Shutterfly Photo Printing review: Quality, variety, and value

Shutterfly variety of photos
(Image: © Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Shutterfly has been my go-to company for everything photo-related almost since I went digital nearly a decade ago. It offers unlimited free storage, quality print services, decent prices, and a huge array of options. It's great platform for making the best photo books, best photo cards, and best photo gifts. Shutterfly also has one of the best photo book apps. Whether you want to order simple photo prints or you want to create a tangible memory, Shutterfly has what you need and it's one of the best online photo printing services out there.

The Good

  • Easy website to navigate
  • iOS app
  • Fair prices (with frequent sales/coupons)
  • Enormous selection
  • High quality
  • Free unlimited photo storage

The Bad

  • Large prints ship in tube, so edges are curled

Everything you can imagine

Shutterfly Photo Printing review: Features

Shutterfly Photo Book lifestyle

Shutterfly Photo Book lifestyle (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

I've been using Shutterfly regularly for nearly 10 years. I have thousands of photos stored there since storage is free and unlimited. I've bought photos, photo books, cards, and gifts. You can upload photos directly from Google Photos, Facebook, and Instagram.

I have the Shutterfly app on my iPhone, so I regularly upload the photos from my phone to Shutterfly, so I can keep fewer photos on my phone. If you have the app on your phone, you can get unlimited free 4x4 or 4x6 prints plus a free photo book every month with no subscription or anything. You just have to pay the shipping charges.

All of the prices you see on Shutterfly's website are "temporary," because there is a constant stream of sales and promo codes everywhere. For example, the 20-page, 8x11-inch hardcover photo book I ordered retails for $40 but you'll never pay that. I got this one for free with a promo code emailed to me (at my personal email address, nothing to do with iMore.) I only had to pay the shipping which was about $10.

What brought me to Shutterfly initially was the fact that they offer unlimited free storage.

The smallest, cheapest photo book is 7x9 inches and retails for $16. Again, you'll never pay that. As of this writing, it's on sale for $8. This is a starting price for 20 pages. Though there are tons of themes and embellishments that cost nothing extra, there are many, many upgrades that do. For example, you can have a Shutterfly expert create your book for you for $9.99. You can keep your photo book basic or you can make a wedding album with flush-mount, lay-flat pages. Heck, you can even make a school yearbook. It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the price as you create your photobooks.

Photo prints come in every size you can imagine, even panoramic sizes. Need them fast? You can pick up certain sizes at Target, CVS, or Walgreens in an hour. If you can wait to have them shipped, you'll have a larger variety of size and feature options.

The largest print I ordered was 20x30, and it turned out great. I tried to order an iPhone photo that size, and Shutterfly warned me that the resolution was too low for that size print. So I ordered a professional DSLR photo instead. The wallet-sized photos I ordered came in a sheet of four which must be cut apart with a white border between the photos. I ordered an 8x10 and some 4x6 prints. The color on all of them is true, and the black-and-white photo looks the way it's supposed to. The photos will crop automatically to fit the size print you choose, but you can easily adjust the crop the way you like. I didn't pay too much attention to the cropping when I ordered, and they all look fine. I did not see any unwanted shadows or graininess, even on the large prints.

There are so many choices on Shutterfly, I'd be hard-pressed to think up a photo size or photo product that they don't make.

Shipping is pretty fast, I usually get my orders in about a week without ever paying for expedited shipping. The packaging isn't fancy, but everything arrived intact. I know some people don't like when posters are rolled, but the 20x30 print that came in a tube flattened out pretty quickly when I put a book on either side.

Shutterfly is a great place to buy gifts. I've bought a ton there and the gifts are always appreciated. Mugs, jewelry, pillows, phone cases, you name it, Shutterfly probably makes it. Shutterfly offers so many promo codes that when you check out, you have to go to a special page to choose the three promo codes that will work best for you.

While I'm certainly no professional photographer, I'm the family archivist. My older daughter's engagement photos which feature heavily in this order were taken by JMS Imagery. My younger daughter's senior photo seen on the left of her grad announcement was taken by Sophie Sand.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Print size rangeFrom wallet to 20x30 and 12x36 panorama
Photo booksYes, and a huge array of options
Variety of photo products availableHuge
Free shippingNo (except for occasional promos)
Cloud storageFree and unlimited
SubscriptionOptional and not necessary
Shipping timeAbout a week for standard shipping
Auto-cropYes, but can easily adjust
Photo correctionsCrop, flip, and add border only
Option to pick up locallyOnly certain items at CVS, Target, or Walgreens
Upload photos from other websitesFacebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox
All items arrived undamagedYes
Photo qualityGreat
iOS appYes, and it's value-added with app-only freebies

Valuable storage and easy printing

Shutterfly Photo Printing review: What I like

What brought me to Shutterfly initially was the fact that they offer unlimited free storage. As my digital photo collection started to get large, the idea of storing them all on my computer's hard drive became untenable. Shutterfly has been a good place for my photos to "live." I make it a habit to upload my photos to Shutterfly regularly. Any time I want to print up some photos, make a gift for someone, or create a photo book to commemorate some big event in our lives, Shutterfly already has my photos ready to go. The value-added iOS app entitles you to 100 free prints each month.

I've never had a quality issue with Shutterfly. The photos look great, even up to poster size. The books are fun to make with loads of themes, backgrounds, stickers, and fonts. Anyone would love a gift that you've created for them with meaningful photos. There are so many choices on Shutterfly, I'd be hard-pressed to think up a photo size or photo product that they don't make.

Shutterfly poster sized photo

Shutterfly poster sized photo (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Come on, what's the REAL price?

Shutterfly Photo Printing review: What I don't like

The prices are fair, but keep two things in mind. First, sales and promo codes are so frequent that if the item you want isn't marked down, it might be worth waiting because it probably will be. Second, shipping always costs more than you think it will, so be sure to figure that into your budget as you order.

The 20x30 print does come rolled in a tube, and so the edges will be curled when it arrives. The edges will settle down eventually, but it can take days.

Trusted photo printer

Shutterfly Photo Printing review: Bottom line

I trust Shutterfly with my family's precious memories. Shutterfly is the keeper of my children's childhood. I've ordered hundreds of prints, books, and gifts from Shutterfly over the years, including the order you see in these photos. I've never been disappointed.

See at Shutterfly

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.