Black and White Printing: Choosing the Best Paper for Your Image

Black and White Printing: Choosing the Best Paper for Your Image

When it comes to printing in black and white, creating the most impressive print can often seem trickier than doing so in colour. Capturing your shot is the first step, choosing the right paper to showcase your photographs the next, and one that comes down to your personal preference. At Fotospeed, we offer three papers in particular that can help you make your black and white shots stand out when it comes to print – Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300, Platinum Baryta 300, and Legacy Gloss 325. All three of these are effective for black and white printing as they replicate old darkroom paper. Their unglazed gloss finish means they give a much richer look, creating a larger difference between shadow and highlight, and their softer feel allows black and white and monochrome images to come into their own. 

“We found the blacks to be deep and smooth, while the colours were rich and vibrant.”  - Practical Photography Magazine


With Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300, the finer details in black and white prints are brought out through the paper’s wide tonal range, deep blacks, and fibrous texture. Its high white base point, and open texture brings an extra dimension to the image, making it the perfect paper to create neutral, cool, and crisp black and white prints. Whereas many of our papers offer a high quality glossy finish, the characteristic texture of Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300 gives more of a subtle sheen that’s unique to this paper. Made from 100% alpha-cellulose pulp, the Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300 is a heavyweight exhibition-quality paper for both professional or amateur photographers who want to create long-lasting images, without losing detail when shooting in bright conditions.

“Platinum Baryta is a paper capable of bringing out the subtlest colours and highlights that can make all the difference to a print.” – Anne Sutcliffe

Baryta papers have a range of textures and effects – all have a sheen of some type, but while some are very bright, others may have a warmer tone. The Platinum Baryta 300 is often the paper of choice for black and white prints due to their rich blacks, a wide gamut, contrast and sharpness, and subtle tonal transitions. This paper also has a high DMAX of 2.7, meaning that you will achieve deeper blacks, more detail, and both dark shadows and bright highlight – a quality that makes this paper a very popular choice amongst black and white photographers. The smooth surface means there is no pitting, making the paper a popular choice for portraits and skin, and its fibre-based qualities also mean they have impressive archival qualities of hundreds of years, making them the perfect choice for photographers who are looking to sell or exhibit their prints.

"Legacy Gloss 325 is a stand-out paper from the Fotospeed range that oozes quality and is particularly well suited to my monochrome images; especially images with a little more contrast." – Antony Spencer

The newest of the Fotospeed range, Legacy Gloss 325 is a water-resistant, OBA-free archival paper, ensuring a print life of well over 85 years when used in conjunction with pigment inks. Its unglazed gloss surface and high DMAX make it an attractive choice to bring out finer contrasts in black and white images. Smoother than Platinum Gloss Art Fibre, and with slightly closer texturing, the paper has a somewhat warmer tone, offering a slightly sepia effect. Its open back gives the paper an arty, tactile feel, and its glossy finish and tonal rage makes it a great choice for those who don’t want to lose detail when shooting in bright conditions.

Bring out the best in your black and white prints with our range of papers, Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300, Platinum Baryta 300, and Legacy Gloss 325. See all the Baryta papers here.

If you would like to stay on top of all the latest information from Fotospeed don't forget to sign up to our Newsletter