Luster is one of several photo paper finish options, which resembles pearl in its visual appearance and a photo lab quality satin in its texture. The luster finish is quite unique and used by a small number of manufactures often in their professional range. It produces vivid colours with sharp details, and produces black and white output with rich blacks and smooth tonality. Naturally, quality will vary according to the supplier and the paper’s qualities in terms of weight, receiving layer coating and other aspects.
The luster paper contains low levels of glare, but nowhere near the levels of glare that a glossy finish paper has, nor does it contain no glare such as in the case of matte photo paper. Hence it is often described as ‘semi-gloss’ finish. It is a compromise between glossy and matte that becomes very useful when the photograph will be viewed from various angles (such as in the case of an image displayed in a gallery) and under certain lighting conditions. The soft texture feel helps reduce fingerprint marks, which are a common occurrence when prints are held and improves the print longevity as a result.
The luster photo paper is not for everyone’s taste due to the soft glow properties of the paper and its categorization of ‘professional paper’, which often means it is not the cheapest option. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a satin finish paper with a smooth lustre surface the likes of which you get from a photo lab, it is undoubtedly a suitable option for you.