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When to use inkjet papers with OBAs?

What are OBAs and how do they effect my inkjet prints?

Well…what are OBAs? OBAs or Optical Brightening Agents are chemicals that are used in the process of making inkjet papers that make the media more white to the human eye.

Some argue that inkjet papers containing OBAs yellow over time which is most important for those needing several hundred years out of their prints. Museum curators and gallery display might require a paper without OBAs. Some inkjet papers like Epson Legacy Platine have a higher white point without the use of OBAs which make it popular with people looking for both a high white and increased longevity.

Many photographers enjoy the higher white point a paper that contains OBAs has. Some of the more popular options due to a higher white point that Optical Brighteners bring are Epson Exhibition Fiber and Canson Infinity Bartya Photographique, which are both highly regarded by many in the photographic print industry.

All-in-all, if you want your print to look the same after centuries pass or you will be framing behind UV glass you should probably choose a media that is both acid and lignin-free and most of these papers are advertised as such along with the OBA-Fre moniker in some instances.

If you want a photographic print to really pop against an flaurescent white surface, go with the inkjet photo paper containing OBAs. These papers are sometimes advertized as such, if not most inkjet baryta papers will contain the OBAs needed for that desired bright white look.

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