There are many alternative substrate choices to choose from. There’s a whole smorgasbord of papers available now that can leave you both excited and overwhelmed about where to start. What I recommend is to do some research, then order a sample pack or a small quantity of various papers and test them to find which meet your personal preferences.
I examined a number of alternative substrates using the Canon iPF6300 12-ink pigment printer. I made a custom profile for each paper using X-Rite’s Eye-One and Eye- One Match software. It is critical to have a good profile for each paper you use, but it’s even more important with alternative substrates. Usually with these papers, you don’t have a regular setting in the printer software like you do with normal “glossy” and “matte” papers. Plus, most special substrates are pricy, and you don’t want to waste paper while trying to get the right color because you didn’t have a custom profile available. If you are unable to make your own profile, check with the paper manufacturer’s website. They frequently offer custom profiles to download.
First, I researched and tested multiple inkjet metallic papers. This is a newer choice for inkjet, and many photographers have been waiting for this to be available.
Metallic prints have been available on papers like Kodak Endura Metallic − a big hit in many professional photo labs across the country. I used Red River Polar Pearl Metallic, LexJet Photo Metallic paper and Mitsubishi Grace Pearlescent Metallic. The results were very different from the Kodak Endura Metallic print “look,” which I see as chrome-like. The metallic inkjet prints are less intense with the metallic chrome and have more of a smooth pearl look. The Mitsubishi Grace Pearlescent Metallic has a bit more lustrous quality than the LexJet and Red River papers, both of which have a very smooth satin surface and what appears as similar paper stock.