Photo Books: And Snapfish and Shutterfly

Photo Books


I got my first camera when I was fourteen years old. It was a 110 Instamatic and I carried it everywhere. The photos were black and white but it was great to take pictures of everyone and everything. Obviously a lot has changed since I was fourteen. Not only are the photos in color but we have digital cameras and the ability to see them instantly. Along with this instant satisfaction is the ability to upload those photos to the computer and have them developed within a few days and/or have them put in photo books. In addition to this new found freedom is the ability to look at your photos on the spot and know whether or not they have turned out well so you can re-take immediately, the freedom to take endless numbers of pictures and the ability to share them online or print them out just like "the old days".

If you enter "photo developing" into Google the results are a group of photo companies that develop photos but that's not all they do. They will put your photos into photo books, on mouse pads, coffee mugs, you name it! The results I got when I searched started with names likes Snapfish, Nations Photo Lab, Walgreens, Shutterfly, Mpix....that's the top five. I usually use either Snapfish or Shutterfly, depending on which one is having a sale. While that may sound silly to you, they offer between 40% and 50% off their prices when they are having a sale, oh and/or free shipping, so these are good criteria to look for. Both services offer quality developing, help you keep your photos organized, and print the perfect print,

My Rating

5 stars for Snapfish & Shutterfly

Snapfish and Shutterfly

These two companies, listed high on Google's list, were actually the top two digital photo printing services in a review by Digital Photo Printing Review's, "2013 Best Online Digital Photo Printing Services". Snapfish was number one and Shutterfly was number two. I found it interesting that Smug Mug was number three in the review but not listed in the Google Search (at least not up to page 11 where I stopped looking). The review (found at lists pricing, site features, photo gifts, shipping, and customer support as its criteria for judging photo companies...each of those categories includes a number of additional criteria as well. But, I digress, this is about photo books and two companies, Shutterfly and Snapfish.

Both companies offer all you could want in a digital photo printing service. High quality prints, a variety of products, reasonable shipping time, ease of use, and a good variety of online tools as well as a variety of finished products. Snapfish offers an application called "PictureMover" which will automatically upload yoru pictures from your camera to Snapfish. You don't have to use PictureMover, however, you can upload your pictures yourself, choosing which ones you want. From color to black and white, developed pictures are a true representation of the picture you took.

Shutterfly, like Snapfish, offers a variety of options. Express uploader which allows you to upload photos from your computer, One -by -One Uploader (which requires Flash), and the ability to upload pictures from your Picasa and Facebooks accounts. Both Shutterfly and Snapfish offer the option of sending your photo prints to nearby stores rather than having them mailed to your home. This service is quicker (often same day), however, it may also be more expensive with the price varying for each store.

As I said earlier, I think you would be satisfied with either of these services and my criteria for choosing which to use on a particular day depends on the sale or coupon they are offering that day!

Store pick-up prices vary
Online album sharing
Editing tools
Photo library
Glossy & Matte photo finishes
Photo Slideshow
Online Community
Upload and share video
Film Printing
Upload from Facebook
Upload from Picasa
Site Chat
Photo book
Home & Office
Clothing & Accessories
Greeting Cards & Holiday ornaments
Photo Blankets
Two-Day Delivery
Overnight Delivery
Standard Delivery
In-Store Pick-Up
Photo book; photo manipulation
Ability to add text boxes
Both services are aware you can pay considerably more for in-store pickup and there are no sales or coupons applied.

Introduction to Photo Books

The title here is "Photo Books: Snapfish and Shutterfly" ....I started with the photo services and provided you with information on them before the Photo Book, however, there was a reason, I wanted you to be familiar with the services and similarities between them in case I switch back and forth. I thought it would help having that background first.

Everyone's got photo albums. If you're like me you've got tons of them from the thirties (from my family) from the sixties (from me), and right on up to now. They are bulky (for the most part) and take up a lot of room. The worst part about photo albums is, pictures fall out . If they have the little white corners holding pictures in, the glue on the back of the corners dries out and pictures fall out ....if they have plastic overlay with the adhesive page underneath, again the glue dries and the pictures fall out . This doesn't happen with the new photo books because they are printed like every book you've ever seen...the photos are printed into the page....they won't fall out !

Each page is printed exactly the way you want it with as many photos as you want. You can add embellishments or not, you can add text or not, you can choose a pre-designed book and let them put your photos in place or not, and you can choose from a variety of sizes!

Book Choices from Shutterfly

These are the options at Shutterfly
These are the options at Shutterfly | Source

Photo Book Cover

New, full page photo
New, full page photo | Source

Using Photo Book Software

Stop and think about it! Not only are you now 'developing' your photos but you're keeping them in one place. You have to spend a little time on the computer of course; first uploading your photos then choosing the style of book you want, and lastly arranging your photos....but the finished product is truly amazing. It's a little like scrap booking without the mess!

Let's start at the beginning. The very first step is picking your photo book -- the size that is. The sizes range from 5" x 7" to 12" x 12" or 11" x 14". Then there's the cover; soft cover, hard cover, padded cover or Shutterfly's Premium book - a professional style book with heavier paper, a satin finish, and a leather cover (also a higher cost). Once you've picked the cover you then pick the cover design. My favorite is at Shutterfly where you can put a full photo on the front cover and a full photo on the back cover. Snapfish also overs a 'lay flat' option for your album.

Next is gathering your photos. When you know what photos you want to use, you upload them to the program. Uploading your photos is easy and you can upload them from your camera, computer, Facebook or Picasa. It's as easy as pushing a button.

Shutterfly Sample Pages

A page may look like this one.
A page may look like this one. | Source
This is a two page spread
This is a two page spread | Source

Once you've made all these choices, the fun begins. Each page of your photo album is pre-formatted for a certain number of photos, but, don't can change that from one to five or more and you can also select the way you want those photos to a row, column, group, even looking like a strip of old fashioned film. As you go through the photo book each page will be formatted differently. I have an example of an empty page from a Vacation Photo Book on the right. Each little block represented there will take one photo. You click on the photo and drag it to the box to fill it. The second photo illustrates how another page might look. You can see from both of these examples that there is quite a variation among pages. The photo on the bottom shows a full page photo on the left and a three photo layout on the right.

As you can also see from both of these photos,text is added for you. Shutterfly's new option now lets you add your own text. Let me explain, you have always been able to add your own text in the little descriptive areas provided but now you can add text wherever and whenever you want. You can delete the box provided for text and add your own somewhere else on the page. Additionally you can manipulate photos already placed on the page. This too is a new feature. You have always been able to change the formatting or number of pictures on a page but now you can move them around once you have placed them on the page and you can resize them if you'd like. Speaking of pages, most photo books come with twenty pages but you can add as many as you want (extra charges apply).

Sample Photobook Pages

Click thumbnail to view full-size
One photo layout but lots of graphics and text to add interest.Two photo layout...notice the pre-printed graphic on the bottom of the page.Four photos covering the page.Five photo layout...graphic at top of page.Eight photo layout.Full page photo.
One photo layout but lots of graphics and text to add interest.
One photo layout but lots of graphics and text to add interest. | Source
Two photo layout...notice the pre-printed graphic on the bottom of the page.
Two photo layout...notice the pre-printed graphic on the bottom of the page. | Source
Four photos covering the page.
Four photos covering the page. | Source
Five photo layout...graphic at top of page.
Five photo layout...graphic at top of page. | Source
Eight photo layout.
Eight photo layout. | Source
Full page photo.
Full page photo. | Source

Photo Book Pros and Cons

Books take up little space
Time consuming to assemble
Photobooks are fun to own
Old and new pictures can be added
You choose pictures you want to add
Prices may be higher when opting for in-store pick-up
Not overly expensive
Available to work on night and day
Pictures are preserved
Can be picked up in local stores


I have just showed you a very small sampling of how photos can be arranged. You've probably noticed that each of these samples was taken from Christmas albums...but there are all types to choose from. Vacation, Baby, Seasonal, Kids, Birthday, Family, and the number of selections under each category provide another list. For example, under Seasonal you have topics like;

Pictogram, Fall Favorites, Natural Neutrals, Through the Seasons, Happy Hauntings, Modern Prep, Merry and Bright, Let it Snow, Spring Garden, Summer Splash, and the list goes on.

Definitely not lacking in ideas. Shutterfly also has a section called 'storytelling' where you can get inspiration and ideas from other's projects.

Photobooks are great to have for future generations. They are easy to store as they do not take up a lot of space. They are a permanent record of your memories. The only drawbacks to photo books are that they take time to put together and they can become addicting.

I hope I have provided you with some useful information and maybe spurred your interest. If so,Happy Photo Booking!

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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Comments 28 comments

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Wow! I'm the first one? I still remember my 110 instamatic that was shaped like thick wallet. 24, 36 and my flash bulbs are still in my mind.

Used to sneak out some polaroid cartridge film from my parents' portrait studio. Those good ole' days!-- sigh.

Still hear the rewinding and the smell of the film that was covered by sensitive paper. I think I'm older than I thought! Your Photobooks review are excellent with your charts. I hope people find it useful as I did. Sharing!

P.S. Loved that Craig's christmas tree! inside that valuable book!

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

I have used both Snapfish and Shutterfly for picture thank you cards and invitations and have only had the best experiences with both. I love the ease and with coupon codes the prices are always very reasonable. Great review here Mary couldn't agree more with your findings!!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I have used both the services for printing photos, and have been very tempted to create books as well. Great review.

ThePracticalMommy profile image

ThePracticalMommy 4 years ago from United States

I personally love Shutterfly. All of my kids photo books are from there, plus the Christmas cards. They offer some great discounts and occasionally give free prints or deep discounts on books away!

Great review!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Thanks for the info Mary! I have never used these...I've never made a photo book! :) Guess I have some learning to do. Well done Mary!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Yes Lord, the first one and nice to know we are so close in age ;) as we share memories. I hope others find it useful as well. Thanks so much for reading.

Glad your experiences have been good too Janine. I really have no complaints.

I can see photo books in your future Millionaire.

True PracticalMommy, always looking for the bargains and at Shutterfly you can find them! Thanks for reading.

I think you're too busy writing to make photo books Bill...but that's okay, just keep saving your photos till the day comes ;)

SkeetyD profile image

SkeetyD 4 years ago from Barbados

What a wonderfully detailed hub. This is brilliant and thank you the information. Now you know where to go when you have lots of photos and you are looking for ideas of what to do with them

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Skeety I'm so glad you found this hub so helpful! Thanks so much for stopping by!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for this look at using the photo books!

hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Mary, just last week during a family reunion in Forest Grove, Oregon, my adult niece shared with me a Shutterfly book she'd created with photos of my handsome grand-nephew. The color, layout, and quality of the photos on each page were absolutely stunning! What a great gift idea!

And what a wonderfully written article! I'm voting up and more, socially spreading the word, and sharing the hub with my followers. Why? Because who better to profit from the idea of book creating than our fellow writers!

moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I love the books you can have made up now days. I gave our kids all of their photos and put them all in an album for them years ago. I still have lots of photos. Interesting hub, voted up.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Til.....When I rolled the rock away from my cave entrance this morning and decided which animal-hide-outfit I would wear, I thought of you and wondered if you might send me a message via smoke signal, before sun down.......Must pluck pheasant today and get the fire pit going before the men get back from their hunt. Could get so much more done if not for carting this papoose around.

I am soooo in the dark, Til. You can't believe how impressed I am with boomers like yourself, who refused to remain "stupid," for lack of a less harsh term.....about all of the incredible technology, that continues to flood the market at break-neck speed......and what wonderful things exist to our avail. I should be ashamed of myself.....but instead I admit that up until 10 years ago, I was still corresponding via U.S. mail......when I finally broke down and got a computer (which was dial-up for the first 2 years!).....which was about the same time I bought a cell phone.....which does very little other than "phone calls."......I haven't a friggan clue what all the "i-thigamajigs are and what they do. I will NEVER give up my books for a Kindle....My sons bought me a photo printer to connect to my computer ....which I used once and then somehow, screwed everything up....but they didn't give up on their backward Mom....they bought me a camera and hooked me up for Skype......and when they call me, they are in total hysterics, by the time I get to them, position the camera and find the volume.......My eldest actually said, "Mom, there really is no hope for you, is there?" If I want to use my GPS, which is very rare, because I am not trusted to DRIVE anywhere without a co-pilot.....someone has to program it for me.

Now...all of this would cause someone to doubt that the reality is, I have a genius I.Q.......because whenever I mention this, it takes quite awhile for the laughter to die down.....Well, there is a perfectly logical explanation. Children outgrow their clothes......Modern Technology has out grown my brain. I deserve sympathy!!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

You're welcome RTatlloni.

Hawaiiandodysseus, I know what you mean. I have given several books to family and friends but I think the most treasured is one I gave my in-laws with pictures of my father-in-law during the war...scanned in of course. They are truly great with so many ideas to choose from.

I did some for my kids too Moonlake, including baby pictures so they wouldn't get lost!

Oh my dear, dear Effer. We really need to live closer. Your sense of humor and my sense of technology could keep us going for years. I'm afraid, however, we would get totally lost as my sense of direction and your sense of direction would lead us very far astray! You temporarily have my sympathy, until you catch up, which I know you will GF.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Then there's always just staying we don't get lost. Half the day, you can teach me and the other half, we'll sit around and laugh our asses off....and then when Larry's had enough.....I guess we'll have to settle down a bit. Oh, believe me, I am determined to learn....I've already checked around for classes.....It's never too late...(for SOME things) LOL!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Ah my dear GF we share a spirit for sure! Laughing is the best and Larry just leaves the room when he's had enough, I know from experience ;)

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

I love photo books. They are so fun to make and look at. Addicting, indeed! I've only used Shutterfly and found it to be very user friendly. Hey, did you get a daily award for this? I thought I saw it in the forum. If so, congrats!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for reading Deb and yes, I did get a daily reward for this...can you imagine? I was stunned but of course happy. Thanks for noticing!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Mary, Great hub. We had a photo book made for my in laws when they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and I have to say, the results were very impressive and they were so thrilled with the book. I have used Snapfish photo editing software but didn't realise they did this as well. I will definitely look into it because I want to get all of my daughter's baby photos in photo books, they're all loose and untidy.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Good luck with your baby pictures! I've finally started doing my digital photos...starting with Christmases....enjoy!

Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

My daughter sent me a mug with a collage of photos on it from Snapfish last as a Christmas gift. I love it. Voted up and shared.

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Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

Wonderful hub. :)

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Great information and so detailed. I am happy to share on my Google+ profile and I am sure to revisit this one too. Vote up and useful.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I really need to check these out, I never do anything like this, and it looks a great idea, I love taking photos, I really must do something with them, wonderful!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Sherry I've given gifts from photobooks, to cutting boards with pictures. One year I made each family member their own calendar with a different picture for each took forever but they loved them!

Thanks Sophia.

Christy glad you enjoyed. Thanks so much for sharing and the votes!

I think you'll love it Nell....with your creativity you'll have a blast!

Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Interesting hub and I have got to take a look at these sights. I use winkflash a lot, but have not been super happy with the quality. I have also seen snapfish products and they look really professional. Thanks!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Very welcome Glimmer. I'm sure you'd be happy with either site as they are the top two!

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Stopping back in to tell you that your hub is a hug hit from where I shared it :) Great job and wanted to let you know many people agree! Take care

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you so much Christy....needless to say it is nice to know my hub is a hit!

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    Mary Craig (tillsontitan)945 Followers
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    What better way to preserve our memories than photographs? Mary loves taking pictures and sharing them along with her knowledge about them.

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