Let's face it, your friends may be flickr savvy, but chances are good that Grandma Suzie and Uncle Charlie are not inclined to sign up for various online photo-sharing services just because they own a PC - no matter how badly you want them to see your shots of last week's trip to the shore. Shutterfly offers a happy medium with Shutterfly Share.
Within a few minutes, you can create a slick little website, upload pictures, video and other info and send it off to friends and family who can access your masterpiece without ever even having to join Shutterfly. Amazing.
Users do have the option to create a Shutterfly profile and become "members" of your site, but I skipped sending my people that piece of the invitation. I knew my family wouldn't want to join and my friends probably can't handle another online community website.
If you take even half as many pictures of your squad as I do, then this site beats the heck out of lugging a huge photo album to the family picnic.
Another way to avoid the giant album problem is to create a photo book on Shutterfly or a similar site. I would have tried Shutterfly, but Walgreens.com had a deal (half off the everyday albums). So I went with it in the interest of frugality, and then promptly went nuts with the number of pages, but we'll get to that in a second. In the end, I realized that if I had used Shutterfly to create my photo book, I could have loaded the digital version to my Shutterfly Share Site. Ahh hindsight.
As for the Walgreens photo book, I cannot complain. The interface is cool and user-friendly. There are a decent number of design options for page design based on the number of photos you want on each page and whether you wish to include any text.
I made an 8x11 book for Leighton, commemorating her first three months on the planet, and narrated in such a way that I believe she will want me to read it to her until the pages disintegrate. I made the same book for the grandparents, but in a smaller size that would fit in a purse. It was a smashing success with the grandmas.
With Shutterfly, you can take an existing book and convert it to a different size. If you can also perform that task with the Walgreens interface, I could'nt figure out how and it wasn't for lack of trying. I had to recreate the smaller book from scratch and it ticked me off. My book was an even 48 pages. Ahh hindsight.
Prices start at $9.99 for the Everyday album and $29.99 for the 8x11, custom cover version. Those prices include a limited number of pages and there is a per-page once the threshold is reached. My 48-page, custom volume was $57.85. The Everyday version of the same book was $17.00 with a half-off coupon code. All of it, including my nearly $60 book was worth it, in the end. It's great quality and shipped the next day. I'm already one month into stockpiling photos for Vol. 2 - Leighton Elizabeth Months 3-6.
This product review conforms to the Fuss Formula.