Friday, August 31, 2012

Snapfish versus Shutterfly

I dealt with both this week. So, while it is fresh in my mind, I am doing a comparison for ordering prints. Wish I could do it in table form, but I am simply not savvy enough or maybe I am just lazy.

Shutterfly


PROS


1) CUSTOM CROPS - I have gone all over the Internet looking for people who say this is an advantage. To me, that is huge if I have cropped a photo with an other than 4x6 size in my photo editing software and then I try to print them. BOTH Snapfish and Shutterfly print these photos with cut off heads and portions gone and both don't seem to have a mechanism for telling me that the whole image isn't going to be in the print. (Also, both tend to cut off heads and such for prints from my point and shoot too. I think it is because it is from a different aspect ratio). 

BOTH need to notify you to say that things are not going to fit in the frame, but Shutterfly gives you something to do about it with their custom crop tool! I also LOVE that you can make a custom border around it (since you will have all that space). My favorite is the black border. See my video above. 

2) FUJI CRYSTAL ARCHIVE PAPER - This outlasts the competitors by decades. The site gives you a link to the independent study documenting this. This is probably why they are more expensive. The paper just FEELS sturdier too. 

3) KEEPS ORIGINAL DATE AND TITLE ON BACK - They are also usually sent to me in date order if I have uploaded them this way. HUGE time saver. I realize that, in the past, I probably was not organizing them in date order once I exported them from the Creative Memories Memory Manager. When you export from that, they are all out of order. So, I need to make sure I organize them once they are in the Windows file (switch to "detail view" and press on the date button). 

(Sidenote: OH I wish that Memory Manager would just be organized in my computer system or I could just go into Memory Manager when I am uploading to a site. I am sure it is because they want you to print and make photo books through their site.)

If you do not organize them in date order and send them and order them, this is what you get: 


It made for a fun night of looking at 2009 again, but it was time consuming. 

4) BOXES and ENVELOPES - They are much sturdier; and if you order a large number of pictures, they come in a wonderful box for future photo storage. Snapfish just puts large orders in a regular box and has super flimsy envelopes. (See my video above)

5) COLOR QUALITY - Better, but I have heard that Snapfish does better Black and White printing.

CONS

1) SLOW UPLOAD - REALLY slow. I could not get their "Express Uploader" to work, but I have in the past. So, it may have just been a glitch with the new Adobe Air Upgrade. It took me all night to load 406 pictures. VERY TEDIOUS. I have timed them since that night, and it is about 140 photos an hour. My photos are big. Most point and shoots wouldn't take this long. 


2) SLOW CUSTOMER SERVICE - There is no "online chat" to answer questions like, "What is wrong with your Express Uploader?"  (Update: I found an online chat, but it took me many layers of pages to find it versus having the "Online chat" button right on the front page with Snapfish. Also, I was #3 in the queue and have been waiting about five minutes now. They say you can search while you are waiting, but then I am taken away from the chat box when it comes up. 

My waiting was rewarded however in that the person was VERY helpful even when I didn't follow his directions right the first time. 

(Sidenote: May I just say that I do my photobooks through Picaboo, and their online chat is AMAZING. I couldn't find a book I did two years ago online, and I wanted to show my friend. She found it in seconds and gave me the link. It sounded like a real person versus the "I'll be glad to assist you" preformated responses from Snapfish).


3) NO FLICKR CONNECTION - I organized my photos in Flickr before I got the Creative Memories Memory Manager. Now I organize in both places (Flickr for backup and for ease of looking at photos when I go to document them).

SNAPFISH 

PROS


1) COST - 9 cents versus 15 cents a print for Shutterfly. (I see no advantage of getting the "prepaid" photos for either because you have to pay for shipping, and that makes them cost MORE than using the sale + free shipping options that they have on occasion - how stupid do they think we are?) 


2) CUSTOMER SERVICE - Online chat, but the people do take a long time to get back to you, and I wonder if it is outsourced. I also wonder if it is computer generated at times. 


3) SITE NAVIGATION - All the things about their photo galleries that you work from are much simpler than Shutterfly


4) UPLOADING/TRANSFER  FASTER - minutes versus hours between the two, but if I can get the Express Uploader on Shutterfly to work I bet it will be better. Flickr to Snapfish is lightening quick though. I like that. 

5) FLICKR - Love that I can just press a button and all my pictures go to Snapfish, but I have learned that it is better to go to Snapfish first and then press on the transfer from Flickr than to press from Flickr and go to Snapfish. When you do that, they go directly to your shopping cart, and they get all mixed up that way. 


CONS


1) FLICKR TRANSFER PROBLEMS - As I mentioned above, they go all out of order than if you transfer them and put then in a gallery and then put them in the cart. You also don't have the original date stamped on the back. PAIN. 


Which leads to the second con since . . . 


2) DATE AND TITLE NOT ON BACK - I think this is because I usually transfer with a very quick button from Flickr, and it doesn't retain the properties of the original photo. I WISH some computer science genius would figure out how to keep that all. So, I do not think that it is Snapfish's fault that their stuff is all out of order without the date stamped on it.  


3) NO CUSTOM CROPS - If it is there, it is hidden. I cannot find it, and it should be there. Shutterfly's is right there when you go to crop a photo, "custom crop" option.  It is also really easy to use. 


4) PAPER QUALITY - Mine says they are on Kodak, but that was earlier this year, and I am not sure that they are still around. When you go to the website, they will not tell you the type of paper while Shutterfly states the paper type (Fuji Crystal Archive) and direction to the independent tests that document its superior quality. I am sure that is why the cost is more for SHUTTERFLY. I think Snapfish uses inferior paper. Why not be upfront? It makes me think they have something to hide. 


5) ENVELOPES AND NO BOXES - Very flimsy with no boxes for shipping them. Inferior shipping method overall. 


CONCLUSION


PRICE: 
Obviously, Snapfish is cheaper, but not if I wait for Shutterfly sales. I paid the exact price on Shutterfly as the regular price on Snapfish with a 40% off discount and free shipping for orders over $30.  I also have to wait to make sure I get to my $30 for free shipping. I do not like either service for their shipping prices which are OUTRAGEOUS in my humble opinion ($20 for three pounds once). They both come out EVEN ON PRICE. 

FLICKR TRANSFER VERSUS UPLOADING FROM COMPUTER:

I can organize my things in folders on my computer now (didn't have a good organizational structure in past years), it doesn't matter that I can transfer them from Flickr anymore, and the date is stamped on the Shutterfly and in ORDER versus the weird way Snapfish gives me back the pictures.

Flickr to Snapfish is fastest, but if I solve the EXPRESS UPLOADER problems as I wait for Customer Service, I should be golden. SHUTTERFLY WINS.


PRINTS:

I like the custom crops on Shutterfly and the upfront way they tell you about their paper. I also like the color quality of Shutterfly better (but I have heard Snapfish is better with Black and White) SHUTTERFLY WINS. 

FINALLY:

Snapfish is an HP subsidiary, and I don't like how they unceremoniously laid off my husband and hired non-Americans for another job he could have possibly had within the company.  SHUTTERFLY WINS

One thing I know for sure, that COSTCO and all the pharmacies get consistently BAD ratings all the way around. DO NOT DO YOUR PRINTS THERE!
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