This post is part of our wedding album review series, where we provide honest feedback on the most popular wedding albums available today. To see all of our wedding album review posts, click here.
When I started my review of Shutterfly’s Wedding Albums, I hadn’t yet gotten my physical album in the mail. And to be honest, my review wasn’t going to be that great. I was going to tell you about what a pain I found the software to be, and how ridiculously expensive I thought the album was (even with Shutterfly’s endless discounting). But it turns out, that’s not the story I want to tell you at all.
I mean, yes. All of those things are true. And given how huge and well-funded Shutterfly is, I hope they burn their album-making software to the ground and start over. But what I really want to tell you about is how amazing Shutterfly’s albums are. As it turns out, their photo printing is the best in the biz (at least of what I’ve tested so far. You can see our whole wedding album review series here.)
Their wedding albums are the huge old-school professional flat lay variety, which means they’re not cheap. But if you (or your mom) is looking for a large album with stunning quality, this is the best price you’re going to get. And unlike getting your album from a wedding photographer, you’ll also have nearly instant gratification, with their super fast shipping.
Plus, Shutterfly offers a feature that may well give you the best of both worlds. For $9.99 (I know, I also thought that was a typo) they will design the album for you. I haven’t tested this feature, so I can’t tell you how it would work. I suspect that if your standards are less exacting than mine it’s a good solution… and if you happen to be as picky as I am, it might not work. But it’s free unless you order the album, so it’s worth testing out.
Shutterfly WEDDING ALBUM REVIEW
Price: Let’s be really upfront about this. Shutterfly’s wedding albums are not cheap. While you can get one of their premium photo books for around $175, the really good stuff, aka a flush-mount wedding album is going to start anywhere from $400-$600 before discounts (you can compare the differences in quality here.) And that number will increase pretty quickly if you’re looking to include a lot of photos or upgrade your cover options. With all the bells and whistles including a leather cover and foil edges, an 8″x8″ album (the smallest they offer) comes in at just over $900. And an 11″x14″ album with the same features is approximately $1,500. The good news is that Shutterfly is nearly always offering discount codes, so if you hold out for a 40% or 50% off code, it will bring the price down from “omfg” to simply “expensive” (and discounts are automatically applied to your cart, so you can see the updated price in real-time.) All that said, if you’re looking for a super high-quality will-last-for-the-ages wedding album, Shutterfly is probably the best price you’re going to get.
Cost Per Page: $30 minimum, usually discounted
Overall Book Quality: A+
Frankly, I didn’t have super high expectations of this wedding album. Shutterfly does not have fancy product photos, nor do they spend a ton of time describing their products in vivid detail. They described the album as a “professional flush mount album”, but there is no real standard of marketing in the wedding album world, so I knew that could mean just about anything.
But Shutterfly isn’t messing around. When they say “professional flush mount album”, they mean it. When the album arrived, I was stunned. It weighs—and I am not kidding you—ten pounds. Since I was just creating a test product, I used photos from a family photo session. That means A) I have the most luxe album of a family photo session that exists outside of a Kardashian residence, and B) Your wedding photo album will likely contain more photos and weigh significantly more than ten pounds.
And the album isn’t just heavy. It’s high quality. Old school high quality. It’s the kind of album that professional photographers sell to you for several grand. With discounts, this album is likely to cost you more like a single grand.
Overall ease of use of software: D
What’s the catch? You may be asking. Why can I get a $3K professional level album for just $1K with Shutterfly? Well. I’ll tell you. My notes from creating the project say, “Makes me want to die.” That’s because I spent an hour and a half selecting photos for the project, and then the whole thing just suddenly erased. Why? I couldn’t tell you.
Beyond that, once I got past the ten spreads provided for me in the album template, I had to add pages one spread at a time. It made the process of building the album feel extra endless, which wasn’t good, because the software was making me so upset.
Photo Upload: Photo uploads with Shutterfly are pretty straightforward. They don’t let you upload directly from Dropbox, which I prefer, but they do allow uploads from Google Photos, Instagram, and Facebook. And if you’ve ever made a Shutterfly album before, your photos get saved to your account, which makes it easier if you’re looking to make things like parent albums down the line.
Quality of design: C
Aside from my struggling with the software (and at several points, I almost threw my laptop out the window), I was not particularly impressed with the layouts Shutterfly provided. Given that I was building a very expensive album that will stand the test of time (seriously, my great-grandkids will probably still have this album in their possession) you would think they would provide classic, timeless layouts.
Shutterfly’s layouts have a very scrapbook feel. Layouts I wanted to use were hidden. And most annoyingly, every time I went to add a page, Shutterfly selected a layout at random, and I had to go in and change it. Every. Single. Time.
Cover quality & Options: B
When I was designing my album, the album cover options were pretty limited. Basically: photo, photo with a dust jacket, black fabric, black leather, white linen. They looked bougie, but not particularly modern or inspired (they did offer foil embossing, though, so that’s nice). However, since making my album, Shutterfly has added an acrylic cover option to the mix which is kind of like a thin version of their acrylic photo blocks. And so far, they are the only company I’ve seen offer that option.
Quality of Photos Printed In Album: A++
Let’s get down to brass tacks. The photo quality in this album is truly stunning. It leaves every single one of it’s competitors (even the fancy hip brands like Artifact Uprising) in the dust. I flat-out cannot say enough good things about the photos, or properly convey in words just how amazing they are. Every single thing from color quality, to clarity, to the paper used is the best I’ve ever seen. It is so good that I might even fight with the software another day.
Overall color accuracy: A++
Where were we in effusiveness? Color accuracy is something that a lot of album companies—even the fancy ones—struggle with. The color is often a little too dark, or the tone is slightly off, or the photo printing just doesn’t feel that clear. Shutterfly does basically a perfect job reproducing photos (and in huge format). The quality of the photos makes up for a host of sins… maybe even the hour and a half of photo selection that was suddenly erased.
Overall Shutterfly WEDDING ALBUM SCORE: B
If you’re looking for an old-school, high-quality photo album, and you don’t want to pay an actual fortune, Shutterfly might be for you. Or if you want really (really) good photo quality, this might be it. I found the software so frustrating, and the product so expensive, that I expected to give Shutterfly a failing grade. But it turns out, they have one of the best products on the market. Now, if they could just give me colored linen cover options with metallic embossing (and, you know, fix their software), we’d be set.
This post is part of our wedding album review series. To see more of our wedding album review posts, click here.
This post is not sponsored, however, we did receive a free album from Shutterfly, mostly because we’re not made of money and can’t afford to buy a dozen $300 wedding albums (and definitely not a dozen $1,500 albums). As always, we monetize some of the links on our site, so if you choose to make a purchase from any of our album reviews, APW may receive a commission. APW only links to products and services that will add value to our audience. All opinions are our own. To take a look at all of our album reviews you can click here or search Wedding Album Reviews.