Some weeks ago I took up the offer from SAAL DIGITAL I saw on Facebook to create a free photo book in exchange for a review on my blog. I have seen a number of those reviews in the passing weeks and I just want to add mine to the fray.
And just to make it really clear, the offer was not bound to a positive review and I’m not in any way affiliated with SAAL DIGITAL!
By the way, the link I added is the english version of the site, but it’s available in other flavours too (.de – .fr etc). The US .com version seems to be in the making but not quite ready!
Creating the book is quite straightforward. You go to the site and download the software, then you chose what you want to do from the multitude of options (books, prints, posters, wall decors, fine art prints on Hahnemühle paper…. your choice.
Once you are settled, you get more options, and I’d like to stick to the one I tried, the photo book.
When you have chosen the format for the book you can refine your project by selecting from various cover colors and materials, from nice linen to leather, and select the paper (brilliant or matte). You can select a presentation box and of course the number of pages. No problem here as you can always adjust the number of pager in the process of creating the book. This is the french version of the software… others are available!
You load a folder with your photos into the application and then you can place them on the pages. There’s guidelines to help you place them consistently but one thing I missed (perhaps I didn’t find it…) is the way to use page templates to help you create a consistent look. You have to place and size the photos on each page, aligned to the guidelines so as to get the same placing from page to page.
I chose to only use the right pages for my photos and put a small text in the lower left page…. a bit of my artsy disposition I guess. I could as well have filled the book with more photos and even have them spread over two pages as the book opens completely flat with no fold in the middle.
If I had realised that I’d perhaps have changed my layout. This would be simply gorgeous for panoramic photos!
About one week after I ordered the book it arrived, nicely packed. Heavy cardboard envelope, soft bag, plastic protection…. can’t go wrong there.
The book itself is very nicely done!
The binding feels really great and the cream linen color I chose looks the part. The title printing on the linen is nicely done.
Inside, I had a small surprise…. the pages are VERY thick!
Feels more like cardboard than paper to me and I’m still not sure if a thinner paper stock would not be better. There seems no option to chose thiner material in the application though.
I don’t want to say that the paper is not OK! It looks really great, not too glossy, just right for a high quality photo book! Speaking of quality, the print quality is really great too. blacks are BLACK, just as I like them and the grey tones are good. Can’t really speak for color prints here, sorry!
All in all I am please by the quality and the really fast delivery. I can live with the two minor flaws of (probably) missing page templates in the software and the really thick paper…
As I often say here, photography does not end on a screen, if you’re working digitally or with film! It’s final product is something tangible, a print, a book, and I will certainly return to SAAL DIGITAL for other projects, as soon as my finances allow it.
Thanks for reading…