Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shutterfly. Just do it.

It's time for a little commercial for a favorite product of mine. You probably knew about it long before I did, but just in case...

I now present to you my very favorite way to get my photos in print: (drumroll, and dah dah-dah dahhhhh!)

There are a gazillion photo book services out there. I have used four of them. Let me tell you what is so great about Shutterfly. (And no, they're not paying me to tell you this, but they should.)

1. The product is beautiful. Great color, crisp pictures, and LOTS of backgrounds and layouts to choose from. WAY more than the others I've tried. And as a recovering scrapbook store addict, I can tell you that having lots of free backgrounds to choose is just heavenly. :-)

2. The user interface is far superior to all of the others. Combined. Not that you don't have quite a few things to figure out, but if you are willing to click around (which you probably are if you're on blogger), you can do this!

3. Great deals all the time. Their regular prices are very reasonable, but these people come up with one special after another. If one offer is over, wait a few days to order, and there will be another. Compared to what I used to spend to buy film, print pictures, and put them in scrapbooks, I am saving a ton of money.

4. They are fast. They have an average of one day turnaround in my experience, before the book is on its way. Of course, they say to allow 3-4 days. The last two I did arrived within a week.

Not all services are created equal. I had a nightmare experience with a company this summer that was having a half price sale, which was a great deal. I didn't need a lot of flexibility with background choices, so what they offered was fine. What I didn't realize was that they were WAYYY understaffed for the surge in orders accompanying the bargain, and it took over a month. Most unfortunate, since it was meant to be used for a special event that came and went while they tried to dig out from under their pile. But enough about that.

Here's our vacation book. The pictures I wanted on the cover were a little busy, so I chose a solid background and a fun spine pattern.

Remember that guy on the end of the pier at sunset? Yeah, he only made the blog. Not my sunset collage.

There are layouts for any number of pictures, and in most cases the option to add text.

But the best thing about Shutterfly photo books?

My family adores them, and they make wonderful gifts!

If you just need to have a blank page and lay out all of the elements yourself scrapbook style, my recommendation is It's awesome--but takes longer, a bit more expensive, especially on shipping, and is a little more cumbersome. But very, very fun!

Now it's time to go work on my latest project. How about you? Do you have a favorite photo book service? Do your pictures make it out of the computer?


Vic said...

Very, Very interesting and informative thank you for your advice!

Betty said...

I didn´t even know about photo books. I´m checking it out and hopefully they ship internationally!
Thanks for the tip!

Joy said...

I usually make an annual book for myself using one of the sites. I haven't used Shutterfly for a photo book yet, but this time I will. Thanks for the recommendation. Your books look great. Glad that sunset stealer guy didn't make your book.
BUT, I do use the Shutterfly webpage. It's free.
I created one.
I've had it going for about a year.
You can check out my webpage.
Now that school is back in, I may start on my 2008 book.


Dea said...

Those look awesome, looks like you did a terrific job! When i have big batches of photos i order them off of snapfish. They do an excellent job as well i think and they are cheap. And the sunset collage looks sweet!

Julie said...

I have used shutterfly for many different things and like it a lot but not for scrapbooking, more for gifts... but maybe I should.

I use and they are AWESOME. You download Blurb smart software and it stays on your computer so you don't have to be online. The paper quality and picture quality is awesome. It is really great for photos and Betty, they ship internationally. But it is pricey. I learned about it doing my blog book and they slurp your whole blog in and then you just add it the way you want it.

I have a question, what is the book your son is holding? Is it one you made up? Looks like a "real" story book. ")

Tiffany said...

I love Shutterfly, too! I am currently working on a book for my stepmom of our summer trip up there and all the work we did. I'm so excited about it I've put off ordering it b/c I'm afraid I will want to send it before Christmas!

I've also used Snapfish for photo printing and other photo items, but not books.

And my mom just sent Drake a book of their Chuck E. Cheese trip that she did at InkU - the colors were very crisp and vivid. But I've had no personal experience with InkU yet.

Thanks for sharing!

StitchinByTheLake said...

Thanks for this tip Tracy. I need to do something about printing some pictures I've made this last year and didn't know what to do. Maybe I can figure this one out! blessings, marlene

stefanie said...

Have used Snapfish for books. I was pleased, but the pics seem a bit darker than I expected, and grainier. Will have to try shutterfly. Thanks!

Janette said...

I did one of those after our trip to Disney and need to do one of our trip to South Dakota. So fun and fast and we can look at the finished product (unlike the baskets of pictures in my craft room waiting to be scrap-booked!)