PROS / Shutterfly offers a vast selection of templates, backgrounds and embellishments.
CONS / The lack of a shuffle button means you have to move the photos around yourself to find the best order on each page.
VERDICT / Shutterfly’s online photo editor is easy to navigate, and with the multitude of options and add-ons available, just about anyone can create a professional-looking photo book.
As one of the sites to pioneer photo books, Shutterfly still holds a strong presence in the industry because the company provides a product that combines usability and quality. The online photo editor is appealing to both experts and beginners with its range of features and its easy-to-use interface. Shutterfly earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award because of its wide variety of features that help you create the best online photo books for any occasion.
Quality & Services
The book we got back from Shutterfly was very nice, especially in terms of photo reproduction, though there were a few flaws. The page thickness was impressive and this book tended to stay open on its own. High-quality flyleaves add a layer of protection and a more finished look. The cover was also very sturdy and should age well.
Shutterfly offers more than 200 templates, which is more than most other sites. The templates are of the highest quality too with themes that include Disney, Sesame Street, Star Wars and other popular franchises, in addition to the most basic and pared-down styles. Using these templates, you can add personality and embellishments to your photos. With such variety, you are likely to find the exact style you are looking for.
There are three different ways to create a photo book, and each appeals to a different skill level: You can choose to have Shutterfly designers make the book, or you can choose between Simple Path and Custom Path. The Simple Path automatically arranges your photos in your chosen template and is perfect for beginners, as it requires minimal effort; however, the designs and page layouts are basic with few design elements on them. The Custom Path allows for more creative license. You can design your own layouts, adjust and edit photos, add embellishments, and add text. Using the Custom Path, you can also add predesigned professional layouts to your custom photo book. If your skill level falls somewhere in the middle, you can alternate between the two different methods.
The online book editor includes several tools to help you create a photo book using the Custom Path. You can easily change the theme and background of your project or add text boxes, images, embellishments and extra pages. You can even edit the photos you are using with the online editor. It has features that can reduce red eye, rotate an image, and change or enhance the colors in a picture. The editor also identifies low-resolution images, giving you the chance to either resize or remove the picture.
This service provides you with several different ways to share your photos. With online storage, you can save, share or add photos to your photo book at any time. At any point during the project, you can share your photo book by adding it to a share site, Facebook, or Blogger – or by just emailing it to friends. You can also export the project as a PDF file and print it anywhere you want.
Shutterfly offers several different sizing and cover options for its photo books. Six sizes are available: 7 x 9, 8 x 8, 8 x 11, 10 x 10, 12 x 12 and 11 x 14 inches. These are among the most common sizing options for photo books. Shutterfly also provides 12 different cover options that add variety to your custom photo book. You can give your photo book a hard cover, soft cover, hard cover with matte finish, padded photo cover or a cover with die-cut windows in either cloth, linen, leather or crushed silk.
The interface is organized and clearly labeled. If you don’t know what a button does, you can easily find out by hovering over it with your mouse. Uploading photos and editing pages is easy. You can upload photos from your computer, Facebook, Instagram and several other sources right to the photo book editor. The one thing that could improve the interface is a shuffle feature. That can be nice for deciding the best arrangements for photos on a page, without having to move them individually.
When you are ready to order your photo book, the site provides a preview that displays the book in high resolution so you know what it will look like when it prints. If you find any errors, you can easily return to editing mode and fix the book.
Shipping & Support
Shutterfly provides support for all of its services. You'll find a telephone number, email address and live chat feature to contact technical support for any problems that come up while making your photo book. However, the operating hours for the phone are limited, so if you need to contact support, email and live chat are the best options. The company also provides a searchable FAQs database, so you can explore topics and find answers to your questions. Additionally, there is a user forum where you can exchange ideas and solutions.
There are several different shipping methods. However, with processing time the expedited shipping option still takes almost a week. If you want the most economic option, allow for two weeks of processing and shipping to ensure you get your order in time.
Shutterfly makes creating a photo book easy, and the final product we got was very high quality, with just a few flaws. You decide how much control you want over the design process with Shutterfly. Whichever path you choose, you can create a high-quality photo book with crisp images and vivid graphics. All of this combines to make Shutterfly one of the best photo book sites resources available.