WW: Picaboo versus Shutterfly Photo Books Review

You’ve gotten the wedding pictures, you may have ordered the large pictures through your photographer or elsewhere, now what?  Now, you can make a photo book!  As soon as I got my pictures on CDs I went to work on photo books.  They are not only wonderful things to have in your house, but they also make great presents for family and wedding party.

One of my photobooks displayed as wall art.



I had purchased a Groupon for Picaboo to get a few photo books because they offer the lay-flat pages that are ever so awesome for photo books.  I got to work and was incredibly disappointed by the lack of layouts for Picaboo.  For our wedding photo books, I wanted black backgrounds and just fill the pages with images and no text.  For some reason, this wasn’t really working the way that I wanted for Picaboo, but I had the Groupon and had several photo books I needed to gift.  I ended up getting: two 6×8’s to gift, two 8.5 x 11’s with lay-flat pages to gift, and a 12×12 with lay-flat pages for us, since those were covered by the Groupon.  Overall, I was satisfied with the final products, except one of the 8.5 x 11’s had some pages with ink smearing.  It wasn’t on the pictures, it was on the binding, so I didn’t want to deal with complaining since I was, by then, full swing in school.  I did get the books pretty fast after I ordered them with regular shipping.  The last thing I wasn’t a big fan of was the user interface and I don’t think it’s something I would get used to.


What I got: for each photo book, I got the Classic Custom with photos that can take up the front cover, spine, and back cover.  I didn’t want the leather or linen-bound.  I wanted a picture to go all over the front cover and that not only seemed like the most appealing option, but it was also what the Groupon covered.  There are many different styles, however, and you can go here for styles and pricing.



As you all may or may not know, I am a huge fan of Shutterfly.  I receive those lovely orange packages a few times a year.  Though I don’t recommend them for the larger prints, I do recommend them for photo books.  I tried not having a bias going into the process, because I’ve used a bunch of different services for photo books in my lifetime.  But there is a reason I keep going back to Shutterfly.


The user interface for me is much more friendly.  There are two different ways you can create a photobook: the Custom Path or the Simple Path.  I generally use the Custom path because there is a lot more freedom to do your own thing, but I have used Simple Path for just throwing books quickly together.


As far as layouts, there are a plethora of options to choose for layouts and picture placement.  And with the Custom Path, you can go in an edit individual pages even more with the ability to resize, move things around, etc.  It’s a dream for people like me.


Shutterfly is always having deals and such that can really save money.


At the time of ordering my main wedding book, Shutterfly did not have lay flat pages.  I wish they did, but ordered my main book without lay-flat, simply because I just wanted to have more freedom to create our main photo book recounting our beautiful wedding.  I ordered over 100 pages to the book and they had buy one get one free for pages at the time of ordering, plus free shipping on orders of $30 (a frequent deal), a magnet for our fridge, and I purchased a few 5×7 photo books with BOGO pricing as well for international family as gifts, then I got a whole bunch of prints from them because they were having a 50% off large prints sale.  All of this is a win for me.


Lastly, Shutterfly has always had quick delivery for it’s the cheapest delivery option.  I would get the packages 7-10 days after purchasing (since they still have to do the processing and printing of the products).  If I’m just getting prints, I normally get my orange packages sooner than that.


Except like two weeks later they launched lay-flat pages.  So now, they have wonderful lay-flat pages for all your photo book needs!  I’m so upset about that personally because I already spent my budget for wedding pictures and photo books, but I am determined to get our main wedding album with lay-flat pages one day because we have several pages in the book with full spreads (that span across the two pages), another wonderful option that Shutterfly offers.


Again, I might be biased, but you can see why!


For photobook sizing and pricing, click here.


One major annoyance: they have to have barcodes on the back of their books.  Why, Shutterfly, why?  This is incredibly annoying.  I guess I’m just glad they are on the back, but if there is a photo on the back it just can be ruined!  You are the only one that does this to my knowledge!


Other Options

I would love to give all of you a fair review of all the different services for you, but I simply don’t have enough money in order to fully give the experience a fair review (which, to me, includes the quality of the printing).  But, if either of you uses the following, let me know and I would love to use your reviews!

* I have previously created photobooks using Mixbook and did enjoy the experience.  It has been a while so I can not offer an up-to-date review, but they seem to be adding more options for books, which I am excited about for you!  It also is apparently one of the best out there.


When I first started creating photo books, I used iPhoto.  I found they were pretty pricey and didn’t offer discounts and specials so I stopped using them completely.  If this has changed, let me know!


Lastly, here is a website that compared some of the photo book companies.


Disclaimer: other than my professional large print pictures, I do order my calendars, photo books, and prints from Shutterfly.  I also have a Shutterfly Share Site to share pictures with our family and friends from the wedding, family events, or other such occasions.  Shutterfly is no way in affiliation with this post, they are simply my favorite, go-to service for photo creations because they have always been easy to use, offer a variety of options, offer frequent discounts and special offers as incentives, and always produce quality printing.