Tag Archives: online photo prints

Best digital photo calendars: Snapfish vs. York Photo comparison

I’ve received thousands of views of and numerous comments on my 2012 comparison of digital photo prints from four companies: Snapfish, Shutterfly, Mpix and AdoramaPix. Due to the popularity of that online photo company comparison, I’ve decided to repeat the experiment with additional companies in the future. Today’s showdown: a photo calendar from Snapfish versus a photo calendar from York Photo.  I purchased each as Christmas gifts at the end of 2012. Here are my findings:

Photo quality: York Photo holds a slight advantage in this category. Almost all of the photos in my Snapfish calendar appeared “soft,” lacking the crispness found in the originally submitted images. By comparison, York Photo delivered an output that was true to my original images. The difference wasn’t huge, but it was definitely there. I’ve included snapshots of each calendar in this post, but it is hard to capture the exact quality of each item with a photograph.

YP-calendar-top

Click on this image to enlarge this photograph of the York Photo calendar.

Snapfish-calendar-top

Click on this image to enlarge this photograph of the Snapfish calendar.

Calendar layout: Here, I’m referring to the actual calendar grid found in each product. Snapfish is the winner in this category. Its calendar grid had a cleaner, more modern and more attractive design than that of York Photo. The grid in the York Photo calendar seemed a bit overwhelming, and the numbers were placed too close to the calendar’s gridlines.

Online interface: Both companies offered calendar-creation software that was easy to use and provided numerous options for customizing your photo layouts and the contents of the calendar grid. However, Snapfish offered more calendar design choices. It had 37 templates to choose from, compared to the 15 designs offered by York Photo. Snapfish’s collection included a larger percentage of children’s designs than York Photo. Both companies let you choose which of your selected template’s backgrounds to use for each specific month.

Click on this image to enlarge this photograph of the York Photo calendar.

Click on this image to enlarge this photograph of the York Photo calendar.

Snapfish-calendar-bottom

Click on this image to enlarge this photograph of the Snapfish calendar. 

Overall, Snapfish gets the edge here due to its expanded choice of calendar themes.

Price: Both companies’ websites provided promo codes I could use to save on my calendar purchase, and I took advantage of the best deal available on each site. (Snapfish offers a lot of coupon codes, so be sure to compare to determine which one helps you save the most on your specific product.) With shipping, the Snapfish calendar cost me $15.89, and the York Photo calendar cost me $13.59. These totals aren’t too different, but York Photo gets the edge here.

Communication: Snapfish is the winner in this category, sending me both an order confirmation and a shipping confirmation. I received neither from York Photo.

The verdict: York Photo had the best image quality and price, while Snapfish had a better calendar layout, online interface and communication process. Because image quality is my deciding factor, I choose York Photo as the winner, but a calendar order from Snapfish is also a safe bet.

Have you ordered photos or customized products like calendars from either of these companies? I’d love to hear your feedback.

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Photo comparison: Shutterfly vs. Snapfish vs. Mpix vs. AdoramaPix—which online photo prints have the best quality?

Numerous websites offer to print your digital photographs and ship them to your home—but which of those sites offers the best photo quality? As I mentioned in a previous post, Kodak Gallery has long been my go-to site for all things photo, but a recent decline in customer service sent me in search of a new business partner.

It is hard to take a good picture of photo prints, but here are the photos I ordered (click on image to enlarge):
Top left: Snapfish; top right: Mpix
Bottom left: AdoramaPix; Bottom right: Shutterly

I decided to put four photo-printing sites to the test: mainstream competitors Shutterfly and Snapfish, along with two other companies whose names may not be as familiar to you— Mpix and AdoramaPix. Mpix says it is the largest professional photography lab in the United States. AdoramaPix is affiliated online camera store Adorama.

The process

I selected five photos I took on a Canon digital SLR camera. Four were outdoor shots taken on a cloudless day, while the fifth was an indoor shot taken with a flash in mediocre lighting conditions. Before submitting my orders, I used Adobe Photoshop Elements to crop and adjust lighting in the photos. When placing each order, I used the companies’ default ordering options for color correction. When ordering from Mpix, I selected the more-expensive “pro quality” prints; they’re reviewed by color correction technicians and printed on premium paper.

After the photos arrived, I asked four people to review them: two men and two women. I presented the reviewers with one photo at a time, laying the four versions of the photo in a grid pattern for them to compare. I asked the reviewers to look for clarity and color accuracy. I also asked them to choose the the version of the photo they’d most want to put in their own photo album. I reviewed the photos on my own as well, following the same process.

When the reviewers were complete, I gave each company one “point” for each time its photograph was selected as the winner in its group. Then, I totaled the points.

Here's the photo I submitted to the companies for printing.

Here’s the photo I submitted to the companies for printing.

The results

Snapfish received the most votes, with a total of 16 out of a possible 30 points. Reviewers who favored this company’s prints said its photos were clearer and brighter than the others. One reviewer said he was willing to settle for less-than-perfect color in the Snapfish prints because of their sharpness.

Mpix came in a strong second, with 12 points. Reviewers who picked its prints felt they did a better job of delivering true skin tones and vibrant colors.

AdoramaPix finished a distant third, with only two votes. Shutterfly received no votes.

Other considerations for the frontrunners

Snapfish and Mpix had equally fast shipping. I ordered from both companies on a Thursday and received my order two days later.

Snapfish is the clear winner on price. Its prints cost 9 cents each, while the pro-quality version I ordered from Mpix cost 29 cents each. All prints were 4 x 6 inches in size.

Mpix charged $3.00 to ship five photos. Snapfish charged $2.46 to ship 30 prints.

Both companies get high marks for their communication with the customer. They promptly confirmed receipt of my order and notified me when the order shipped. Mpix and Snapfish also provided tracking numbers for my photo print packages.

Summary

Both Mpix and Snapfish offer solid-quality photos, but reviewers rated Snapfish the best by a modest margin. Its lower prices for prints and shipping cement its position as the winner of this photo comparison.

Stay tuned for future comparison tests pitting Snapfish against other competitors.

Update: I recently completed a digital photo calendar comparison pitting Snapfish against York Photo.

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