When it comes time to print your digital photos, you have the choice between matte or glossy. The difference is simple, glossy photo prints have a shiny finish while matte prints have a softer, more subtle finish. The choice between the two is up to you with both finishes having pros and cons.
What chemicals are used when the digital photos are printed will determine what the resulting finish will look like.
Again the difference is easy to tell. Glossy prints reflect light well, are shiny and are very animated in their color. Matte finish however does not reflect much light and colors tend to be more muted than lively.
Glossy photo prints: Glossy photo prints are shiny and are more tempting to the eye. They look fancy and present a high quality feeling to the photo. Glossy photo prints have vibrant colors. Colors also look rich and deep on glossy photo prints.
A disadvantage to glossy is that the ‘shiny’ finish can make viewing the photo in intense light difficult due to the light reflecting from the photo print blinding the viewer. Glossy paper is also more apt to draw dust and fingerprints making the photo dirty over time. Black and white photos do not work as well with a glossy finish as those with a matte finish.
Matte finish: Matte photo prints do not reflect light resulting in them being easier to view in almost any light condition. Matte photo prints are also less likely to attract dust and fingerprints and are less likely to get soiled over time.
Black and white matte photo prints look better than black and white glossy photo prints. On the downside matte photo prints do not have the fancy high quality look that glossy photo prints have. Colors in matte photo prints are less effervescent and less rich than on glossy photo prints.