Headshot Photography Photography Printing

What Type of Paper Should Headshots Be Printed On?

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Written By Nate Torres

In this guide, we’ll be discussing what paper headshots should be printed on.

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

What Type of Paper Should Headshots Be Printed On?

Headshots should be printed on high-quality photo paper with either a glossy or luster finish to provide the best results.

Glossy prints are often printed on heavier paper than matte, but both look great and will last for years if they’re properly stored.

A photographer will offer a couple of different options for print quality – a glossy finish is the most popular choice, but some photographers also offer luster prints for clients who want something with less shine.

Matte finishes aren’t as durable but they can cut costs down significantly and still provide a good photo.

Headshot photos should be printed on paper that is both high quality and durable.

These photos are often framed and kept on display for many years, so choosing a high-quality type of print will help to ensure that the photo remains in good condition while it’s being displayed, whether it’s just out on the wall or inside a more elaborate frame.

Many photographers offer two different types of prints on their website or at the studio where they take headshots – some use glossier, more expensive options that are printed on heavier, premium photo paper while others use more basic matte prints.

Both are fairly durable and will keep for years if stored properly, but the photo paper option is the more expensive type of print so many photographers offer it as an option to provide a more complete package.

The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for the right paper to print headshots on is that you want something that looks great but will last.

Since headshots are often displayed, no matter where they’re hung or how elaborate the frame is, you’ll want something that looks professional and polished but that also won’t fade over time.

Should Headshots Be Glossy or Luster?

Headshots should be printed on a luster or glossy paper.

Many photographers also offer two types of prints for headshots: glossy and luster.

The difference between the two is largely aesthetic – luster provides a softer, more subtle shine with less intense colors, while gloss gives the photo a deeper shine, brighter colors, and a hard glare from direct light.

luster vs glossy paper headshot prints
luster vs glossy

Can Headshots Be Printed on Matte Paper?

Headshots can be printed on matte paper.

Not all photographers offer the option to print headshots on matte paper, but some do.

This can make sense if you want something that is more affordable for clients who don’t need (or aren’t interested in) a high-quality print with a glossy finish.

A matte photo definitely has its own charm, but it’s not as durable as a glossy or luster print.

matte paper headshot prints
matte paper

What is the Most Popular Way to Print Headshots?

The most popular way to print headshots is on glossy or luster photo paper.

Most photographers that offer headshots print them on premium photo paper with a glossy finish, which is the most popular choice for professional prints.

For clients who are looking for something more affordable, many photographers also offer prints on matte photo paper – this option might be less sturdy but it can cut costs down significantly while still providing a good quality print.

How To Print Headshots

Printing headshots can be easy.

While most photographers who offer headshots also take care of the printing process, you can always print out a photo at a local lab or online if your photographer doesn’t offer printing services.

Where Can You Print Headshots?

1. Printing Headshots at a Photo Lab

You can have headshots printed at a photo lab.

Most photographers who take headshots offer their own printing services, but if they don’t you can find a local photo lab that prints photos on-site or order from a more national printer online.

Online printers provide the best pricing, but some people prefer to go in person so they have a chance to see the print before it’s made.

2. Having the Photographer Print the Headshot

If you have a professional headshot photo done, make sure a professional prints it.

The main draw of having a photographer take the photo is that they can also print them for you, but some photographers choose to outsource this part of the job or offer headshot printing as an add-on service.

Professional printers know how to get the best look from photos and how to make them last longer.

So if you are having your photographer print out the headshot, just make sure they have experience doing so.

Can You Print Headshots At Home?

Maybe you are the photographer and you are wondering how to print client headshots at home.

If you want to print headshot photos at home, you can choose either glossy or luster photo paper – both options are available in stores.

You’ll need to consider what type of printer you have at home before choosing your paper, as many inkjet printers do not work well with luster or matte finishes.

Also, if you want to print several copies at once (or give them out as keepsakes) you’ll need a digital printer instead of a standard inkjet printer.

To further explore how to print headshots at home, we also recommend this video by Angie Patterson:

ADVICE: Headshots - Part 5 - Printing & Retouching

Should Headshots be Printed with a Border?

Headshots should not have a border.

It used to be that headshot prints always had a one-inch border around the photo for framing, but now many photographers offer either no borders or smaller borders.

How Much Do Headshot Prints Cost?

Headshot print price ranges can vary based on location and quality.

You should research how much it costs in your area by contacting your local photo lab or headshot photographer.

As a general basis, headshot prints usually cost between 15 and 25 cents per square inch for premium photo paper with a gloss or luster finish.

Headshot printers also offer small print packages for different aspect ratios starting at around 5x7s, 8x10s, and 11x14s prints, and enlargements.

Should headshots be printed on matte or glossy?

Matte paper has a non-reflective surface that can create a softer, more muted look in photos. It can be a good choice for headshots that will be displayed in a frame or used for marketing materials, such as business cards or brochures. Glossy paper, on the other hand, has a reflective surface that can create a vibrant and high-contrast look in photos. It can be a good choice for headshots that will be displayed in a portfolio or used for promotional materials, such as posters or banners.

How do professional photographers print their headshots?

They use professional printing labs, home printers, or online printing services.

Final Remarks

We hope you enjoyed this guide on headshot prints.

This article is a part of our headshot photography hub, so make sure to check that out as well to learn more headshot photography tips and tricks.