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Snapfish review

As a whole, Snapfish is an above-average service for creating photo books, cards, and calendars, but it’s nowhere as good as Mixbook or Printique

Snapfish review
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

As a whole, Snapfish is an above-average service for creating photo books, cards, and calendars, but it’s nowhere as good as Mixbook or Printique.

For

  • Attractive editable templates
  • Variable size photo borders
  • Easy photo date box event creation

Against

  • No search engine for backgrounds
  • Limited color selection and text tools

Snapfish is a popular photo site for a reason. It’s fun to use Snapfish’s flexible, creative software. However, I was often frustrated by its limitations. And my printed projects were generally nice, with limitations that rated them average of just slightly above average. If you create a photo book, card, or calendar from Snapfish, you’ll be pleased with the results, but there are other services that have better software and higher quality printed products at the same or nearly the same prices.

Snapfish review: Prices

Snapfish photo books
An 8 x 8-inch hardcover book starts at $29.99. Snapfish has a wide range of other sizes and styles. For instance, additional standard hardcover books include 6 x 8 ($14.99), 8 x 11 ($39.99), and 12 x 12 ($59.99). Softcovers start at $12.99 for a 5 x 7-inch book. Snapfish’s layflat books start at $39.99 for an 8 x 8-inch book. And leather covered hardcovers start at $39.99 for an 8 x 11-inch book.

Snapfish calendars
Our test 8.5 x 11-inch wall calendar cost $19.99. Other sizes include 11.5 x 14 ($39.99), 12 x 12 ($27.99), and 9 x 12 ($34.99, premium stationery). Snapfish also offers flip desk calendars starting at $9.99 and wood block desk calendars (consisting of 12 cards and a wood easel) for $24.99.

Snapfish photo cards
Our text 5 x 7-inch card on standard cardstock cost $2.00 each for 20 cards. Discounts are available for volume purchases. For instance, 100 cards would be $1.85 each, and 160 cards would be $1.75 each. Blank white envelopes are included; adding a printed return address to the back of the envelope costs 25 cents each additional, or 30 cents each for a printed address with a design (selected from four). Switching to premium cardstock increases the base price to $2.50 each, but that also includes free trim options and printed return address.

Snapfish review: Software

Snapfish’s software is almost identical to Costco Photo Center and Walmart Photos, because the latter two license their software from Snapfish. Of the three, Snapfish has more content and options, which makes it appear on the surface to be comprehensive and easy to use. However, 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.

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Snapfish gave me the freedom to fully customize by book, calendar or card regardless of the template, design or layout I chose. Each photo or text placeholder 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 easy to spread a photo over two facing pages in my book by simply clicking and dragging. 

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Using the basic photo editing tools, I could easily crop my photo, apply one of the eight filters, use sliders to edit brightness and contrast, and turn fill flash, color correction and/or auto contrast on or off. The comparatively new search engine made the large clip art library more accessible than in the past. And the width of photo borders are controlled by an eight-step slider, which is far more flexible than the fixed widths of Shutterfly’s and Costco’s borders.

Unfortunately, Snapfish’s interface has a number of frustrating limitations and missing tools. The large library of backgrounds has no search engine and is organized into obscure, non-descriptive categories. The text tool has no italics, underline or bold, and the interface has no drop shadow for text, photos or clip art. All colors – for text, borders and solid backgrounds – are selected from unnamed color blocks. Furthermore, the borders library has no recently-used area, as there is for background and text colors. 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.

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In the calendar interface, creating a photographic date box event was a simple drag and drop onto any date box in the calendar grid. Or double-click on a date box, to open a window for adding both a photo and a caption to the date, as well as zooming/panning the photo within the date and/or opening the photo edit window. The date caption has full use of the text tool.

Snapfish review: Print Quality

Snapfish photo book
Snapfish’s printed photo book isn’t quite up to par. Even after just a few openings and closings, the binding glue was already separating. The black end papers have a bit of texture, but no flyleaf. The semi-gloss paper is an okay weight, with a pleasant smooth feel.

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The photos were generally lively, but don’t have a good depth of color or full dynamic range. Photographs are warmer than the original. In some pictures, the warmth was exaggerated and unappealing, but in others, the added warmth was appealing. Though details tend to be diminished in the highlights, sharpness is generally good. The type has jagged edges and messy margins.

Snapfish calendar
The photo quality on our calendar was uneven. Generally, colors were warmer than the originals, but some were overexposed while others had deepened shadows with an accompanying loss of details in the shadows. And yet a number of photos had bang-on good exposure.

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Transitions were good except where shadows were too dark. The focus was okay, though not always crisp. The dot pattern is visible, though not to the extent of Costco’s or CVS’s calendars. The type has some ink dropout, and edges are messy, due to the dot pattern. The smooth average quality paper has a good weight.

Snapfish photo cards
Snapfish’s printed postcard is clean and attractive with better than average photo quality. The photos were colorful, though not as lively as Mixbook.

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The pictures are a bit washed out, and slightly soft, but they have good details. Type is well formed type with a good density of ink. The smooth paper is a good weight with a pleasant feel.

Snapfish review: Verdict

Snapfish is an average to above-average photo print service. While Snapfish's templates are fully editable, creativity is still frustrated by the poor organization of backgrounds, the restrictive color system, and other software deficiencies. The printed book, calendar and card were average to slightly above average quality. You won’t be disappointed with a photo book, card, or calendar from Snapfish, but for similar prices, Mixbook or Printique have far more versatile and powerful software and top-notch print quality.