One of the most common questions I get from Marathon customers is which papers I recommend for portrait images or what are my personal favorites. Being a Fine Arts Degree graduate I am a self-admitted paper junkie. I’ve not only done a lot of research on paper but I’ve even gone so far as to make it as well. It makes you look at your portraits in a different way and why I am so passionate that everyone should own a beautiful print.
These papers allow you to promote yourself differently to the consumer. Let’s face it, there are a lot of similar products that the consumer can get anywhere, which means they tend to shop for the lowest price even with your great photography skills. Not so with the Bella papers. These are MUSEUM quality papers. The inks absorb into the fibers of these papers. They look and feel every bit of quality. This allows you to promote the uniqueness of your prints, which minimizes pricing sensitivity.
Not all paper is created equal. A lot of in-depth investigation & testing went into the process before a decision was made on all the Bella papers by the owners at Marathon Press. Each became a labor of love and the ones selected really are extremely elite.
Just like not all papers aren’t created equal, neither are printers. After a lot of research on this Marathon decided to invest in the incredible HP12000 inkjet printer and archival inks. This is not a small machine as you can see in the photo. It produces the finest color and depth in prints available in the world.
The technical term for this combination of ink and inkjet paper is called Gicleé prints. It’s an artist’s dream is what it is. It used to be financially restrictive due to the expensive technology and a limited number of printers offering it but thanks to the evolution of technology everyone can now afford this.
My Top 3 Professional Portrait Paper Recommendations
#1. Bella Pearl. Just like the name sounds, you have an incredible balance, depth, and saturation to go with a pearly, non-textured finish. It works well on just about every type of image, black & white or color, and the paper has a fabulous weight to it.
#2. Bella Watercolor. This paper fits my personal photography style the most when I get “artsy”. Especially when I want textured paper. The colors are just slightly muted as you’d expect with watercolor. And the best part – the texture isn’t obnoxious. You don’t lose detail in small faces, etc. This paper oozes quality when you hold and touch it. All the Bella prints can stand on their own and be a product you could sell as a group in a beautiful display box.
#3. Bella Fine. This paper is unique. It has the brightest white point and the sharpest reproduction but due to the finish being a little flatter it isn’t one that works ideally for all my personal images. So why is it a top 3 favorite? Because when it does work with an image I have in mind it’s unbeatable. In addition to the whiteness, the surface is smooth, the weight is fabulous and there are few papers out there that give me that perfect combo that works particularly well with my black & white portraits.
Side by side paper comparisons show the uniqueness of my favorite Bella papers
While all the Bella papers are amazing, these are my top 3 all-stars. All Bella prints maintain the finest gradation of tones and colors. Skin tones remain consistent and true. Never any distortion caused by any of the textures, even in small head sizes, etc. My digitally painted images look as if I actually painted them directly on these papers!
The papers that are textured are textured throughout the paper. Not just the surface. All maintain the tiniest of details. Look at the font used in this sample. Even the thinnest part of the font line is absolutely perfect. And look at the detail in the gradation of inks!
Of course, Marathon also has the Pro Photo paper that offers you the more “traditional” looking prints but Bella will take your images and quality to a whole new level. But even the Pro Photo papers are more archival than traditional prints due to the inkjet technology used. Oh, and by the way, the side-benefit to inkjet technology? The prints are water-resistant!
Another thing I love is doing a deckled edge (torn) look with these papers. While this is not a service Marathon provides, it is not hard to do with a little practice. I just use a long ruler (metal, wood, or even a hard edge table will work). While I’ve personally never used a Deckled Edge tearing ruler, you can purchase them from just about any hobby store or online. The beautiful fibers revealed in these papers are second to none. These prints make GORGEOUS float mount prints! Another selling option upgrade!
A New Product Line to Sell!
The Bella Prints aren’t just for portraits. Use this paper to sell your Fine Art, limited edition scenic, and art prints. Get inspired by how Fine Art Galleries display their limited edition prints. From just the print itself packaged individually to framed finished prints, you can easily set up a dedicated section of your studio to feature these. Remember, you can’t sell what you don’t show!
Be sure and add an 8×10 tabletop display that promotes – “About the Artist” to add even more value to your limited edition prints for sale
My Summary – The Bella Art Prints give you the finest paper available in the industry. From professional portrait prints to limited edition fine art prints, these papers give you something unique and incredible to sell as this is not something the discount stores offer. Oh, and these papers are also available in Marathon’s Bella Lay flat albums too. You can even get a free Bella Kit to review and get inspired by the papers until you get your own too.
Want a wall-size Bella Art Print of your own? Get one for 50% off!
Use code – Save50Bella under the Promotions tab during check out. Receive 50% off one Bella Print order through Marathon ROES. Limited to one discount per studio. $20 order minimum still applies. Cannot be used on previous orders or combined with any other offers. Expires 8/31/22.