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.
Shutterfly makes creating a photo book easy. The final product we got from the company was very high quality. You decide how much control you want over the design process, and whichever path you choose, you can create a quality photo book with crisp images and vivid graphics. All of this makes Shutterfly one of the best photo book sites available for any occasion.
Shutterfly is pretty average when it comes to pricing. An 8 x 8 photo book with 20 pages costs $29.99. In comparison, Meijer Photo - the most expensive book services for this size - is $49.99 and Amazon Prints - the least expensive - is only $17.99. This service does charge for standard shipping and tax so expect the price to go up a bit more. It costs $1.39 per page to add more pages to your project. This is one of the more expensive charges for additional pages we’ve seen.
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 cover printed beautifully, true to color and without any graininess or blurriness. Some of the page images turned out a bit blurry, however. The page thickness was impressive and this book tended to stay open on its own. The high-quality flyleaves added 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 include themes like Disney, Sesame Street, Star Wars and other popular franchises, in addition to more basic and pared-down styles. With such variety, you are likely to find the exact style you are looking for to add personality and embellishments to your photos.
There are three different ways to create a photo book, each targeted to a different skill level: You can choose to have Shutterfly designers make the book, or you can choose to make a book yourself via the Simple Path or Custom Path. The Simple Path automatically arranges your photos in your chosen template, so it’s perfect for beginners and 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, and add embellishments and text. Using the Custom Path, you can also use predesigned professional layouts in 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 (part of the Custom Path) includes several tools to help you create a photo book. 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 with features that can reduce red eye, rotate an image, and change or enhance the colors in a picture. The photo editor also identifies low-resolution images, giving you the chance to either resize or remove the picture.
Your project is stored online while you work on it, so you can save, share or add photos to your photo book at any time. You can also share your photo book at any point by adding it to your Shutterfly share site, or by just emailing it to friends and family.
Shutterfly offers several different sizing and cover options for its photo books. Seven sizes are available: 7 x 9, 8 x 8, 8 x 11, 11 x 8, 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: a hard cover in either glossy or matte finish, soft cover, lay flat and premium lay flat, padded photo cover or a cover with die-cut windows in either cloth, linen, leather or crushed silk.
The interface is organized and everything is clearly labeled. If you don’t know what a button does, a hovering over it with your mouse reveals an explanation. You can upload photos directly to the photo book editor from your computer, Facebook, Instagram and several other sources. The one thing that could improve the interface would be an automatic shuffle feature that would help you decide the best arrangements for photos on a page; as it is, you have to move each photo individually to experiment with a new arrangement.
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. Shutterfly automatically prints their logo inside the book on the last page. You can pay between $6 and $9 to remove it if you don’t want any branding.
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 in off hours, 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, but be aware that 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.
As one of the pioneers in the photo books landscape, Shutterfly still holds a strong presence in the industry because the service 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, and Shutterfly has a wide variety of features to help you create the best online photo books for any occasion.
- Price for 20-Page 8 x 8 Hardcover
- Print Quality
- Book Quality
- Ease of Use