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Glossy vs. Matte Photography: Which is Best for My Photo Shoot?

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

The decision to go for a glossy look or a matte look is not one to be taken lightly. The choice you make will greatly change the appearance of your photos. The question is, which one do you choose? And how do you produce the desired effect?

This article will look at both options so you can decide which is best.

Glossy Photos vs. Matte Photos

Producing a glossy or matte look for a print will depend on the type of paper you use. Glossy paper has more of the final coating which gives it an extra layer of shine. This helps to boost colors.

Glossy finishes will enhance photos that are not perfectly sharp and clear improving the look of the image. It is ideal for landscapes and still lifes.

A glossy finish can look terrific, but it comes with its share of downsides. For instance, it shows glare so it is difficult to view in all types of light. It also shows up fingerprints easily.

Matte photos don’t have that glossy sheen. While colors won’t appear as vibrant, they can still come through if the image is processed properly. Matte is also ideal for playing up texture. On the downside, the effect can make the photo look grainier.

The fact that matte brings out texture makes it ideal for highly detailed photos. It is also great for black and white, sepia and vintage looks.

How to Create a Matte Effect

While glossy has its share of benefits, matte is all the rage these days. It produces a mood that is appealing and emotional.

Matte photography can be produced using matte paper, but the effect can also be created during processing. Here how to get the look.

There are various types of software that can create a matte appearance, but BeFunky’s Photo Editor is ideal. To start, upload the photo by hitting the open button at the top of the page or drop and drag it in.

Then hit the Edit tab in the menu on the left and select the Levels tool.

The Levels tool has five sliders: Min Input, Gamma, Max Input, Min Output and Max Output. While the top three sliders are good for editing exposure, Min and Max Output will be used to get a matte effect.

If you slide Min Output to 100 and keep Max Output at 100, your image will turn completely white. If you set both to 0, you will get a completely black image. But if you play around between 0 and 100, you can produce a strong or soft matte effect.

If the Min Output is low and the Max output is high, you’ll get a soft matte effect that includes a lot of white. If you the Min Output is high and the Max output is low, you’ll get a strong matte effect with more contrast.

Once you get the effect you are going for, hit the blue checkmark to apply the edit. Then click save.

Matte and glossy both have their share of benefits when they are applied to photos. Which will you be going for when you do your next shoot?


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