may I start to discuss on paper selection a bit (with reference to my worming up phase last year)
I've read a lot in news groups about textur, surfave and many other aspects of peper. Durability lightfastness . . .
The end of the day it all comes back to very personal subjective "habtis" and preferences.
For me the original HP Premium Plus paper works best for 80 to 90 % of my prints. Having said that I must admit that a semigloss surfave is good for a lot of things but when it comes to B&W a matte surface is sometimes really pleasing.
So I started to experiment with canvas (very nice indeed), Hahnemuehle, HP matte papers and other brands. In total I surely printed some hundert test prints and invested some 500 EUR ++ in the search for the ultimate paper.
Taking this "job" seriously means to do test prints, do tailormade ICC profiles, reprint and print lots of images to get a feeling for the qualities of the paper.
When I say "investments" I really mean investing lots of money and specially time. It turned out that the HP paper selection offers for my large format printer a nice selection of excellent quality papers that are lightfast and reproduce a wide gamut. Dmax is > 2,4 after four weeks and this is a kind of record on my papeers. Matte papers result in a dmax of approx. 1,5 or so. Not bad but one can see the differences in B&W printing clearly enough to build up one's mind.
So as a conclusion i would define these selection parameters for all beginers im Fine Art printing.
1.) Try papers of the printer manufacturer with the canned ICC profiels and experiment with the printing parameters.
2.) Try new papers with known ICC profiels that could fit (e.g. matte papers could be similar in it's behaviour)
3.) Try premium brands of papers first - you get what you pay for - most of the time (Hahnemuehle e.g. offers a free download of excellent ICC profiles)
4.) When you've fould a shortlist of papers reduce it to one paper in each kategory of interest. e.g. one matte, one semii matte and one glossy paper . . . having a too big selection will only limit you in your learning curve for the paper.
5.) Keep your color workflow and note it propperly to avoid paper loss due to wrong parameters.
If i knew tha same one year ago - I would have saved hundrets of EURs and a lot of frustration and mostly time for doing pictures out there
One further tip from my side: Do not invest in new pritners avery now and then - most printers of the last two or three years are capable of doing excelletn Fine Art work for you!! The new HP printers e.g. are only a little bit better in color reproduction on special media compare to my machine but if you have a good reason - go for it and stay with it!
A six color printer is by far good enough to do excellent printing on many media. If you happen to have a special need think twice before buying a new printer - ther might be a paper / pritner combination that solves your printing need.
Color gamut is the thin you'd look for first hand but color differentiation is surely the next point.
The end of the day printing is a lot about your own knowledge of your printing device. Invest the time to get to know your printer better and switch on maximum quality settings - I waisted precious time in setting the printer only to half of it's resolution. This lead to horrible results. This may not be true for all pritners but as I siad before - find out your propper setup and play with it.
BTW - glossy paper just shines with dye pritners - pigmented prints tend to be less shiny - so be aware that you must die one or the other way
I hope this helps for finding your own selection of Fine Art papers.
VBR <=> jo-1
P.S: Just ordereed Hahnemuehle Natrual Duo 216 g/m^2 - looks like an excellent improvment of the Duo 196 g/m^2 (if only the price would be less)