Read through to the end of the post for details on winning a gift certificate to Red River Paper or a box of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper!

I used to shell out big bucks for Epson paper.

An Epson R1800 is the photo printer of choice in this house.  I love it.  I  would be hard pressed to find a difference between its prints and the prints from most labs.  When I bought it, I read all the Espon documentation suggesting that I only use Epson papers.  Which are expensive.chatsworth 2

So, I purchased more affordable printer paper right away.  The new paper was terrible and was noticeably worse than the Epson paper that shipped with the machine.  It was clear that great prints were going to require an investment in paper as well as hardware.

Ever since, I have only purchased Epson Ultra Premium Photo Luster paper.  At $35  per box of 50 8.5 x 11 sheets.  And you know what?  I don’t print that much because it’s such a luxury.

Fast forward a couple of years.  Red River Paper asked me to review some of their paper.  I replied that I hadn’t had good experience with paper other than Epson and that I couldn’t recommend a product that I didn’t believe was worthy.

Well, after receiving my test paper, I’ve printed tons of photos.  I chose a portrait, a landscape and a bright and colorful Disney group shot to compare for this review.  I printed on my Epson Ultra Premium Photo Luster paper and on Red River’s Ultra Pro Satin .  I’ve been looking at these prints every day for about 2 weeks now, and even waited for the rain to stop here in Texas so that I could compare the papers in good natural light.

Are the papers different?  Absolutely.  Are the prints on the Epson paper of higher quality?  No.  Especially when you consider the price difference.

Red River’s  Ultra Pro Satin is $33 for 100 sheets!  Less than half the price of the Epson paper I buy.

Red River’s Ultra Pro Satin is smoother to the touch than Espon’s Ultra Premium Luster.  The texture is the main difference.  The Epson paper might be a bit heavier, but not by much.Sophie Snow White

I have always liked the sheen from Epson’s luster texture.  It’s not shiny glossy (I don’t like high gloss photos), but glistening sparkles are apparent when you hold the paper at certain angles.  Red River’s Ultra Pro Satin has some of this glisten, but not as much.  And comparing the two side by side, I realized that the luster was somewhat distracting on the Espon paper.

The Red River Ultra Pro Satin’s color reproduction was slightly more saturated than the Espon Luster, which I liked.  The Epson Luster had more red in skin tones, verus more yellow in the Red River.  Neither would be noticeable to most of us without comparing side by side.

To achieve this great color quality, I downloaded the Red River ICC files that matched my printer and the paper I was using.  Make sure that you do this too.  It’s very easy – after downloading, right click on the file and select “Install.”  Then, select this profile when you print your image.  Need help with that?  Post a comment.

The Satin print of my little princess standing next to Snow White was a bit crisper than the Epson Luster.  The light blue banding on Snow White’s bodice was much clearer on the Red River Satin.

Red River also sent me a sample box of paper full of many types of paper to try.  The print quality was great on all of them.  We just might end up using their card stock in this house over the holidays.  However, not all the prices compared as favorably as the Ultra Pro Satin to the corresponding Epson paper.

In conclusion, the Red River Ultra Pro Satin will be the standard photo paper that I purchase from now on.  I will be proud to frame it or print photos on it for gifts.

Red River Paper provided me with boxes of paper to review and purchased ad space on Texas Chicks Blogs and Pics.  I am not a member of their affiliate program and they did not pay me to write this review.

Win a Gift Certificate or a box of Scrapbook Sized Photo Paper

Red River is giving two prizes to readers of Texas  Chicks this week, and is also offering free shipping on a sample kit of their paper for all readers.  For free shipping on this box, enter TCBP at checkout.

The first prize for the giveaway is a $45 gift certificate to Red River Paper.  The second prize is a box of 12 x 12 paper for printing scrapbook pages on.

To enter the contest, leave a comment here.  You can get other entries for blog posts, tweets or Facebook posts – you know the routine.  And here’s a new one – if you’re a member of any photographic or scrapbooking forums that you can announce contests in, send folks over here and comment with a link to your announcement.

The drawing (by random.org) will be next Friday, October 9.