The Best Photo Calendar Printing Services

Calendars filled with personalized pictures make for great gifts that the recipient can cherish all through 2019.  There are dozens of calendar-creation services, but not all of them are created equal when it comes to making a great looking calendar with a minimum of fuss.

Shutterfly calendarsShutterfly calendarsBased on more than 40 hours of testing that included eight services, Shutterfly is our top pick for photo calendars, because its calendar had the best and most consistent photo reproduction of all the services we tested. Mixbook is also worth your consideration if you want the most flexibility and creative options.

Many of these services often offer promotions and deals for calendars and other photo products—as much as 50 percent off, in some cases—so be sure to compare their discounted rates before choosing one for your needs.

Apple Photo was our pick for the best value, because it produced a very attractive calendar for a reasonable price. However, Apple has discontinued its photo printing service; if you are using Apple Photos to put together photo calendars, Apple recommends downloading a third-party app that includes a Photos Projects extension; currently, of our favorite services, only Shutterfly has an extension for Photos.

Photo Calendar Services Ranked

1. Shutterfly ( on From $12.99) (9/10 stars, Editors' Choice winner) - Shutterfly Review
2. Apple Photo ( on From $19.99) (8/10 stars, Editors' Choice winner)
3. Mixbook ( on From $24.99)
(8/10 stars, Editors' Choice winner)
4. Picaboo ( on From $24.99)
(7/10 stars)
5. Snapfish ( on From $9.99)
(5/10 stars)
6. Costco Photo ( on From $16.99)
(5/10 stars)
7. Amazon Print ( on From $14.99)
(5/10 stars)
8. Walmart Photo ( on From $9.99) (3/10 stars)

How We Test and Rate Photo Calendar Services

In rating the calendar-creation software, we used the following criteria:

  • Ease of use
  • User interface & workflow
  • Functionality
  • Creative flexibility
  • Quality of templates, clip art, layouts and backgrounds

When we had all our printed calendars, we gathered a jury of print and photography experts to rate them, based on the following criteria:

  • Overall appeal and quality of the physical calendar
  • Photo quality
  • Color and skin tones
  • Dynamic range and exposure
  • Focus and clarity
  • Balancing of the diverse pictures

To keep the jury's judging blind, each calendar was identified by a number rather than the company's name. However, some calendars had the vendors' names printed on the last page. So we discouraged the jury from looking on the back of the calendars until after the judging.

Since the pictures are the whole point behind creating and sharing calendars, we gave the greatest weight to photo quality. We also took into consideration the quality of the paper stock and the cost of the calendars.

Shutterfly creates a calendar that has very good photo quality. The color, exposure, dynamic range and clarity is very good, and did the best job in balancing our diverse collection of photos,

The overall quality of Shutterfly's printed calendar was extremely appealing, with a good weight, vellum-like paper, and a very nice level of customization. Shutterfly's calendar software, however, was occasionally nonintuitive, and its content and functionality wasn't quite as comprehensive as Mixbook's.

The price for an Apple Photo calendar isn't the lowest, but it is the best price for a very good quality calendar that you would be proud to give as a gift. Just keep in mind that Apple's calendar software doesn't allow nearly as much creative control as Mixbook or Shutterfly.

Mixbook's calendar software is the best of any we've tested. Its great flexibility, creativity, functionality and content are bundled in an intelligent, easy-to-use interface. However, while the printed calendar is generally good, its photos weren't as well-balanced as Shutterfly's.

Other Photo Book Services Tested

How We Test Photo Calendar Services

When creating a photo calendar, most people assemble a diverse collection of photographs, taken at different times of the year under a variety of lighting conditions and with various devices. This can be challenging to calendar printing services, requiring them to balance the different exposures and color temperatures so all the pictures will look good together.

To emulate this typical scenario, we assembled a wide range of photos of people with their pets from our friends and fans. The photos we collected were taken mostly by amateurs, though some were serious hobbyists and one was a professional. The devices they used to capture the photos ranged from phones and tablets to point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs. We didn't edit any of the pictures other than to crop a few to fit.

We then designed a 12-month calendar with these photos. To test how flexible and creative each service is, we included angled text, overlapping elements, and rotated and resized photos and chip art. When creating the calendar, we sought out the best templates, layouts, clip art, text and backgrounds each service offered. However, some interfaces were more difficult to navigate and had libraries that weren't searchable, which made it problematic to find the content we sought for our design.

Credit: Tom's Guide

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    Your comment
  • 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.
  • somebodynamedsteve
    Today, December 2, 2017, I spent over 4 hours perfecting a 2017 family calendar. This would have been my 3rd year of buying calendars from Shutterfly,

    During checkout I was informed that calendars are "out of stock" and "unavailable." Why didn't they informed me before I invest 4 hours on my project?

    I put a call in Shutterfly Customer Service and put my telephone number in queue for a return call. It's been 5 hours and they have not returned my call.

    Access to my calendar project the I worked on all morning is now "unavailable."

    DO NOT BUY FROM SHUTTERFLY! They do not respect their customer time and don't return calls.
  • davolson
    I have to agree with somebodynamedsteve. I have been making a couple calendars a year from Shutterfly for more than ten years. The photos are nicely printed, I have NOT had trouble with delayed delivery, but their site in my opinion has been destroyed by over complicated bloatware like menus. It's nearly impossible to make a simple calendar from scratch using basic, EASILY found backgrounds. Last night, same story. Over 8 hours to work on a calendar. Looked for some of my old favorite textures and on that option alone loaded up over 1400 tiny color swatches. If you want to try or see one you have to go to the added step of adding it to your project. This season used to be fun creating calendars for the family.. we quit at midnight and gave up on the last one. TOO piddly now. Will be switching companies.
  • suecag
    We created calendars using Shutterfly for 4 years (along with many other products), but no more. It's incredibly buggy. The calendar dates are incorrect or have strange formatting. Dates are just mysteriously missing - can we really have a calendar without March 31st? As someone else said, customer support used to be good, but now it's abysmal. They did nothing to help. We are now using another vendor.
  • van123987
    The customer service is very pathetic.No proper coordination between Vista print and courier team .They charged extra for guaranteed delivery but still not arrived .I order calender on 16th Dec it was suppose to be delivered on 18/19th dec,today is 23rd Dec still waiting .Every time I call they give next day confirmation .As per courier team now it will be delivered on 26th Dec . Would never order again.
  • shayes76
    If you want to spend hours loading photos and then receive your calendar with the photos turned sideways and heads cropped out, this is your place. Can't wait for August where my wife is walking on the beach... upside down. Just threw out 2 calendars... and $30. 12/23/17
  • noseyparrot
    Bad feedback on Shutterfly surprised me a little. The only negative thing I've heard of the service is that a customer can't choose covers. Well, I have no troubles with creating photo calendars since I've got Photo Calendar Creator. You can design your own calendar - different kinds of calendars (from a wall poster to a pocket calendar), you choose the background and can add any photos and collages. It's you who will resize, crop and place the pictures. It's you who will choose the month grid style. You'll never get any date missing. And you won't have to wait for the delivery - just send your calendar to a SD card and take it to a print shop. Look at the calendars that were made in the program: