Picaboo Reviews: A Printing Company For Your Custom Photo Needs

​Picaboo is a printing service that allows its users to upload their favorite digital photos and create custom photo products through dozens of options. This includes mugs, calendars, greeting cards, and yearbooks.

One of the pioneers of the modern customizable photo product, Picaboo, began as a passion project between two best friends, Howard Field and Kevin McCurdy – who strongly believed that their favorite photos should be given the respect and love they deserve.

They believed that the best way to commemorate a meaningful photo was to incorporate them into keepsakes and other mementos.

Instead of having the hassle of tracking down a print service, only to find that they could put a photo on the tiny T-shirt belonging to a teddy bear – Field and McCurdy wanted their users to have full control of their photo customization within the comfort of their homes.

The two friends were set on forever changing the way people choose to give new life to their favorite images.

From 2002 to 2004, Picaboo would secure the investors necessary to make their dream a reality and rolled out the first version of their photo book software for desktop use in 2005.

With each passing year, Picaboo delivered new mediums and specs to improve their users’ experience.

In 2012, they reached one million users worldwide and have not looked back since. Let us take a look at what enabled a simple idea to become a global tool utilized by its users to get as much as possible out of their favorite photos.

Picaboo Program Layout

Picaboo Program Layout

The Picaboo interface clearly has its users’ experience in mind by just glancing at the layout of its functions to make photo editing and customization as fun as possible.

Picaboo offers a header containing a majority of its tools needed to make each project all your own.

From adding text to adjusting border size, all of these tools can be clicked on – revealing a drop-down menu of several options to set your images apart from the rest.

Fun stickers and thousands of clip art style images fit for any occasion can be added from the left vertical tool bar to give your photos a little added personality.

Did you just get back from a family reunion and have a photo ready to turn into a canvas print? Did you take a great picture of the family on the beach and now what to commemorate it on a mug?

There are plenty of family oriented pre-loaded stickers and illustrations to give the image a little boost of fun.

Photo editing is also intuitive and easy to use.

Brightness, contrast, and color saturation are just a few of the fully customizable gradients available to alter your photo’s appearance. Once the image itself looks up to par, you can then choose to have it cut into hearts and other fun shapes to place over a huge catalogue of backgrounds.

From graduations to weddings, there is a background available for every event imaginable. The vast array of background options is contained within categories and its search engine will allow you to easily find the perfect background to go along with each picture.

Text is also extremely easy to add to the image too –  helping to detail and label the moment captured in each photo.

Once the Add Text button is selected, a window will become available to type your tag. This window of text can then be dragged and moved to the location you think is best.

Once you are set in the perfect spot on your picture to display your verbiage, an accompanying custom toolbar will be available to change the font, size, and color of your text – as well as additional modifications to make it look even better.

Fonts range from playful to professional so there is sure to be one to go along with any source material possible.

If you are set on making a full photo book to commemorate a meaningful event in your life such as a vacation or holiday for example, Picaboo allows you to add pages at the press of a button. If you’d like a single image to cover two adjacent pages, you are definitely in luck.

Picaboo was the first company to allow its users to take a single image and have it spread over two full pages. This is perfect for larger families who could otherwise risk having some members of not fully fitting on a single page.

The user experience on the software is clearly in the upper echelon of self-editing photo software, but how do the photo etched products look?

Products

picaboo products

​Just in case a traditional photo book was not what you had in mind, Picaboo offers phone or tablet cases, pillows, tote bags, and several other products just waiting for you to add your personal pictures onto.

One of these, “outside of the box options,” could very well be a safe bet over their paper books, as users have expressed disappointment in the craftsmanship of some of Picaboo’s yearbooks and scrapbooks.

If you’re a true metal head, you are surely in the right place.

The photo customization company offers its users an option to have their favorite pics etched onto a metal print –  that can be easily mounted to your wall.

Made from solid aluminum, these photo canvases are surely built for longevity and durability.

Picaboo’s greeting card options will instantly make you regret all of those old Christmas cards where everyone included had a serious red eye problem.

Perhaps you decided to have a pillow made with your cat’s face on it, only to receive a dirty look from your dog. No need to worry. Buddy will be happy to know that you can just have his face placed on an entire customizable blanket. Just be ready to order a back up blanket once your cat finds out.

​Pricing

Pricing of picaboo

​You now have a good idea of all the product options available for you to choose from, but how much do these keepsakes set you back?


Each type of product has its own price range directly correlating to the intricacy and depth of detail of the piece desired. If you’d just like to catalogue the events of your weekend getaway to the beach, Picaboo’s most popular option offers a very affordable price point in their simple photo book.

With more meaningful milestones, seamless overlay and matte finishes are available for $64.99 and added protection in the form of authentic leather, wrapping can be purchased for $199.99.

If this still just won’t do, for a hefty $399.99 and above, users can choose to have their most meaningful moments captured on double-thick premium pages complete with satin finish.

If you find yourself glued to your cellphone like most people these days, perhaps a custom phone case with your favorite picture on it is your best bet. Starting at $44.99 for a snap on case and $54.99 for the more durable, protective version, you can look to the back of your phone whenever you’d like to be reminded of your favorite captured moment.

Pricing for most other options are set according to dimensional sizing. For example, the canvas print option starts at $79.99 for a 15 x 10 layout and all the way up to $169.99 for a 36 x 34-inch version.

Picaboo does its very best to ensure customers of all economic backgrounds have a chance to secure a physical keepsake with its wide range of pricing options.

​Public Perception

Public Perception of picaboo

Picaboo was truly the first of its kind with this distinct range of photo customization capabilities. Through the seven years it took to receive their one millionth customer, Picaboo has gained and maintained a large fan base that continues to remain loyal.

In approximately the past three years however, self-publishing photo product competitors such as Mixbook and Costco have been on the incline in terms of innovation and constant improvement in their quality.

During this time, Picaboo has remained relatively stagnant in terms of new offerings to their user experience.

Many of the most recent reviews we have come across, consist of customer experience – involving problems with customer service as well.

Mary S. received a photo canvas as a gift, and it had a large black line across the entire print. After a difficult time with customer service, they did end up replacing the canvas, but ended up charging Mary full price for the replacement. Mary urges that future customers don’t, “believe their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.”

Shipping inconsistencies are another common theme within the most recent takes on the photo product company’s offerings. Many customers complain of being double charged for shipping after their initial package had not arrived weeks after of being overdue.

Others tell stories of paying the extra money for expedited shipping and not receiving their order until after the standard shipping expected delivery. Samantha C. forked over an extra $200 to guarantee that her package would be delivered before Christmas.

“These were Christmas gifts and now they won’t be on time,” Samantha said.

She went on to say that her package did indeed arrive after the holiday. Custom service did, however, refund the full $200 in shipping costs for the inconvenience.

Other complaints include color issues, claiming that there were serious problems with the color black in particular. True black would instead be of a much lighter hue that the original image portrayed.

Tom’s Guide, an independent reviewer of various products rates Picaboo a 7 out 10 and echoes much of the sentiment felt by consumers.

Although Picaboo was once the leader in self-published photo products, it has fallen behind the competition in recent years. Mixbook has begun to make a strong push to the head of the pack as more consumers are gravitating toward its exceptional customer service and stellar product offerings.

The most recent update to Picaboo’s software has also seemed to greatly hinder some functionality of the photo book program, including significant lag when attempting to add additional pages of photos.

​Final Thoughts

​Final Thoughts

Picaboo was once the absolute go-to company for all of your custom photo product needs.

Unfortunately, In the past few years, Picaboo’s tech has appeared to have gone stale.

Once true innovators of the market, they have reached a plateau that they are currently trying to get past.

Customer service issues, shipping problems, and overall quality currently seem to be on a decline. There are some current positive reviews of the company, but they are mainly from loyal customers who have been using their products since their system went live in 2005.

Picaboo was once a truly great company.

However, in the past few years, the once leader has fallen prey to several other companies that are providing products of higher quality and consistency.

If you are looking for a company to help you realize your perfect photo product dream, you should look instead to Mixbook. They have been around almost as long as Picaboo and continue to build upon their user experience to make things not only fresh and interesting, but also fun.

Color consistency tends to be much more accurate with Mixbook as their constant successful updates ensure the color rendering is as great as it can be.

Picaboo is trying to improve their customer experience by adding product option such as blankets and pillows. They still deliver great products, but there are many inconsistencies in color when compared to similar companies such as Costco and Mixbook.

Hopefully, Picaboo can correct these user experience problems and once again reach the top, but for now, the company has far too many issues in consistent products. There are other options currently that deliver great products on a much more regular basis.

Perhaps Picaboo’s current problem rests in its need to expand its product line options. Mixbook may restrict their products to only paper printing, but they do so with much greater and steadier regularity. Only time will tell if Picaboo can get back to its completely innovative roots. Its users sure hope so. No one wants any uninvited streaks to make their way onto that photo canvas of last year’s big vacation.

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Paul

Digital Poet at BurnWorld Inc.

I am the Team Leader here at BurnWorld. I am an audio/video enthusiast and have been in this industry for over 10 years. I love testing DVD/Blu-Ray and Video software.


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