Papers for competition fall into 2 basic categories; matte or luster. In general, matte papers work well with most images, but cannot provide the depth of black or shadow separation of the luster papers. Luster papers will excel with low key or high saturation images. Matte papers pair well with fine art, high key, or soft color imagery.
Among our customers, the most common choice for a luster finish paper is the Kodak Lustre Photo Paper; for matte paper it is the Canson Rag Photographique.
Here are more details on these two papers:
Kodak Lustre Photo Paper
This paper has a classic photo luster finish that performs well under competition lighting with a minimum of reflective glare. It is excellent for brilliant color and especially for "low key" images. Print tonality holds up well under strong competition lights because images can be printed especially "deep". It is excellent for black and white images because it provides the deepest black and best shadow detail. This paper is not typically paired with a float mount/deckle edged presentation, but in an 8 ply...