I shot a number of portraits of my friends Lauren and Susan for the Make a Portrait episode of Daytripper Television that is part of the second episode group.
I wanted to give them each a print as a simple thank-you for working with me, and whenever I am printing something different, I like to consider a different paper.
I've posted about how much I love Hahnemuhle's Canvas, but I recently bought a box of Epson's Hot Press Bright paper. It is a 100% cotton fiber based paper that is completely acid free. It does have a brightener in it, (Hot Press Natural for no brightener) and I thought that since I was going to print it on the Epson 4900 with their amazing Ultrachrome pigment inks, I would try the bright to ensure that the teeth and whites of the eyes had "pop".
The paper is a smooth matte finish, 18 mil thick and has density of 330g/m2. It feels very thick and rich, and the lack of surface texture and matte finish works well for the female face. It is an archival grade paper so over 100 years of life is expected.
The prints are wonderful. I recommend allowing a couple of hours of drying time to allow the pigments to sink in and settle before judging, and using the Soft Proof function in Lightroom 4 can save on paper if you think your images are out of gamut for the printer.
The biggest challenge I had was finding the proper ICC profile for the paper and my printer. Epson Canada and USA did not list an ICC profile for this paper and the 4900. I did discover that for whatever reason Epson UK has a complete set of ICC profiles for Epson papers, annoying that North America doesn't but the internet cares not of geography so getting them downloaded and installed was simple, once I found them.
Hot Press Bright is one of Epson's top of the line SignatureWorthy papers. You can see all the SignatureWorthy paper types here.
The nice thing about these Epson papers is that you can find them more readily and for a lower cost than similar finish Hahnemuhle or Canson papers and they produce really beautiful output, providing of course you use the correct ICC profile for the paper and your printer. If you find a paper you really like and there is no ICC profile for it for your printer, the Color Munki Photo does an awesome job of creating a custom profile for you. This is going to be critical if you use a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 with non-Canon papers or vendor ICC profiles as it is known to be very "red" otherwise.
If you find yourself in this situation and you need a profile for a specific printer and paper and won't be doing this enough to warrant buying a Color Munki Photo, send me an email and I can arrange to make one for you at your residence. It takes about an hour, and requires at minimum two sheets of the paper you like. At the same time, I will profile your display. Cost for this service varies depending on where you live.
This is the third variant of Epson Signatureworthy papers I have tried and I strongly recommend them for amazing print quality for your important images