Snapfish is one of the biggest names in online printing. But that doesn't mean it's one of the best. I found the software to be frustrating to use, and the quality was disappointing for the printed book, calendar and card. For the best photo books, best photo cards and best photo calendars, we recommend using Mixbook, which offers software that's more fun and a better workflow, along with better-quality print products at similar prices.
|Overall product rating||Software rating||Printed product rating|
What I liked
Attractive, fully editable templates
Regardless of the template, design or layout I chose, I could fully customize it. Each photo or text place holder or piece of clip art was easy to resize, reshape, rotate, zoom, pan or delete. To add a photo, I could just drag one onto the page or click to add text.
It was also very easy to spread a photo over two facing pages in my book by simply clicking and dragging. Or I could click on the two-page icon to have the picture fill both pages. Margin guidelines helped me avoid having important areas of a picture fall in the crease between the pages.
The photo-editing tools aren’t extensive, but they're very easy to use and cover most of the basics: crop; a handful of filters; sliders for brightness and contrast; and on/off buttons for fill flash, color correction and auto contrast. Unfortunately, Snapfish has no drop shadow.
Variable photo borders
Unlike Shutterfly and Costco, Snapfish has photo borders that can be individually adjusted to eight different widths, controlled by a simple slider.
Customizable calendar grid
I could drag and drop a photo (but not clip art) directly onto any date box in the calendar grid. If you double-click on a date box, it opens a window where you can add both a photo and a caption to the date, as well as zoom the photo within the date or open the photo-edit window.
What I disliked
When I got into the nitty gritty of making my book, calendar and card, I came up against frustrating limitations that made for a clunky workflow.
Clip art chaos
Snapfish's large library of clip art has no search engine. So I wasted time and suffered lots of frustration trying to find just the right piece of clip art when I was searching for something outside a common category, such as Christmas.
All colors — for text, borders and solid backgrounds — are selected from unnamed color blocks. That means that when I tried to match, for instance, my text color to the page's photo borders, the frustrating process involved scrolling through the blocks then hunting and pecking for the right color. Furthermore, the borders window has no holding area for recently used colors, though there is one for background and text colors. Incidentally, the cards interface has no photo borders.
Limited text tool
The text tool has no italics, underline or bold. However, I did like the option of filling the text box with a transparent background color, which can be a very attractive effect. Unfortunately, Snapfish's text-background fill doesn’t have Picaboo's opacity slider.
The printed projects
Snapfish photo book
Snapfish's photo book looked and felt cheap, with glue marks and a lack of end pages. The binding showed signs that it would likely separate easily.
Photos lacked a certain pop found with Mixbook and Printique.There was a loss of detail in some shadows and dark areas. While the color balance was generally good, some photos were too saturated, and the front-cover images were reddish with blocky shadows.
Custom type created with the text tool was very messy, with jagged and bleeding edges.
Snapfish's calendar is printed on average card stock. Its photo reproduction was not consistent. Most pictures (especially the darker images) don't have much vibrance. Lighter ones tended to be blown out and lacked saturation. In general, type was solid and clean, though some text had very slight jagged edges.
Printed on medium-weight card stock, the card's photos have a good exposure with nice highlights. However, colors shift toward magenta, and shadows are blocky. Type was solid, with some jagged edges.
Pricing and options
My 8 x 8-inch, 20-page, glossy, hardcover Snapfish book cost $29.99. The same book as a softcover would have been $19.99. An 8 x 8-inch layflat would have been $39.99, and a premium layflat $59.99.To have a matte cover on any of these books would have cost me $1.99 more. Other sizes range from 5 x 7 inches to 11 x 14 inches, and some are also available with linen or leather covers.
I paid $19.99 for my 8.5 x 11-inch wall calendar. An 11.5 x 14-inch wall calendar would have cost $34.99, and a 12 x 12-inch version would run $27.99. Desk calendars start at $9.99 and include a wood-block calendar that holds individual photo cards each month and sells for $24.99.
My 5 x 7-inch card cost $1.85 each for 20 cards. The price goes down when you buy in higher volume. For instance, the cost would be $1.70 each for 100 cards or $1.25 for 200. Choosing glossy or matte photo paper instead of the standard card stock would have cost 80 cents more per card. Blank white envelopes are included; adding a printed return address to the back of the envelope costs 20 cents for each additional envelope.
Switching to premium cardstock increases the base price to $2.25 each, but that also includes free trim options and printed return addresses. If I changed my card to 6 x 8 inches, that would have increased the price per card by 90 cents.
Snapfish has a wide range of other photo products, such as prints and posters, blankets and pillows, mugs and tumblers, bags and apparel, and jewelry and spiral notebooks.
While Snapfish's templates are fully editable, creativity is still hamstrung by the poor organization of clip art and backgrounds, along with other software limitations. Add to that the average and below-average ratings of the book, calendar and card, and Snapfish just isn't an online print service I can recommend. For more-creative software, better workflow and attractive print products, use Mixbook instead.