Just the Facts
Here's the Shutterfly blueprint:
- Online site so no download is necessary
- Several design methods, all allowing customization
- A wide variety of sizes, styles, templates and fonts
- Help available by email or phone, or by consulting the Shutterfly Community
- Simple photo edits enabled
Shutterfly was one of the first companies to delve into the fields of online printing and photo storage. They began offering photo books in 2001, and this year they introduced the All New Custom Path, which gives users almost total control over the appearance of their photo books.
- Versatile designware that's fairly easy to use >
- Frequent discounts offered on prices that are already competitive
- Well-designed templates with lots of choices of embellishments
- Generously sized text boxes that allow you to say what you want to say
- The ability to make simple photo edits, such as eliminating red eyes, within the program
- High quality photo reproduction
- Little touches in the final product, like those waffle-textured end papers
Opting for a photo book site that also offers photo storage and processing has advantages, too, as your images are easily accessible. Shutterfly also allows you to share your photo books online. Although you don't have the immediate option of emailing the book to others or posting it on your Facebook page, as you have with Picaboo, you can create your own personal website, put your photo book there and email invitations to others to view it. In the long run, that may be a better solution.
Here's what didn't win my heart:
- Shipping charges that start at $11.99 for standard shipping
- Standard shipping that may require a week after production
- Some image detail lost in binding
I also had a bit of trouble getting Shutterfly to accept their own promo codes. If at first you don't succeed, try again, and be sure not to confuse the numeral "1" with a lower case "l" and a zero with an "O."
The Bottom Line on Shutterfly
The bottom line is that Shutterfly has been doing photo books for a while now, and they do a lot of things right. Some sites may be better for the technologically challenged, and some may be better for people with lots of design experience. But for the vast majority of users, who fall somewhere in between, Shutterfly is just right. Most shutterbugs will be very happy with Shutterfly.