Poster Prints Vs. Photo Prints Vs. Fine Art Photography Prints - What's the Difference?

Poster Prints Vs. Photo Prints Vs. Fine Art Photography Prints - What's the Difference?

Photography wall art is becoming more and more trendy these days. This is not surprising in times when we spend more time at home. Incorporating photography into your home decor will give your space a new aesthetic. Especially photo prints are a popular way to add artwork to your home. There are numerous types of paper on which you can print a photograph covering different levels of quality. However, with poster shops opening up all over the internet selling simple poster prints as “high quality photo prints” or even “fine art prints” it is easy for customers to get confused about what kind of product they are actually buying. Deciding whether it is worth its money can be difficult because of shops labeling their products something they are not. In this blog post I will therefore explain the differences between poster prints, photographic prints and fine art photography prints in the hope of making it easier for you to decide what type of print is right for you.

What is a poster print?

Many of us probably grew up with posters of our favorite band up on the wall. Poster prints are often mass produced for customers that want wall decor fast at the lowest price possible. They are printed on poster paper using regular inkjet printing technique. Weighing around 200 gsm (grams per square meter) or less the paper is thicker and more durable than regular paper. But because it doesn’t use archival inks and lacks protective coating, poster prints will fade and colors will lose their vibrance with time. Because of their short life span I don’t offer my photographs as poster prints.

What is a photo print?

A photo print or photographic print is printed on high quality professional photo paper. The paper used is thicker than the one used for poster prints. They come with different coatings such as gloss, matte, lustre or metallic which make them more resistant to light and therefore more long lasting than poster prints. Photographic prints are a great way to decorate your wall with high quality photo art at an affordable price. My photo paper of choice for photo prints is the Fuji Crystal DP II with 234 gsm and a matte finish. All prints are Lambda prints, meaning that ultra-modern laser technology and traditional photochemical development are combined to create a high quality photo print with luminous colors that won’t fade for at least 75 years.

Premium quality photo print on matte photo paper

What is a fine art photography print?

Fine art printing, as the name suggests, has become much of an art in recent years. Fine art photography prints are printed on premium quality acid free fine art papers using pigmented archival inks for outstanding results and extended longevity. With well over 300 gsm these papers are much thicker than normal photo paper. These prints are also known as fine art giclee prints. For the fine art prints offered on my website I use the Hahnemühle Photo Rag® with 308 gsm. This paper is made of 100% cotton and has a lifespan of over 100 years.

Premium quality fine art photo print on Hahnemühle fine art photo paper


As you can see, there are many types of paper used for printing photographs. Many shops often make the prints they sell sound like more than they are by calling them something they are not. It is essential for buyers to have all the information they need to make an educated decision whether a print is worth its money or not.