As some of us who have shipped the portfolio recently have noticed, shipping costs are going up, so maybe it's time to rethink whether photographs should be mounted, since mounts are a lot of the weight. International shipping is running around $40-80, depending on the route lately.
I try to juggle the order a bit so that the same people don't always get stuck with international shipping fees, and I always cover a hop from the US to Europe myself, figuring the portfolio only seems to come around once every year or two, but some participants always have an international shipment.
I did quite a bit of research on shipping case options, and the Tenba Port-Ship cases we are using seemed the best compromise of low weight, ruggedness, and lack of things like straps that could get snagged in shipment, and they've held up well, so I think we should stick with them. They are designed to be shipped without having to be boxed, so that is another weight savings.
On the one hand, some of us feel that a photograph isn't finished until it's mounted, and one of the things I've enjoyed from the portfolio is seeing different mounting and presentation styles. Also, some types of prints on thin paper or albumen prints are virtually always mounted. On the other hand, the mounts are a lot of the weight. I've included both mounted and unmounted prints myself.
On the one hand, I think people should present their work as they want it to be seen, but on the other, we wouldn't want to lose participation due to shipping costs.
So let's discuss the options. Here are my suggestions--
--If possible, send an unmounted print.
--If it's a type of print that needs to be mounted, then mount, but don't mat, if possible, and if you can use 2-ply, that would help.
--If the thought of others seeing your work unmatted is like one of those nightmares where you're in a meeting with your boss, and you realize that you don't have any clothes on, then consider 2-ply, or at least try to restrain yourself to 4-ply at the most. 8-ply is beautiful, but I think it's excessive for this purpose.