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Photo Book Reviews: Smilebox, Shutterfly, Winkflash

Updated on May 1, 2015
VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne loves crafts and scrapbooking. She shares her original ideas and tips for how to make crafts quickly and easily.

Photo Book Gift Ideas

Photo Book Makes a Great Personalized Gift: Even when I'm shopping for a gift, I love to get a deal. I also like finding personalized gifts that I can made with photos. What is great about these gifts is that once you have made one photo album father's day gift or other occasion, you can change a few of the photos and captions to give it to your niece who is graduation, grandma for her birthday, and Uncle Mike for Christmas.

Save Time and Money by Ordering Several of Same Book. You can even change the whole style of the book but keep the photos and other text the same. Don't forget to order one for yourself too.

Use Uploaded Photos for other Photo Gifts: Another idea is using those same photos you uploaded for other gifts, like a photo tie for dad (Snapfish), a calendar for your college grad to take with them to school, or a special mug as a thank you gift for teachers.

Sample Smilebox Scrapbook Pages

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Smilebox:  as you can see, there are a variety of designs and colors.  On many designs you have a choice of number of elements and paper background.Year at a Glance Smilebox sampleYear at a Glance SmileboxSmilebox:  each scrapbook design has 4 to 10 different coordinating layoutsSmilebox: each design also allows you to insert video and music.  You can send these free to and unlimited number of people, or pay a fee to download them and burn to DVD or else print.
Smilebox:  as you can see, there are a variety of designs and colors.  On many designs you have a choice of number of elements and paper background.
Smilebox: as you can see, there are a variety of designs and colors. On many designs you have a choice of number of elements and paper background. | Source
Year at a Glance Smilebox sample
Year at a Glance Smilebox sample | Source
Year at a Glance Smilebox
Year at a Glance Smilebox | Source
Smilebox:  each scrapbook design has 4 to 10 different coordinating layouts
Smilebox: each scrapbook design has 4 to 10 different coordinating layouts | Source
Smilebox: each design also allows you to insert video and music.  You can send these free to and unlimited number of people, or pay a fee to download them and burn to DVD or else print.
Smilebox: each design also allows you to insert video and music. You can send these free to and unlimited number of people, or pay a fee to download them and burn to DVD or else print. | Source

Smilebox Offers Beautiful Photo Scrapbooks

Smilebox offers professional looking photo scrapbooks. Smilebox is one of my favorite sites for making all sort of free emailed invitations, scrapbooks, slideshows and more. Not only can you include lots of photos, but you can also put short videos right in the slideshow or scrapbook. They let you email these to anyone in your email box (or everyone!) for free. You can also post these right into Facebook or even your blog site. I sent out a letter for Christmas, but I also posted it on Facebook for people to see that I didn't get a mail version to right away.

Smilebox has New Designs each Week: Sometimes the selection of styles is limited but Smilebox is adding new designs every week, generally relating to the season of the year or typical events we all like to scrapbook like birthdays, sports teams or school.

Smilebox is Fast and Easy: What is absolutely the best thing about Smilebox is how easy it is to make an album. What they do better than other sites is have the design work done right on your computer so that you don't have to choose and upload the pictures first. Instead, you download the design, quickly choose the pictures right out of your folders and then put everything together on your desktop.

Kids can Make and Share Scrapbooks on Smilebox. Smilebox is so easy to do that my kids started making their own Smilebox creations when they were in Kindergarten. Another bonus is that all the creations look fantastic. Smilebox is a great deal and a fun website. Have your kids make some scrapbooks to keep them busy! It is free and fun!

Try Smilebox for Free: You can join for free for a 7 day trial and there is no cost for as many downloads and prints as you want. To continue your membership is about $30 a year. I think it is well worth it to be able to download and print or make your creations into a DVD, especially since your kids can use this to make gifts too. However, you don't have to pay anything to view it digitally and email it to people. Sometimes they offer free designs and you can also buy a single design for a couple of dollars. Smilebox is a great resource for moms and families!

Smilebox and Photo Books: Recently, Smilebox has started offering photo books. You can take the pages you make on the site and have them turned into a book. You can also save the pages on your computer and then load them up to Shutterfly and Winkflash to make into a book.

Shutterfly Offers Best Quality and Good Deals

Shutterfly Offers Top Quality Photo Books: Shutterfly has the very best quality of photo gifts and their photo books are especially well done. The photos always come out with beautiful color. They let you edit the photos on each page so that you can eliminate red-eye, crop them and even change them to black and white, sepia (brownish tones) or make the pictures more vivid. They are continually updating their offerings and allowing you more choices of embellishments or "stickers" on pages. You can have them make a book for you, but I often end up customizing the book myself because their "simple path" puts the wrong photos as highlights.

Shutterfly has some of the best deals around. I know from experience that they let you use several codes on one order. If you don't have any codes, you can buy them very inexpensively on E-Bay. Check out their website for the latest deals. Shutterfly also works great for digital scrapbooks. If you make an album with all one picture pages, you can just put in your digital scrapbooking pages instead of a picture. I do this all the time. You can use Smilebox to make a photo album at Shutterfly easily that way.

Tip: Make Up Your Gift Photo Album and Wait for a Deal: Shutterfly offers deals so often that I often make an album and then wait for a deal to come up. If you sign up for their site, they will also send you emails with extra deals. I've also found lots of free albums from Travelocity (when I wrote a review for their site they gave me a free album), Lifetouch (when I ordered school pictures they gave me a free album--worth more than the pictures I ordered), and software (when my daughter got her new computer, the Adobe Elements Software included a free Shutterfly album). So watch out for these special deals. Once Shutterfly sent me a coupon for a free album via email, so that is another incentive to sign up with them.

Excellent Desktop Calendar from Shutterfly: One of my favorite Shutterfly gifts is their desktop calendar. I gave these to everyone at Christmas and the quality is top-notch with thick paper and great printing of the photos. This can be a great way to honor dad or a graduate--maybe start the calendar at the date they are going off to school with a picture of favorite places at home? Their family and friends who are wishing them the best? Pictures of them growing up to show friends?

Other Shutterfly Photo Gifts are top Quality: Shutterfly has an assortment of other photo gifts on sale all the time. Go to the site to see the latest deal on Mugs, aprons, T-shirts, desk organizers, coasters and stationary sets.

Winkflash has Cheapest Deals for Large Photo Books

Winkflash is Quantity rather than Quality: Winkflash quality is not quite up to Shutterfly but they offer some of the very best deals on stretched canvas photos and photo books.

Winkflash has best rates on Canvas Photo Gifts: Frequently, they offer 60% off of large canvas enlargements. This is a great deal because with a canvas enlargement, you don't need a frame, so the only cost is the canvas itself. Moreover, a canvas looks more professional and expensive than a large photo.

Canvas Photo Gift Ideas: We often think about a canvas being a picture of a family or a family reunion and those are great uses, but there are other ways to use a canvas photo as a gift.

  • How about giving dad a picture of his favorite fishing spot or his first car?
  • You could give grandpa a picture of his Harley or his garden.
  • Maybe Uncle Jason doesn't have kids. You could give him a picture of his dog, his favorite toy as a kid or his favorite vacation spot.
  • Of course Grandma would love a picture of her grand-kids, but she also might like a picture of her favorite flowers instead of a bouquet. Be creative!

Winkflash offers the cheapest prices for Photo Books with lots of pages. My strategy is to make up a large photo book and then wait for their Flat rate photo book sale. This is a fabulous way to make a large album at a reasonable price. They let you have an album with 100 pages for the price of a 20 page album! Usually, the code offer is ALL BOOKS. Don't worry if you don't see the code discount until the final checkout. This is a great way to get a 100 page book for $16.00 to $40.00 depending on the size you choose.

Winkflash is Cheapest for Big Photo Book: I usually make a Winkflash book when I have a large group of Smilebox pictures I want to put together in an album. However, like Shutterfly, Winkflash also lets you make up your own album right on the site with a variety of backgrounds and styles available. Another fun thing about Winkflash is that they let you put a photo or scrapbook page on the cover, so your cover can be personalized.

Easy Winkflash photobook


Photo Scrapbook Poll

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    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      2 years ago from The High Seas

      Thank you, Virginia! It's always nice when someone takes the time to give you some help and advice. I am now following you eagerly =)

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      Hi Dale--Yes, Shutterfly does print on canvas, metal and glass as well as high-quality art paper. The nice part about these services, is that they will ship directly to a customer. I've considered using that to sell my own work in fact.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      2 years ago from The High Seas

      I had never heard of Winkflash before so thank you fro bringing that to my attention. A friend of mine is an artist who is looking for a way to make her art available to her customers. She was thinking she might be able to use an online service and have her art printed on canvas. Do you think the services you talked about above could help her do that?


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