Snapfish

Snapfish (8.5 x 11-inch calendar for $19.99) misses the mark with calendar creation, especially when compared to competitors such as Shutterfly, Mixbook and even Picaboo. The interface may look sensible, but it's poorly organized, has limited editing tools and is time-consuming to use. What's more, the inconsistent photo reproduction in our printed calendar ranged from very good to poor.

Creating your calendar

On the surface, Snapfish's interface looks as though it should be relatively simple to use. The layouts are editable, and it has easy, interactive cursor control to adjust the size, placement and rotation of photos, clip art and text. The tabbed sidebar is intelligently divided into areas for photos, layouts, templates, backgrounds, clip art, text and date options.

However, the organization of backgrounds, clip art and other components is not searchable, and it's very difficult to find specific styles, subjects, colors and textures. That's because the content is organized into meaningless groups, such as Chic Family, Family Moments, and In the Moment. So when we wanted to find something with fireworks in it or a bubbly peach/white background, we had to click through several categories. For this specific reason, it took us much longer to create our calendar with Snapfish than with any of the other services we tested.

The backgrounds spread nicely across both the photos page and the date grid page, and you can drag photos into date boxes as well as add text below individual dates. However, you can't place clip art or text onto the dates page. You can crop your photos or rotate them (in 90-degree increments) within their placeholders, but Snapfish has no photo effects, drop shadow, borders or shape cutouts. 



The printed calendar

The photos in our original Snapfish printed calendar were generally decent (though not good); others were gray and flat. Snapfish was very happy to try a reprint for free. The reprint was nicer than the original, with a bit more detail in shadows and a smidge more magenta, and the midpoint of the midtones was nudged a bit darker. However, the reprint's photo reproduction still wasn't even close to as nice as Shutterfly's or Mixbook's. Instead, it was all over the place, with ratings (on a scale from 1 to 10) as low as 3.5, several in the 7 to 8.5 range and one as high as 9.5.

Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuideCredit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuideThe cover (8), February (7.5), April (8), June (8.5), July (9) and December (9.5) had decent to nice skin tone, though with varying quality of details, contrast and dynamic range. On the other hand, the August photo — which was one of the nicest among the original images because of its great exposure, vibrant color and high dynamic range — rated only a 4 in the Picaboo calendar, because it reproduced as dull, dark and greenish, with low saturation. In the September double photo layout (4.5), the left picture had nice tone and color but was missing details in the shadows; the right picture was muddy, gray, flat and dark. Both October pictures (3.5) were dull and dark, with terrible color and blocky shadows.

Calendar options and other products offered

Snapfish's traditional paper wall calendars are available in the following sizes: 8.5 x 11 inches for $19.99, 11 x 14 inches for $34.99 and 12 x 12 inches for $27.99. In addition, Snapfish offers a 10 x 5-inch desk calendar for $9.99 or $16.99 with a faux leather stand.

Snapfish offers a comprehensive collection of other photo products as well. These include cards (folded and flat); photo books; mugs; pillows and blankets; cases for phones, tablets and laptops; key chains; aprons; tote bags; playing cards; jigsaw puzzles; charms; and luggage tags. Prints include a wide range of sizes on paper (4 x 6 inches to 20 x 30 inches), plus photos on canvas, wood and aluminum. Print options also include a square format and frames.

Bottom line

Given the difficulty we had in finding and using Snapfish's backgrounds and clip art — and the uneven, unsatisfactory quality of our calendar's photo reproduction — we cannot recommend Snapfish for creating a calendar. If you want easy-to-use, fun software, go with Mixbook, but for the best print quality, we recommend Shutterfly.

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  • PhodogCO
    Ugh, read reviews on Shutterfy before using. Their customer service has gone way downhill. They charge $40 for "guaranteed delivery date," which turns out only means your order is scheduled to be delivered on that date, but will likely not arrive in time. Customer service is not helpful, I called several times the day before a very important guaranteed delivery was scheduled to arrive and each time customer service gave me a different answer as to when the order would arrive at its destination; responses varied from 1-7 days. The guaranteed delivery order finally arrived 6 days after it was supposed to arrive. Customer service (via phone) has apparently been outsourced to a foreign country and you can expect to be disconnected at least once (though they will call you back). I believe live chat is now conducted via a programmed robot. Customer service can only follow a script; if your situation falls outside of a script you are out of luck. Very impersonal.
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