How best to use paper Test Packs By Tim Jones

How to use paper test packs

Here at Fotospeed we offer a large range of papers, with all this choice we understand at times it can be a little confusing and not to mention how costly trying a multitude of finishes can be. Test Packs are a great way to explore a vast range of papers enabling you to decide which ones suit your style of photography.  

We offer four different ranges of test packs across the following categories: 


Photo Range:  

This pack contains Fotospeed's traditional photographic papers.

Containing 2 sheets of each of the following papers; 

  • PF Gloss 270 
  • PF Lustre 275 
  • Photo Smooth Pearl 290 
  • Metallic Lustre 275 
  • Metallic Gloss 275 
  • Matt Ultra 240
  • Matt Proofing 170  
  • Matt Duo 240

Click here to buy now.

Click here to buy now.

Fine Art Glossy:  

The first Test Pack that we explore within our Fine Art range is Fine Art Glossy; each paper is at least 300gsm and is certified by the Fine Art Trade Guild and are fully archival if used with pigment inks. This pack contains 3 sheets of the following papers; 

  • Signature Platinum Baryta 300 
  • Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300 
  • Legacy Gloss 325 


Fine Art Matt Smooth: 

The second of our Fine Art Test Packs is the Fine Art Matt Smooth range of papers.  As with all our Fine Art papers each one is tested and certified by the Fine Art Trade Guild.  

The Fine Art Smooth Test Pack contains 3 sheets of the following papers: 

  • Signature Smooth Cotton 300 
  • High White Smooth 315 
  • Platinum Cotton 305 
  • Platinum Matt 280 
  • Signature Natural Soft Textured Bright White 315 
  • Natural Soft Textured 315 
  • Art Smooth Duo 210 
Click here to buy now.
Click here to buy now.

Fine Art Matt Textured:  

The last of the Test Packs that we explore within this blog is the Fine Art Matt Textured. This pack contains the textured papers we offer in our range, each with a different feel and look. All the papers are certified by the Fine Art Trade Guild and are fully archival when printed using pigment inks.  

The Fine Art Matt Test Pack contains 3 sheets of the following papers: 

  • Signature Platinum Etching 285 
  • Signature Cotton Etching 305 
  • Natural Textured 315 
  • Natural Textured Bright White 315 




How best to use test pack papers.

1. Feel the papers.

The tip we have is to firstly sit down with the papers away from your printer and computer and open the test packs and feel the papers. We are strong believers that if you like the feel of a paper in your hand then you are more likely to appreciate the final print. This will also help in narrowing down your selection of favourite papers. A tip though, make sure you have clean hands as you don’t want to leave any marks on the sheets of paper before you print on them. 


2. Make the paper go further. 

If you have bought the A4 test pack from us, you have the option of cutting the sheets in half to make two sheets of A5 allowing you to try different images on the same style of paper. Another option, which I recommend, is to lay up four images of the different styles you take on the A4 sheet and print this to give you an idea of how the paper will affect your images. Both of these methods will make the paper go a little further and help you to decide which paper you’d like to use.   


3. Try and choose 3 or 4 papers.

When you are looking at papers try and get your choice down to around three or four papers. As a rough guide I advise choosing one paper from each of our ranges. One each from the Photo Range, Fine Art Glossy, Fine Art Matt Smooth, and Fine Art Matt Textured. But this is a rough guide and please feel free to mix and match as some will prefer Matt paper and others the Fine Art Glossy type of paper.  


We hope this gives you a good starting point and helpful tips for using test packs. Remember there are no rules when it comes to paper choice as it is subjective so pick the paper that you think makes your image look the best. We are always on hand with help and advice. The best way to contact us regarding paper choice is to email us a picture and we will be able to suggest a paper for you.  

We look forward to seeing your printed images.

Want to learn more?

Head over to our Youtube channel for Tim's latest video all about test packs. Also don't forget to sign up to the Fotospeed newsletter to keep up to date with all the news from Fotospeed. Click here to sign up.