It has been said that a photograph isn’t truly done—that it doesn’t completely exist—until it has been printed.
Whether you believe printing to be the absolute culmination of your photographic efforts or not, you will undoubtedly have an ongoing need to print your images nonetheless, whether it be for presentation; to give as gifts; to make cards, calendars, or other products; or to wallpaper your bathroom (snap a quick photo of that if you do!)
Here are some services that may come to your aid.
When I print my images for serious presentation, to frame and hang in my own home, or to show elsewhere, I always turn to White House Custom Color. Their prices are competitive and their service is second-to-none. Once you’ve signed up for a free account, they will do two things:
They will send you samples of their papers and finishes (of which they have several traditional and a few eclectic choices), and
They will allow you to upload a few images to make free test prints, which they will send to you completely free of charge.
If there is anyone else out there who is more eager to have your business, I don’t know who they are. On top of all that, they also offer ICC color profiles to download so you can “soft proof” your images for their specific equipment, making it even easier to achieve the results you need.
If you are less concerned with quality and more concerned with value, there is a neat site that will allow you to compare price points and user reviews of more photo printing sites than you can shake a stick at (nearly 50 when I looked). It’s called printRates, and according to their site, they aim to let you:
Save money on digital photo printing by comparing digital photo printing prices and reading reviews. compare dozens of digital photo printing sites read and write reviews choose the right one for you.
Okay, so their grammar isn’t perfect… Nevertheless, chances are they have reviews of photo printing sites you’ve never heard of; who knows, you might find the diamond in the rough.