Apple Photos (13 x 10-inch calendar for $19.99) is a convenient Mac utility with helpful photo organizing, editing and sharing tools that also offers some photo products. In keeping with Apple's philosophy of making sure anyone can use its software, the calendar creation interface puts simplicity first at the expense of creativity and power. However, the printed calendar we produced with them is boring and has inconsistent photo reproduction
Creating Your Calendar
Apple Photos' calendar creation interface is extremely easy to use for the simple reason that it offers few options or creative choices. It has very limited templates and layouts, which can't be edited. You can add photos and text only in predefined placeholders that are rigidly fixed in position. You can choose a background color, which extends to cover both the upper photo page and the date grid page. However, Photos has no other backgrounds than solid colors, and no clip art, object rotation, drop shadow or borders. The software's focus is on photos. Therefore, all of Photos' edit commands are available through the connection to the full Photos app. Immediately accessible tools within the calendar interface include some nice filters (Mono, Tonal, Noir, Fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer, Instant and Sepia), plus zoom and crop. Photos has no option for adding pictures to date blocks, but you can type text under the dates. In addition, a checkmark option adds national holidays with a choice of country, and you can add birthdays from your Apple contacts.
While the software has the option to add a single photo to the back cover of the calendar, Apple's print engine rendered our properly placed back cover photo upside down. We had to remove it before the calendar could be printed.
The Printed Calendar
Both the first and reprinted Apple calendars had inconsistent photo quality.
Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuideThough the pictures in the reprinted calendar were slightly brightened, with some sharpening applied, our jury's page ratings ranged from a low of 3.5 up to 9.5 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Some of the pictures looked quite attractive, such as the great skin tone, good saturation and nice contrast in the August picture. However, the printed February photo (the original of which is a nicely exposed picture) appears dark and dull (rated a 4). Also underexposed and flat are the pictures for April (3.5), May (7.5), June (5) and July (4).
Overall, the majority of the pictures tend to have flattened dynamic range with none of the sparkle or life of Shutterbug's calendar.
Calendar Options & Other Products Offered
Apple Photos has only one kind of calendar available: a 13 x 10-inch traditional paper wall calendar. However, you can choose the length of the calendar, from 12 to 24 months. The 12-month calendar costs $19.99, plus $1.49 for each additional month.
Other photo projects available in Photos are limited to books, cards and slideshows. Photo print sizes range from 4 x 6 inches up to 20 x 30, and include some unusual ones, such as 5 x up to 22.5 inches long.
Apple Photos may be a nice photo organizer, but its calendar creation interface is severely limited. What's more, the photos in the printed calendar are highly uneven in quality, unlike those in the Shutterfly's calendar, which were consistently appealing and vibrant. Despite its reasonable price for an oversize calendar, we can't recommend Apple Photos for your calendar.