Q: Rec' paper, technique, ink options for high quality black and white photo print...
I'm new to the forum so please excuse me if I'm posting this in the wrong area and pardon my ignorance using erroneous terminology.
I've been working on a project for 2 years now and am having difficulty producing a relatively scratch resistant black and white photograph meant for framing. I'm currently using "premium satin matte " 300gr photo paper and premium HP dyes in a commercial inkjet printer. This is the only info I have from my print on demand vendor.
The issue I'm experiencing is that the prints that are highly susceptible to both printing artifacts as well as post printing scratches/smudges of the images. They are extremely fragile. Up to 1/3 of my prints are not of sufficient quality to frame due to these imperfections. The scratches/smudges are esp. visible due to the entire background of the image being pitch black while the image on the black background is various shades of gray and white. I have attached a sample of what I'm printing. It's mag'd up significantly. This portion of the image doesnt have any of the scratches...it just shows my desired output.
I'd appreciate any guidance concerning the optimal print process, dyes, techniques, and paper for production of black and white photographs (meant to frame), 10" x 20", where the background is pure black. This has been kicking my butt for a long time.
First, I think that dye-based inks are not a good choice. They tend to be unstable - you'll probably notice the tone shifting.
Matte papers are more susceptible to marking. What makes a paper "matte" in appearance is the surface being rough on a microscopic level. Think of the paper surface as being covered in tiny little mountains. This texture serves to scatter the light striking the paper surface. If you drag a fingernail over the surface you flatten all of these peaks in the wake of your finger. If you aren't necessarily looking for a matte finish, try a gloss paper.
You might give some consideration to having the prints UV coated. That would provide much greater protection. Or you can purchase some spray-on protectant such as:
Tips for Applying Hahnemuhle Protective Spray to Inkjet Prints | LexJet Blog
A better surface description of Matt Paper equals - Very Fine Wet + Dry Sandpaper !