – a former Sunset Print Award winner, decorated photographer and PPA judge – had pneumonia when he captured this scene in Yellowstone National Park at Firehole River.

To top it off, Dachowski says it was “super-cold,” which translates to about 15 below zero. Dachowski was leading a group of about 30 photographers on a photography outing sponsored by McKay Photography Academy.

Thanks to the geothermal features that feed into the river, cold weather brings with it a beautiful mist that frames the river and surrounding landscape. It also adds moisture to the air, which clings to the trees and freezes on the trees’ branches overnight.

“As the morning wears on, it all melts off, so that particular shot exists for maybe an hour every morning,” explains Dachowski. “I immediately saw all this gray, depth and atmosphere just hanging around Christmas Tree Rock. It gave so much separation and the light was so low in the sky it was awesome. I love this. I bracketed a couple of exposures, found one that worked well, and since it was a monochrome scene I presented it in black and white.”

Dachowski adds that the image is a composite of two scenes shot together for a 50-megapixel capture that was then stitched together in Photoshop. He captured the scene at f 9.5, ISO 640 and 1/3,000th of a second.

“I shot it hand-held, which is why my ISO was so high,” says Dachowski. “I always overlap my composites a third or so, and at least 15 percent. I use a visual on the horizon, like a particular tree or something on a mountain range. You don’t want to change your exposure and have your focused locked in one direction as you pan because it will impact how it works out.”

The image Dachowski captured is obviously a beautiful piece of photography, but in competition presentation plays a big role, which is why he chose Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g as the medium to present it.

Michael and Tina Timmons are printing on Sunset eSatin, and if they’re using it then it’s okay with me because they really know their stuff,” says Dachowski. It printed really nice, and I love the sheen. It’s not so glossy that it reflects too much and not so matte that my blacks go dead. I also like the feel of it when I pick up better than other papers I’ve worked with; some photo papers can be kind of sticky or too flimsy.”

To add depth to the presentation, Dachowski created a shadow-mount with three levels: a backing board, the print board to which the print is heat-mounted and a matt cut out with a window on a piece of foam board.

“There’s a three-dimensionality that happens with a print presentation that you can take advantage of. It won’t make your score soar if the image isn’t good, but it can only add value to a good image,” says Dachowski.