Choosing the right paper for your photographic print can be difficult. Printers normally offer two types of printing processes, namely C-Type and Giclée. With each technique comes a range of benefits more suited to a specific type of photograph. Let’s find out what they are.

C-Type and LAMBDA printing

C-Type is a traditional photographic printing technique that uses light exposure from lasers and LEDs to produce an image. C-Type papers are light-sensitive and use the same silver crystals as in darkroom reproduction, yet is produced from a digital file rather than from a negative.

Colour and tonality: C-Type printing offers a more subtle tone than Giclée, which provides for smoother gradients in shadows and skin tones. The papers used in C-Type printing have also been modified for digital exposure which results in more accurate colour rendition and sharper images.

Archival quality: C-type prints typically last up to 100 years and are good for archival purposes. Unlike Giclée, C-Type papers can be wiped clean although we do not recommend it.

Photographic print axhibition captured by antenna

With a more continuous tone, C-Type printing lends well to black-and-white photographs.

Photographic print capture by Alvan Nee

Gossy C-Type papers provide large amounts of contrast for deep, rich blacks.

Giclée printing

Giclée printing is a dry process whereby an inkjet printer sprays pigment-based inks onto archival paper in a series of dots known as half-tone patterns. Described as dots per inch (dpi), Giclée printing is able to produce more saturated prints that give a fine art feel to the print ideally suited to showcasing your work at galleries and museums. It is more accessible than C-Type and with the advancements of inkjet technologies, Giclée is able to produce gallery-quality prints that rival C-type no matter the photograph. With Giclée printing, it is also possible to make a master print to reproduce identical editions prints at a later time.

Colour and tonality: Our prints are created using Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 and PRO-4000 printers that are capable of producing an extremely wide tonal range and colour gamut. This is great for printing photographs that are vibrant and rich in colour. Since Giclée printing requires intricate colour management of images, we produce a test strip as part of the printing service to ensure a close colour match to the original artwork.

Paper options: Fine art photographic papers are available in cool to warm tones. A cool tone paper prints grey with a hint of blue, whereas a warm tone paper prints grey with a hint of brown. Art of Print uses professional photographic papers supplied by Ilford and Hahnemühle, ranging from the classic satin or gloss to a more modern metallic finish. The satin paper reduces glare and minimises reflections for true colour and tonality, whereas the gloss and metallic renders greater contrast with deep, rich blacks. Read more about our Giclée paper options here.

Paper sizes: We are able to produce the best professional Giclée prints in South Africa, and our prints can go up to 1500 x 3000 mm on selected papers such as Ilford Smooth Cotton Rag and Ilford Fibre Gloss.

Archival quality: All of our fine art prints are produced on archival-quality paper with a 100-year warranty against fading indoors.

Photographic print gallery captured by deanna j

Art of Print specialises in Giclée printing. For more information on our papers, please get in touch with us at [email protected] We are happy to discuss the best options for your needs.