If you want to enjoy your photos in a more tangible way than just seeing them on your smartphone screen, you still have plenty of options for getting good old-fashioned printed photographs you can hold in your hand. Snapfish is one of the better-known photo printing services, and it remains one of the least expensive. Like the also-familiar Shutterfly—both are now owned by the same company—it’s been around since 1999. Snapfish is not only less expensive than most competitors, but it also produces excellent image quality and uses a modern web interface. It’s a PCMag Editors’ Choice winner for value photo printing services.
How Much Do Snapfish Prints Cost?
Snapfish’s per-print pricing starts at a mere 9 cents for a 4-by-6-inch print. Snapfish offers pickup at CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, in which case the price is higher (33 cents at the drug stores and 25 cents at the big-box locations). With the in-store option, however, you’re actually getting the printing capabilities of those stores, which may vary.
Note that Walmart Photo and York Photo Labs also charge 9 cents per 4-by-6. By comparison, Shutterfly charges 15 cents per 4-by-6 print. The more-premium services charge around 30 cents, with Nations’ 32 cents at the top among mail-order printers. Snapfish 5-by-7s are only 69 cents. That’s a good deal, but the service’s 8-by-10 price of $2.99 is in the middle of the range for that size.
Gifts and Cards
Beyond standard photo printing, Snapfish offers a panoply of photo printing surfaces to receive your favorite images. You can print your photos on many items, including books, cards, calendars, home décor (including pillows, blankets), puzzles, playing card decks, and iPhone cases. Shutterfly’s selection is a bit wider, though, adding plates and shower curtains, for example. York Photo Labs even lets you print to potholders and neckties!
For holiday cards, Snapfish offers a huge selection of designs—1,846 in all—with prices starting at just $1 for a flat 5-by-7 card and $2.45 for folding cards. You can also choose premium options like foil printing and scalloped edges.
You can start using Snapfish before you even create an online account (simply by entering your name, email address, and a password), but I recommend setting up your account before you get too far, for better management. Fortunately, you don’t have to enter credit card details to create an account. Snapfish lets you check out with PayPal, which spares you from having to pull out your credit card and input all those digits.
Working With Your Photos
Snapfish’s interface is more modern and, well, snappy, than Shutterfly‘s, Nations’, and York Photo Labs’. It’s actually the same interface used by CVS Photo. Starting your order is clear and simple. You can upload image files or choose the printed product type and then upload. Not only can you upload photos directly from your computer, but you can import them from your Facebook, Flickr, Google, and Instagram accounts to Snapfish.
The upload process is fast and painless. An Upload Preferences checkbox in the lower-right corner lets you choose whether to apply automatic red-eye correction and color correction. Mpix and Nations charge extra for color correction. The ordering page tells you which photos fit best on a 4-by-5.3-inch print because of the camera’s aspect ratio of 4:3 (used by the iPhone) instead of 3:2 (used by most digital cameras), marking them with an orange Best Fit label.
Note that Snapfish only lets you upload JPG and PNG file formats—no TIFFs. That’s standard for consumer photo printing services, though some of the services I tested, including York Photo Labs and Nations Photo Lab, did support the TIFF format. York’s 40MB file size limit is a problem with TIFF files, however, which can easily be larger. Snapfish is more generous here, allowing file sizes up to 150MB. Snapfish also supports drag-and-drop from Windows File Explorer to the upload window.
Once you’ve got photos uploaded to Snapfish, you’re in for a treat. You get basic editing—such as brightness, contrast, and cropping—which not all services offer. There’s no slider for adjusting shadows, but one of the three autocorrect switches addresses that—Fill Flash. The other two are Auto Contrast and Color Correction, the latter of which didn’t cool down an overly warm image but only pumped up color saturation. You also get a few monochromatic filters, though it’s nothing like what Instagram or Microsoft Photos offers. You can crop in, but not extend a crop to create a border, say, if part of your image is cut off because of the aspect ratio.
In addition to the web interface, Snapfish offers an excellent mobile app that lets you select multiple sizes for an image. It also features editing and sharing, just like the web interface. You do need to sign into an account to edit and order, though. Walgreens’ app surprised me in letting me order prints without any form of account—all I had to do was enter an email address. Shutterfly’s app doesn’t let you do anything without signing into an account, doesn’t have any image editing, and makes ordering multiple print sizes harder. But that service does offer free online, shareable photo sites for its users.
As mentioned, for some orders, Snapfish lets you get your photos by picking them up at a nearby CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. Mail was the only option for my test order, however, because of the print sizes I chose. If you can wait a few days, I recommend going the mail route in any case, since the equipment and staff at local stores may not be as good as what’s at the lab location.
At checkout, the site proposes that you add a collage print of the ordered photos for $3.49. Those pre-checkout upsells are getting annoyingly more common lately, but some may like the suggested products. The estimated delivery time for the $5.49 shipping price is a week and three days out, though I could have paid $10.29 to get it in four business days. Those delivery rates are better than you find in most services, though like the others, they’ve gone up in the last year. You can check out with PayPal, saving lots of credit card number entry keystrokes.
The Photo Printing Results
I am not overly impressed with Snapfish’s packaging, especially compared with Mpix’s hard cardboard box and clear plastic envelopes. My Snapfish test 8-by-10 arrived loose in a standard express mail cardboard envelope. Still, the photos are acceptable in terms of color and clarity. In fact, my Snapfish test photos are significantly better than the Amazon Prints and Target Photo pictures, some of which are oversaturated and washed out.
In the mountain scene above, you may notice that Snapfish’s result is sharper than the Shutterfly picture, and it’s not so dark as to lose detail the way the Target print does. Also, there’s no artificially blue-looking oversaturated blue sky like that of the CVS print.
In the red-hat portrait above, Snapfish preserves the felt detail in the hat which is lost to oversaturation in the CVS photo and is washed out in the too-light Amazon picture.
My Snapfish test photos came printed on Fujicolor Crystal Archive, which gets very high ratings by BH.com shoppers, who tend to be pro photographers. That’s the same paper used by Shutterfly, but keep in mind that there are multiple levels of Crystal Archive. Printique, Mpix and Nations Photo Lab, on the other hand, use Kodak Professional Endura paper, which is definitely professional-grade media.
Snapfish Is a Good Catch
You might think there’s no difference between the two big names in online photo print ordering services, Snapfish and Shutterfly, but the difference is striking. Snapfish not only uses a more modern and powerful web interface, but it also delivers better-looking images at lower prices. In fact, its prices are among the lowest of the services weve tested. For value and website design, Snapfish earns our top recommendation. It’s a PCMag Editors’ Choice for value photo printing services, along with Walmart Photo, also notable for low prices and high quality. The more-expensive Printique and Mpix are co-Editors’ Choices for premium photo printing services, offering the highest-quality prints and the sturdiest packaging.
The Bottom Line
Snapfish offers good image quality in its affordable prints, as well as a slick, modern website and a wide array of gift options to print your photos on.
|Lowest Price for 4-by-6 Print||9 cents|
|Largest Print||20 by 30|