Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shutterfly photo book review

A few months back Groupon offered a custom 20 page hard cover photo book through Shutterfly for only $10. I love photo books especially since switching to a fully digital camera I rarely print out photos anymore and a photo book is a great way to get the best ones organized, printed and contained all in one place.

The problem is the price tags. If you've ever researched creating your own photo books you'd probably found, as I had, that they range about $30 and up for an 8x8 or smaller book. Get into larger books, fancier binding and additional pages and you'll get set back around a hundred dollars. I was excited on finally being able to get one at what seemed like a reasonable price.

I thought I was getting a really great deal when I went online and created a completely customized, beautiful book with a few additional pages and when I went to go check out I couldn't use the coupon. Because I'm a moron and was at Snapfish, not Shutterfly. Three hours were wasted and for about 2 weeks I just scrapped making one at all. But Groupon extended the expiration date so I figured I'd go ahead and do it.

Another three hours later I had a photo book plus 9 pages, not nearly as customizable as Snapfish. Shipping was almost $9 plus the extra pages, tax and such I still ended up paying about $30 for the book including the initial cost of the Groupon.

The binding is nice, the pages are clean but Shutterfly won't let you add more than 4 photos per page, the backgrounds aren't changable unless you change the entire design of the book, the font on each page is miniscule and finite in its type, size and location. The cover is limited to about 4 different sized photos that are mostly all square which makes rectangular photos cut off. I also couldn't tell it was faux wood grain printed on the cover since I couldn't zoom in. Not my first choice.

You also can't zoom in to the completed pages so I couldn't tell until it came that Alex is almost chopped off in one binding becasue the photo is too close to the edge and one photo of Cordelia has another photo piercing her head.

Because you can't change the size or layout of the photos I ended up with pages that had LOTS of blank space. If you look really closely under the birthday cake on the right page that little black line actually says "June". That's as large as it lets you make it. Yeah.

You also can't change the backgrounds. At all. When you add a new page you can't choose the background, which is how I ended up with a maroon page and a baby blue page right next to each other.

While I'm happy to have a book that outlines our entire 2010 year (or as much of it as I could fit in 4 photos a page) and it was nice to be able to easily access Facebook photos for addition to the book, I'm not really very happy with Shutterfly's editing options. Maybe next year Snapfish will have a Groupon.


Sarah Faith said...

just saw this...

Sarah Faith said...

Also I just got this offer
it's a signup for weekly deals on snapfish. that was how i got 2 free photo books in December from snapfish.

Crystal said...

You're killing me Sarah! Thanks for the links, now I wish I hadn't made that stupid book. Though I suppose I could gift it to a relative and make me the better one through Snapfish LOL