Are you struggling to think of the perfect gift for that one person that’s always on the go? If so, you might want to consider purchasing some personalized photo calendars to ring in the new year! These gifts are perfect – sentimental, yet practical. Not only that, there are options that are often low-cost (meaning you won’t have to shell out too much cash).
But, since so many printing companies offer photo calendars, you might be wondering which is the best photo calendar to buy. Unfortunately, not every calendar is created equally. There are some major discrepancies in print quality, style, and price between individual printers.
So, where does a person start their search?
We took the time to research some of the most talked-about photo calendar printers to see what they had to offer. Listed below are our top ten picks.
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1. Shutterfly Desk Calendar
This desk calendar makes a great personalized gift for family and friends.
A popular choice among online print retailers, Shutterfly was one of the first companies around to offer personalized photo calendars. But longevity alone isn’t enough to claim the top spot in the hearts of customers. So, how does its product stack up against competitors?
At $14.99 each, the Shutterfly desk calendar is one of the least expensive products featured in today’s article. These calendars are printed on 5″x11″ cardstock, offer 25+ designs and layouts, and come with a built-in stand to make displaying it easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t deliver as much as I had hoped.
For starters, using Shutterfly’s design wizard was both complex and restrictive. No matter what I did, my print preview always looked a little clunky and misaligned. Unfortunately, it just lacked the professional, polished touch I was hoping for. It almost seemed like there was just too much choice for styles, layouts, and text options.
In the past, I’ve been quite satisfied with many of Shutterfly’s prints. However, the images I chose for my print calendar seemed to have degraded somewhere during the print process. It could have been a lot worse, but I found myself disappointed with the results all the same.
I will say this – overall, the desk calendar was passable and might be a good choice for casual photographers looking to get creative with their shots. However, based on my experience, there wasn’t much else to write home about outside of an affordable price tag, and that you can start the calendar on any month that you choose.
2. Mixbook Wall Calendar
The print quality of the Mixbook wall calendar is excellent. The prices are fairly high, but the results are worth it
As it turns out, despite a misleading name, Mixbook is capable of much more than binding books. Admittedly, I was initially skeptical about placing an order. However, review after review that I read ranked Mixbook among the top personalized photo calendar providers. So, I decided to set my preconceived notions aside and give them a shot.
The Mixbook online software gives you the versatile, flexible tools you need to create a calendar you’ll love all year round. You can easily upload your own photos and graphics to use as backgrounds or clip art. Mixbook’s date grid pages can also be customized, just as you can with the photo pages.
As it turns out, my doubts were unfounded and the positive hype was warranted. The wall calendar that arrived at my doorstep was breathtaking.
Despite the fact that I didn’t forward particularly large JPEGs to Mixbook, each of my photographs looked crisp and beautiful. The colors were striking and true to the original file without being overly saturated. For those points alone, anyone seeking out a personalized photo calendar should consider Mixbook.
I only have two negative comments to make about this particular product. Firstly, the calendar lacks creative flair. Outside of choosing between square or landscape orientation, much of the design is left outside of the customer’s hands.
On top of that, the price is a little much. A 12″x12″ calendar starts at $37.99, and the 11″x8.5″ and 14″x11″ landscape format ones start at $28.99 (not including taxes and shipping). It’s easy to find similar calendars for a fraction of the cost, so those on a tight budget will likely fare better elsewhere.
That said, if money isn’t a concern in this equation, Mixbook won’t let you down. And, given that it’s the holiday season, finding the right coupon might slice the price!
3. Minted Hanging Calendar
Each design is created by independent artists and printed on high quality card. You can also customize this calendar with important dates or notes
Minted doesn’t have quite as large of a following as some of the other names featured on today’s list. However, this small operation has gained traction among professionals looking for high-quality prints. What does their hanging calendar have to offer?
Unlike Shutterfly and Mixbook, Minted’s business model doesn’t rely on churning out photographic prints. Instead, the site’s mission is to provide a platform for attractive art and home decor produced by individual artists. Considering the company’s differences from other vendors, I was curious to see how they would handle my images.
To my surprise, Minted did a better job of replicating my images than some of the “expert” print shops I’ve used in the past. Despite using matte paper, the tonality of my images was beautifully preserved. It completely lacked the washed-out look that sometimes occurs when straying away from lusters and glosses.
Crafted by an actual designer, the typography and composition of my calendar was spot on from the start. I spent very little time making adjustments, as everything already looked amazing.
The downsides? If you want a themed, truly personal calendar, their templates might not satisfy you. While each template is designed by an artist, and there are lots to choose from, there just isn’t that much in the way of creative freedom.
Some might consider that Minted’s hanging photo calendars come at a steep price, even their Minimalist Classic ones are expensive. 11″x8.5″ calendars start at $29, and the 11.5″x14″ Grand calendar is $39. However, its lovely presentation was enough to make it a clear-cut favorite straight away. You can also start on any month and customize your calendar with important dates, and notes, so you won’t forget special occasions!
Clearly made with care and attention to detail, it’s a product that you’ll feel proud year-round to have hanging in your home.
4. CanvasChamp Wall Calendar
CanvasChamp offer great discount and bulk deals, which makes them even better value for money. The quality is good for the price, too
If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful wall calendar, then CanvasChamp might be the ideal choice for you. This company offers a huge range of printing services from calendars to pillow prints and has some of the lowest calendar prices out there.
Poster calendars start at $4.99, desk calendars at $7.99, and wall calendars at $11.99. Bulk discounts and limited-time discounts also make CanvasChamp a good, value-for-money choice for businesses who want to print calendars to give to clients.
CanvasChamp can also accept orders from outside the USA since it has production facilities in the UK and India. The design tool on the website is very easy to use, and a complete beginner wouldn’t find it difficult to design a calendar this way.
Uploading images is simple, and you have the option of uploading from Facebook and Instagram as well as your computer. This makes it easy to quickly create prints for a family calendar, as many people have a huge Facebook or Instagram photo gallery. You can also customize by adding special occasions to the calendar dates, and you also get to choose the month the calendar starts.
Although CanvasChamp calendars are cheap, the quality is surprisingly good, and the colors were reproduced accurately from the photos. Of course, you don’t get the premium paper and stunning print rendition you do with the more expensive calendar companies, but for the price they are good.
One of the downsides of CanvasChamp is the relatively small number of themes, templates, and design options available compared to other calendar companies. However, if you just want a simple, quick, and inexpensive way to create a photo calendar, it will probably be more than enough.
It is worth noting that delivery times from CanvasChamp can be a bit hit and miss, so we recommend ordering your calendars with plenty of time to accommodate delivery delays.
5. Picaboo Wall Calendar
You can add a lot of embellishments to the calendars with stickers, notes, and captions. You can also upload images direct from social media sites
When trying to come up with some other options for personalized photo calendars, I remembered that a friend of mine once recommended Picaboo. On a whim, I decided to see what they had to offer.
I can’t say that there is a massive assortment of options to choose from. Available as the Classic Calendar (11″x9″) for $25.99, or the Premium Calendar (14″x11″) for $40.99, they are also on the expensive side.
The hanging calendar background patterns are a bit uninspired compared to some of the exciting options offered by competitors. However, the folks at Picaboo left a little more room to play around with the interior design of their calendars. You also get the option of uploading your images from sites like Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as social media platforms.
Once you work past the site’s clumsy UI, you’ll find that Picaboo calendars actually allow a lot of freedom in how you choose to showcase your images. You can even add embellishments, stickers, and specific notes and captions to really personalize your work, along with the ability to add special dates.
After a long wait for my calendar, the package finally arrived at my door nearly two weeks after I placed my order. Unfortunately, the product I unboxed left me feeling disappointed.
Right off the bat, I noticed some serious issues with calendar color. Many images had a purple-magenta tint to them that was impossible to unsee.
What’s more, the materials themselves felt cheap. Combined with design flaws as simple as disallowing full-bleed images, Picaboo left a bad impression, so much so that I won’t be using them again. That said, if you’re okay with the print quality, the customizable nature of this calendar could make it the best photo calendar for you.
6. Snapfish Wood Block Desk Calendar
While this beechwood block desk calendar is more expensive than Shutterfly’s option, it looks very stylish
In many scenarios, Snapfish is pitted head to head against Shutterfly because of their similar business models. However, when it comes to their personalized photo desk calendars, Snapfish has a clear-cut advantage.
Diverting from the typical desktop designs, Snapfish uses a beechwood block to hold 12 rounded-corner cardstock prints. Without taking up much room, the display is eye-catching and elegant without detracting from the product’s purpose. The woodblock calendar is on the more expensive side at $24.99, but it looks classy.
Snapfish offers a number of attractive layouts that may be instantly applied to orders. In particular, I was pleased to see Snapfish’s lack of gimmicky themes, which seem to be run amok among the presets provided by similar services. There are filters to allow you to find the perfect design quickly, like Botanicals and Humor, or you can design your own from scratch. Better yet, the design I ultimately chose looked just as good in print as it did online.
Speaking of which, the photographs featured on my woodblock desk calendar turned out beautifully. I chose to unify the images in this collection with one of Snapfish’s provided filters, which proved not to be too overbearing or distracting. In fact, I feel that they may have made my prints a bit stronger by adding a bit of a contrast boost.
The biggest drawback concerning the woodblock calendar boils down to price. Compared to other traditional desk calendars, Snapfish comes at a significantly higher price. For those working on a tight budget, the difference might be significant enough to make seeking out an alternative worthwhile.
That being said, the quality and care placed into this calendar make it worthy of consideration regardless of the price tag. Snapfish also sells traditional personalized desk calendars, starting at $9.99, as well as a range of different-sized wall calendars, so there are options to suit every budget.
7. Walgreens Poster Calendar
It’s quick and easy to create your calendar, and same-day pickup is available at Walgreen’s brick-and-mortar stores
Walgreens isn’t the name that comes to mind when contemplating professional photo printing. However, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results you end up with.
The greatest draw to Walgreen’s print store isn’t too difficult to figure out. The locations are convenient and abundant. Using their online portal, you can send your print to the location nearest to you and pick it up in 24-hours. For all of the last-minute shoppers out there, the speedy service will come as a godsend.
However, convenience isn’t the only thing that Walgreens has going for it. Their print quality is actually quite good, with no signs of artifacts or pixelation present in my test print. A bright luster finish further works to bring out the colors and tones of each image.
That being said, there are a few sacrifices that you have to make when choosing Walgreens. For me, a major detractor was the minimal room left over on the poster for the actual calendar.
What’s more, you’re not going to get the same care or attention to detail with your product that you would get with a more specialized service. Be aware that, by nature, using a service like Walgreens leaves you more vulnerable to creases and kinks. Print malfunctions and other mishaps happen, which could leave your creation in poor shape and you high and dry.
Poster calendars from Walgreens start from $11.99 each, and they also offer a range of other personalized calendars, including a wood easel, wood hanger, and wood panel calendars, as well as the usual card calendars.
8. Printique Centerfold Calendar
The high-quality Printique Centerfold Calendar is good value for money. You can also choose between a 12 and 18-month calendar
Printique is part of Adorama, the well-known camera store which caters to photographers looking for high-quality equipment and excellent prints. Printique offers a small range of calendars – top hanging, centerfold, and desktop.
We’re looking at the centerfold calendars this time, and they are available in 6″x6″, 8″x8″, and 10″x10″ sizes. The 6×6 size starts at $15.99 for a 12-month calendar (you have the option of an 18-month calendar for $23.99 too), and there are options to have your photos printed on luster or glossy paper.
Printique calendars are on the more expensive side but are worth it because the quality is excellent. The design options are really nice, but there aren’t that many of them compared to some calendar companies.
They do have a lot of frames, backdrops, shapes, stickers, and grids, though, so most people will find something they like. Printique has a massive collection of frames, including the letters of the alphabet, dollar signs, and many shapes. The user interface is generally good, but I did have some issues with getting the drag-and-drop text boxes to behave properly!
On the subject of the text, you can choose from small, medium, and large, and once you have managed to position your text box it’s very simple to change the font and opacity, etc.
You can upload photos very easily from a variety of sources, including Lightroom, Flickr, Facebook, and Instagram. Printique lets you upload 8-bit TIFF files instead of JPEGs for better printing results, and, as expected, the quality of the finished calendar is superb.
9. Artifact Uprising Walnut Desktop Calendar
The card stock and walnut wood backing are made of superior materials, and the print quality really is excellent.
Artifact Uprising has a reputation for high-quality printing, and they did not disappoint with their custom photo calendar gifts.
At first, it might seem easy to turn your cheek and discount this calendar. Compared to other vendors, it’s pricey (my order cost about $30). What’s more, it doesn’t offer a ton in terms of customization. But the clean design and outstanding presentation make this the perfect gift for photography lovers to ring in a new year with.
While desktop photo calendars are far from a foreign concept, AU utilizes a very unique design and thoughtfully sourced materials for their product. Each order comes with an upright clipboard made from reclaimed waste wood.
Each individual page is printed on Mohawk superfine eggshell archival acid-free paper (say that three times fast!) and looks amazing. Despite being matte paper, it sports a great range of colors and tones. If you really like the look, you can even order new calendar inserts year after year for a discounted price!
I really only have one small complaint. The clip that holds the pages in place will inevitably cover a small part of your image. Be sure to keep this in mind when selecting images to order!
10. Nations Photo Lab Desk Calendar
This classy calendar is just the right size to fit easily on a desktop, and the paper is thick and well-made
Nations Photo Lab is a solid option if you’re looking for something sweet and straightforward for the coming new year. Overall, it’s got a lot to offer, despite having a few flaws.
The attractive desk calendar caught my eye for its price point – advertised as costing $24.50, and it drew me into a product that I ultimately ended up being quite happy with.
There’s some (but not a lot of) room for design customization, but frankly, this product doesn’t really need alterations. Though the calendar elements don’t overpower the image, Nations leaves plenty of room for customers to write on or mark up their purchases. Landscape and portrait orientations alike are extremely attractive.
Related Post: Nations Photo Lab Metal Print Review
Each calendar page is printed on thick, toothy paper. On one hand, this gives images a beautiful texture. However, shadows and dark tones definitely appear muted on this matte surface. For best results, be sure to choose light, contrasty images – otherwise, you may lose some valuable detail in your print.
In style, price, and quality, this Nations calendar is very similar to the Snapfish desk calendar I cited earlier. All in all, I’m very happy with it.
When push comes to shove, all of these options are popular for a reason. None of the options we’ve gone over today are totally free of faults. With that being said, we’ve drawn the following conclusions to help you find the best photo calendar for 2022:
- If you’re restricted to a tight budget, Shutterfly is a solid choice to stick by. At just $14.99 per desk calendar, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an option that’s more price friendly.
- Those interested in getting the best image quality possible are likely to gravitate toward Mixbook. Despite their reputation as an on-demand photo book publisher, there’s much more to them beyond books. The printers do an excellent job of retaining image quality, showing off images prominently and proudly. Artifact Uprising also provides customers with some excellent looking images on high-quality photo paper.
- For those seeking something a little bit outside the box that demands attention, Minted is a clear-cut winner. With innovative designs available in a variety of styles, they have something to suit just about any taste. Artifact Uprising also demands attention with its unique wood clip base.
- If you’re working on a time crunch, head over to Walgreens. Their results are decent, and with same-day pick-up available, the turnaround can’t be beaten.
- When there’s not much space to work with, the compact options available through Printique, Nations, and Snapfish may be able to accommodate. Their unique size and style options make them well suited for a tight spot.
- In theory, Picaboo offers a balanced option. The prices are reasonable, formats are simple, and the designs aren’t too flashy, making it an easy choice for a no-nonsense calendar. However, based on the execution, I really can’t recommend their product.
Have you ordered a calendar from any of our top picks? Did we miss your favorite vendor? Share your experience with us in the comments!