How do you end up choosing the best photo service? There's a lot of parity but also some key differences that will come down to your particular needs and preferences. Here's a roundup of features and overall value -- see detailed feature listings at the end of the post and a link to the pricing page of each company. Apple wins on design and customization. They offer a small portfolio of printed products through its software suite iLife (great deal at $70, includes iPhoto, iWeb, GarageBand, iDVD and more). So you need a MAC to enjoy any of these offerings. The prices are reasonable and like all Apple products, quality is top-notch.
Kodak has a thorough offering of printed products and you can upload photos or send rolls of film. While most of their design templates for cards and such are kind of tacky, they do have a nice design line in partnership with Martha Stewart as well as Spanish greeting cards. While they offer every product you can think of, pricing is on the high side. They're offering 20 free prints when you sign up. And of course, the uber-annoying factor that your friends and family have to sign up in order to view your photo galleries. Shutterfly wins on all-round service. A similarly thorough offering to Kodak, Shutterfly goes a step further to include clocks, soccer balls and dog collars. A fun feature for kids is custom books that can "star" your child -- choose from Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer. Overall, pricing is average but prints are expensive. Shutterly really aims to please with consumer-friendly features like Target store pickup and photo sharing that does NOT require your friends + family to sign up. So perhaps that service is worth the price. But here's a latest offer from Shutterfly:
We’re going to try and answer that question over the next few weeks. Looking at the major players: Snapfish, Kodak, Shutterfly and Apple. Snapfish has got some great deals for getting started. Apple has taken custom publishing to a new level. We’ll be looking at pricing, turnaround time, range of services, quality of finished product and the overall customer experience. Stay tuned!
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