One of the things I like about the Zenfolio platform that hosts my site is that it makes it very easy for family and friends to order prints of my images. I don't charge any markup here, because I am not interested in this becoming a business, but the second important point of trying to make nice images is to share them [the first of course to take pleasure for one's self in making them]. The Zenfolio platform has some very good partners that make it easy to order and print images without requiring any management or intervention on my part. And for most people, the options they offer will be more than good enough. And their quality is excellent.
I have noticed, however, that some of my images do not fit neatly within the pre-formatted sizes of several of the labs, forcing me or the customer to crop portions of the image. For digital downloads, that's not an issue, but for prints, it is. My images are edited to appear as they are, not to be further cropped or resized. So, I went looking for a quality option to make prints at their intended ratios. After looking a lot, I can recommend two vendors enthusiastically and, while I am sure there are many more candidates, I have experience with both of these. I wish they were Zenfolio partners, and maybe they will so become. The first is Bay Photo, and the second is WhiteWall.
Bay Photo is located in the Bay Area of California, and has a bunch of different image reproduction options. Most of them are standard-sized, but almost every one has a custom size option where you can specify the exact size of the print you want. I confess I find BayPhoto's website ordering process a bit confusing because it has so many options, and it's driven by the product you choose, not the image you want to reproduce. But all you can do is work your way through their process. WhiteWall is similar, but I think its website is easier to use, and its acceptable range of file size type and sizes is much larger; WhiteWall also makes it easier to check your file against the color profiles they use, and they provide good monitor calibration support. For U.S. customers, the downside of WhiteWall is its location in Germany. And their package tracking capabilities leave something to be desired. But their printing capability is superb. When we were in Bora Bora, the hotel's business center featured a small gallery by a resort photographer named Kincaid. Mary and I both liked the way his images were printed: under acrylic for a sense of depth, but much lighter weight and less fragile than the glass prints we had tried with Fracture. We liked the Fracture presentation, but not its fragility or its limited print sizes. More than one glass print arrived damaged [always replaced free of additional charge and with rush service], and at least two prints have sustained minor damage due to repeated handling. So, we won't be ordering from Fracture again, unless it's for something like their desktop size as a gift. When I went looking for something like the Kincaid prints, WhiteWall is what came up more than once. Right now, I am waiting on my first print from them. If it does not disappoint, we will order from them again.
UPDATE: Our first print arrived from WhiteWall. Color reproduction and surface quality are superb. Crating is secure but could use a little more external “customer friendliness,” including investing instructions printed externally. We will be ordering again, and I have suggested to WhiteWall that they explore a relationship with Zenfolio.