Patty Gale's Shutterfly User Photo Book Review
by Patty Gale
Everybody has someone on their Christmas list who is challenging to buy for. After a while, even if they are close family members, sometimes you just don't know what to get.
That is what our Christmas list was like this year. My family is out of state, it's really tough to get something both my mother-in-law and father-in-law can enjoy together, my son's girlfriend is overseas, so what to do?
Then it hit me!
The one thing that everybody loves are pictures and we had quite a year of family celebrations, all of which none of the grandparents were able to attend, so I knew that creating photo books for holiday gifts was the answer.
Next was in deciding the company to use. I had never made a photo book before, so I did a Google search and came up with 3 top companies, Kodak, Shutterfly and Picaboo.
Quality, of course, was most important followed by options and then price. I found a review video of several women in a blind review study and their choice was Shutterfly.com.
They were moms, after all, and had the physical product in hand, so I figured that was good enough for me.
I sat down at my computer for about 2 or so hours on Saturday afternoon, created a free Shutterfly account and started uploading digital photos to my account. That didn't take long at all.
Shutterfly makes it really simple for you as they have pre-formatted layouts that you can let the system find for you or you can choose your own layout on a page by page basis. It was very simple to figure out how to do, and since I'm pretty picky, I reviewed my layouts several times.
All you do is drop and drag your uploaded photos to the space on the layout and it automatically places the picture in the space.
You can also add text captions as well, choosing from a variety of fonts and choose from a really nice selection of color and themes as well.
Once I had my pictures placed on each page, then it came time to choose a cover. Covers, like backgrounds, come in a variety of colors as well as textures ranging from cloth to satin and suede-like.
I chose a burgundy cover in suede, with cream page backgrounds to stay consistent throughout the book.
Once I had everything complete, there was an order button that made it easy to add to the cart, add addresses and finish the checkout. I was also able to add a note, which I'm guessing is probably similar to the size cards that florists use.
I think one of the most intuitive features is that if you are ordering and sending to more than one address, you can do so in one pass through of the cart rather than having to place each order individually. Their system will tally up the total order and then will send each product to their respective recipients. Now, that is cool!
I saved a bundle on shipping because my total order was over $50 and they are running a holiday special for free shipping on orders over $50.
If I had to place each order separately, I would not have been able to take advantage of the special.
That was on Saturday afternoon. I received email notification through the entire process from the confirmation of my order, to when production began to when the photo book was shipped.
Kudos to Shutterfly for a great order process, but how will the photo books pass the grandma test?
My mom called me today and I could hear immediately, by the tone in her voice, that she must have received the book.
She LOVED it! She hasn't yet seen my sons in uniform and it's been a couple of years since she's seen Emily, so this gift just meant the world to her.
Aside from the heartfelt emotions I'm sure she must have felt, she said the book itself is absolutely beautiful and the quality is superb. Whew, it passed the grandma test!
My mother-in-law also received hers today, although she hasn't opened the box yet, so she really doesn't know what is inside. She said she's going to wait until Christmas.
My son's girlfriend is in Germany, and I needed to make sure that Shutterfly will ship to APO addresses and they do. I changed up a few of the photos for her book to include some of her and my son, which I know she will love.
I just ordered hers today, although Shutterfly delivery says it should get there by Christmas Eve. (Keeping my fingers crossed!)
All in all, my experience was fantastic and I will definitely be doing this again. I have tons of digital photos that need to be in an album and creating a Shutterfly photo book is definitely the answer.
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