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Photo Printing Sites: Shutterfly, Winkflash, & Snapfish

Reported by Jessica Ripley


Chances are, if you have a digital camera, you have also invested in some kind of printer to print out the photos you collect on your memory card. If you nodded your head yes to both of those scenarios, then you most likely also feel the pinch of the cost to purchase photo paper and ink for those printers. And while printing at home is convenient, it can get quite pricey if you print out those photos very often.

Personally, I only print out photos that I scrapbook (which I don’t do as often as I’d like) so the cost does not particularly add up to print at home. However there are times when I need a special print or several of one copy and just would rather have them printed professionally. Luckily, there are a multitude of online options to choose from, but which one is the best? Are they all reliable? And most importantly, are they a good value rather than printing at home? I set out to see for myself and am more than happy to share the results with you.

For this article, I did a mini-test run of 3 popular photo printing sites; Shutterfly, Winkflash, and Snapfish. I ordered the same 5×7 print from each site on the same day (within minutes of each other) and awaited the results. Was there a clear front runner in who I’ll use in the future? Pretty much yes.

The Websites:

Preferred: Shutterfly

Of all three, Shutterfly has the most to offer in my opinion, not only providing the basics of uploading and ordering, but also a community for sharing projects as well as many how to videos and articles. I like Shutterfly’s website for more than just a place where I could order prints, I could actually just spend some creative time there.

My next choice would be Snapfish, due to their editing options once you have uploaded a photo to their site. Complete with fun frame options, it’s a personalization step that has just a little more to offer than the editor at Winkflash.

Snapfish Editor:


Winkflash Editor:

Shutterfly also has similar editing options to Snapfish.

I found each of the three websites fairly easy to navigate, and actually very similar in the way they work as well. Upload your photo(s) of choice, select printing options, pay and you’re done.

Shuttefly Uploader:
Snapfish Uploader:

Winkflash Uploader:


You must create an online account first to do so which is also an easy process.

Something to note, since I created my account with each of the sites I have of course received promotional emails as well with special offers for future orders. The total to date?

Shutterfly – 4 (1 welcome, 2 order related, 1 promotional)

Winkflash – 3 (1 welcome, 2 order related)

Snapfish – 22 (let’s just say the majority are promotional)

I was sometimes receiving 2 emails from Snapfish per day! I have since opted out of their promotional offers due to the sheer volume of them, which is a shame, because they do have some good offers from time to time.

All three websites also offer a majority of products such as photobooks, holiday cards, and calendars as well. For this particular review however I was only interested in an actual photo print.

The Ordering Process:

Preferred: Any are fine. This was quick, easy, and basically the same process for all three sites.

Once photos are uploaded you are able to select the size of print, quantity, shipping options, etc. before check out. All sites also had a low quality warning for the resolution of the photo I chose to upload.

From Winkflash:

As well as resolution suggestions in order to get the best quality print. I found that a nice feature, since sometimes I forget which photos I’ve already re-sized for posting on the web.

Snapfish’s warning was a little harder to see however, if you didn’t click on it to see what that triangle was for:


Cost:

For one 5×7 print with standard shipping:

Shutterfly – $2.85

Snapfish – $1.83.

Winkflash – $1.14

Shutterfly is not necessarily more expensive when it comes to prints, but definitely the most expensive when it comes to shipping. However, they are also the fastest.

Shipping:

Shutterfly – first to arrive. In my mailbox in 3 days. That was very satisfying to receive my order so quickly!

Winkflash – second to arrive. In my mailbox in 5 days.

Snapfish – last to arrive. Not in my mailbox until 11 days after I ordered. (And lots of trees went into all the junk mail that came stuffed inside too).

I’m hoping one of our readers may be able to chime in on timing related to an order they received from Snapfish, as mine seemed to take an abnormally long time to arrive when compared to the other 2 sites. However, when I contacted their customer service about my concern that it hadn’t arrived after 8 days, they were extremely helpful, and sent out a replacement print at no cost which arrived via FedEx in 2 days.


And it certainly wasn’t like pulling teeth either. They were more than willing to believe me and send a replacement.

Quality:

Preferred: Snapfish


All three of the photos were a bit pixilated due to the print size I requested vs. the image size I sent (even with their warnings). However no two were exactly alike, and I found myself drawn to the color in the Snapfish photo over the other two photos (Snapfish uses Kodak paper, the other 2 sites use Fuji).

Overall:

After trying out all three sites and thinking over my experiences I’m a bit surprised at which one I’ll go to next time. While Shutterfly’s super fast shipping was wonderful, for the cost I could probably wait an extra day or two for my prints to arrive from Winkflash or Snapfish. And then, since I was most pleased with Snapfish’s print quality, and I now know that their customer service is ready and willing to help if needed, I would most likely go with them.

The above of course is just one crafter’s trial, of course, and you may have had different experiences. With that in mind a brief summary of each:

Shutterfly Major Pro:

  • Superfast shipping

Shutterfly Major Con:

  • Most expensive

Winkflash Major Pro:

  • Fast shipping mixed with cheapest price

Winkflash Major Con:

  • Didn’t like the website as much and photo quality not quite as good

Snapfish Major Pro:

  • Helpful customer service mixed with high quality print (and fair price)

Snapfish Major Con:

  • Why did my first print take so long to come? Not sure I’d order if I needed something immediately.

Do you order prints online often? There are so many options out there, including having them sent directly to your local drugstore for immediate pickup. We would love to hear about your experiences. Your comments are a major part of helping our readers find the best of the best out there!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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18 Responses to Photo Printing Sites: Shutterfly, Winkflash, & Snapfish

  1. Paulette January 5, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    I use Snapfish and the quality of the pictures far exceed other sites i’ve used, including “professional” sites photographers use. They always have great promotions and are quite fast at shipping (I think you had a ‘fluke’ mailing). Snapfish also lets you import your pictures from Facebook, which is a really nice perk!

  2. mub January 5, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    My aunt has used Snapfish to make photobooks before and they were quite lovely. I’m pretty appalled at the amount of e-mails they were sending to you though… that just seems ABSURD!

    I’ve used Costco’s printing services in the past and was really impressed. I think it only took two days but I did have to go pick them up from the store.

  3. Rhonda January 5, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    After trying all three, I use Snapfish exclusively! The quality of their prints are far superior to the other sites, and I love the editing options. I love their promotions and always get great deals and have never encountered the issues you have with shipping. Most of the time, Snapfish has my photos to be in 2-3 days! I think what happened to you was just a fluke.

  4. lisa January 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    when I need professional quality prints I actually use dotphoto.com but for everyday sharing of pictures I use the shutterfly share site. My family loves it as it is like my own personal website and they can order any prints they want without me having to get involved. If you are patient with shutterfly you can get great deals by stacking coupon codes. I recently got 5 11×14 prints, 20 4×6′s, 5 5×7′s used a free shipping code and some other discount codes and my order was ~$12

  5. Patchi January 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    I switched to Snapfish after I got terrible pictures from PhotoWorks. I read a review online that compared 10 different sites and Snapfish had the best quality. I usually print 100s at a time twice a year, so I wait for a free shipping coupon. My photos arrived in 3-4 days even with large orders.

    As for the promotional e-mails, Snapfish was having a “Deal a day” promotion series during December. It’s usually not that bad.

  6. Lori January 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Quality wise, I’ve always been a Shutterfly girl, but they’re too expensive for me. I usually use Snapfish, but shipping takes quite a long time especially if your prints were ordered at a peak time when they have big promotions or around holidays when they have lots of orders.

    I have had to call their customer service on three occasions due to fear of my orders being lost and all of the matters were solved quickly and very favorably. In fact I’d say Snapfish has the best customer service of any company I do business with. (side note: my Grandma will not use them because their customer service is located in Mumbai and she doesn’t do well with accents. I’ve never had a problem and think it’s sort of exciting to be talking to someone on the other side of the world.)

  7. Lori January 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    One more addition, Sam’s Club’s photo service is terrible! They consistently have cut my photos in odd places even with the “true print” option.

  8. Erika Martin - Stampin' Mama January 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I’ve been thinking of doing my photos through the mail lately so I’m glad you posted this review. I don’t have any options where I am except to send them digitally to a lab 30 min. away and I have to pick them up. The shipping to my door option has appealed to me, but didn’t know who to use. I’ll try Snapfish first. Thanks!

  9. Wendy Coffman January 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    I’ve tried them all – but I’ve settled on Costco.com for most of my printing. They are cheap and fast – even 1 hour at no extea charge.

    If I want something less bare bones I go to scrapbookpictures.com. You can add beautiful borders and they print for the scrapbooker – from 3 x 3s to 12×12. Really beautiful prints, reasonable prices.

  10. Cammy January 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    I use Costco for my snapshots and usually pick them up in store. I have made books through SHutterfly and like how they turn out. If it is something I want to put in a frame and need a higher quality print, I use mpix.com, which was recommended to us by a photographer. They are higher priced than the other sites, but are much higher in quality.

  11. Katy Lunsford January 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    I’ve been using Snapfish exclusively for years and by far they are tops above the rest (I’ve tried the others). I { LOVE } Snapfish, it rocks!

  12. Sue in CT January 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I have used Snapfish for many years. I started using them prior to digits cameras and they were fantastic. They send you the envelope to put the film in that is already addressed and paid for postage. As soon as they got them they sent an email saying they arrived. Then in a day or two they sent another with a link to see your picture on line. This way you can order more or crop or whatever had to be done. It was only a few days til they showed up at the house.(Email saying they were on their way). Now with digital, I just upload and order. I too wait for the deals. Heck, I paid a penny for a picture and ordered 200, I can imagine what it cost elsewhere. They came in 4 days. I do get a lot of emails but for the great promotions they have I am willing to delete the ones I don’t want. Oh and you also “earn” free photos at times like a high resolution 8×10 which is a nice touch. Who doesn’t like free?

  13. Zoe January 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    maybe i need to check my original picture files but i always got weird coloring on my snapfish photos which prompted me to stop using them. will have to revisit…

  14. futuregirl January 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    We use a local photo place (not the drugstore) to get prints. We can upload them to their site and then go pick them up in person when they are ready. The prices seem similar, too.

  15. Anonymous January 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    I also am a longtime Snapfish user. I also use Kodak, Walgreens, CVS etc for uploading and printing. Usually for Snapfish and other sites, I choose to pick up my photos at a place close by..such as Walgreens. Most times I can pick up the same day I submit an order. I do pay more per print, but if I want it NOW, its a great way to do it. My mail service with Snapfish takes 5-6 days.

  16. nopinkhere January 5, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    I haven’t used Snapfish or Shutterfly in a couple of years. Now I just use Walgreen’s and can pick them up in an hour or so.

  17. Susan January 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    I’ve only ever used snapfish, walgreens and walmart. I have had some issues with snapfish…BUT i will admit I had edited and cropped the photos before sending them, so that might have had something to do with it.

    I have to admit that seeing all 3 of your pictures lined up I think shutterfly is the best photo, the colors are richer, and your faces are crisper, but…I do not have the photos in my hands.

    Thanks for an Interesting post.

    Susan

  18. Jodee January 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    For my everyday printing of 4×6′s I use Winkflash. They are the cheapest and I have never had a complaint. I don’t need the best quality for photos that I am putting in my album. When I took my sister’s senior photos this year and really wanted high quality professional looking photos-we used MPIX. Love them. It was gorgeous photos and printed, shipped, and received in 3 days! Awesome!