This is my bugbear, it haunts me... the amount of money we spend on paper and ink each month is eye watering. It is possible to use cheap paper to print photographs onto, you may not be surprised to hear that this cheap paper is not as good as the more expensive type, but why?
After all, the expense isn't always a guide to the best quality...
We have tested so many papers and some big names are not as good as they claim!
We have settled on Hahnemuhle paper, we use their Photo Rag Bright White 308 GSM, there is a thinner version available but we stick to the thicker one because by using this really rather beautiful paper a printed image acquires the feel of an object of authority, it feels like vellum, though you will never handle the finished print (we only offer framed prints), the look and quality of the print is such that it is imbued with value as a result of using such paper, it has the feel and the look of a piece of art, it very much feels like it's going to be around for a long long time!
Print onto anything else and it feels flimsy, ephemeral and temporary.
The inks we use are what is supplied for our Canon wide Format imagePROGRAF iPF9400 60in printer. We only use Canon inks (all 12 of them!!), every time we run out of ink it cost about £1,200 to replace the cartridges!
But though that is painful, those inks will last a long long time and will certainly outlive both of us.
Below is a paragraph lifted from the Canon website:
The professional LUCIA pigment inks offer accurate colour reproduction and enhanced print longevity. Prints can last approx. 200 years in the photo album, 80-years on display behind glass (light fastness) and 50-years without the glass (gas fastness).
As a bit of fun this is where the printer inks lie on the list of most expensive liquids:
Scorpion Venom $39,000,000 per gallon
King Cobra Venom $153,000 per gallon
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) $123,000 per gallon
Horseshoe Crab Blood $60,000 per gallon
Chanel No. 5 $26,000 per gallon
Insulin $9,400* per gallon
Mercury $3,400 per gallon
Black Printer Ink $2,700 per gallon
Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB): $2,500 per gallon
Human Blood: $1,500 per gallon
I would still prefer a taste of Cheval Blanc 1947!