In the current poll several people have touched on this question. Of course it will vary with image but for instance I print a lot of 8x10 paper for workprints etc but usually end up with 5x7, 8x8 or 11x14. I rarely like what I see in 8x10 and often crop to anything other than 8x10 as 8x10 never seems right. I have a feeling it is simply that 8x10 = "workprint" in my mind. Should I get therapy?
Also do many of you that print a lot of 11x14 and larger also do much in smaller enlargments? I find that I really like 5x7 and even smaller final prints especially with a group of related shots.
I can well imagine that printing for sale is different than printing for yourself or friends as I do.
I think it's all a matter of taste. I like 24x30cm (some 9.5x12 inches). But do not go beyond it, 'though I've done it in the past (I'a 35mm shooter)
Small prints for me (5x7 or about) are used only for tests. I find 35mm contact too small to judge (need new glasses, maybe?)
I like most 12x16 inch (30x40cm) 2. 16x20 inch (40x50cm)
I print 80% in 12x16!
I print a lot of snapshots from 6x6cm as 5x5". These have a really smooth look and work well in albums or as giveaways.
35mm I tend to enlarge to around 5.5x8" on 8x10" paper.
6x6 I tend to enlarge to around 8x8" or 10x10", and I do about the same with 6x7 (which I don't shoot often).
4x5" I usually enlarge to 8x10" or 11x14".
8x10" and 11x14" I contact print.
Occasionally I'll enlarge to 16x20" or larger if I think the image works that way, but I usually prefer the tonality of enlargements no more than 4x.
I prefer 8x12 prints on 11x14 paper from 35mm. I print my 6x6 negs to 10x10 on 11x14. I often print 6x9 on 8x10 to test prints. I have no preference as of yet for what few 4x5 negatives I have made so far.
4" wide, 36" long. About like toilet paper.
Seriously, I have absolutely no preference where *other* photographers' works are considered. They can compose as they like and I'll probably like it as well.
I generally compose full frame using 35mm and 6x6cm, and print accordingly.
Just mounted 5 contacted printed 5x7 B&W silver prints (vertical format) together in an 8in x 40in vertical mounting. Pictures are of an old homestead house that I've been documenting its demise for the last couple of years. At first, thought it would be weird, but the wife-unit (aka keeper of my photo play monies) insisted on this. She had a particular spot in mind, and lo and behold, if it ain't kinda cool for a wanna-be artsy type. I also contact print 8x10s, but they don't have the same framed look as 5x7's.
12x16" seems most interesting to me, because it is the largest size that can usually be viewed from normal (book reading) distance and still be perceived as a whole. Larger print sizes require greater viewing distances and smaller sizes may lose detail or decrease selective sharpness (intended unsharpness gets sharper on smaller prints)
I've been blown away recently by some contact prints of 6x9 negs. They were just amazing and the presentation made for very intimate viewing. But then again, I have a 20x24 by Paul Gray (of Whatthehelliszat fame) that looks wonderful, so I will have to say that it just depends on the individual image. I personally print to aroud 5x7.
For me 18 in wide from 35 mm is the minimum. The idea that smaller is more intimate has always been a non issue. There is no more "intimate" experience than walking up to a mural print and falling into the image. A tiny or small print of an image might be create a more "personal or private experience" but not more intimate.