First off, a disclaimer – I was given a voucher to cover the cost of a photobook from Saal Digital, in return for an review. Having said that, my review is entirely honest, so please read on 🙂
Creating the photobook
The first step was to go to the Saal Digital site online and choose the type of photobook I wanted. They have a good variety of sizes so you should be able to find what suits you. I went for the A4 portrait size. With each size you then get to choose how many pages you want, and various finish options. I chose the standard finish, which was a glossy unpadded hardcover, photo paper glossy, 26 pages, without giftbox. This is currently priced at £24.95.
The next step was to download their Design software. This was a quick download and was a breeze to use, running on Adobe Air. You can choose to create your photobook online, but I was really pleased to have this alternative as my broadband speed isn’t great. It meant I could do all the planning and designing offline, and then upload when I was finished.
You have 3 options for designing your photobook – you can have an empty template, a ‘one minute photobook’, or use AutoLayout. The empty template would allow you to design every aspect yourself, and at the other extreme the ‘one minute photobook’ would allow you to just choose the photos and let it design it for you. I went for the middle option of AutoLayout. This allowed me to choose the layout template for each page and then drag and drop my photos into it. It was simple to use and I could change my mind and try different things out until I was happy with the design. I went for a very simple layout with full page photos and no extra design features or text. I can imagine if you were making a photobook of wedding photos, or baby photos, you might find these features more useful, but I just wanted a book to show off some of my photos.
Order and Delivery
I placed my order on Saturday 18th November and my photobook arrived today (24th). That’s a pretty good turnaround especially as it was shipped from Germany to the UK, adding a little extra time. The order process was smooth and they have a PayPal option which is great. Communication was good, with an order confirmation email and a further email to let me know when it was dispatched (on 20th November). The photobook arrived well-packaged and in perfect condition
The finished photobook
I should point out that the photos below were taken on my phone, and are not up to my usual standards – the photobook looks way better in person.
When the photobook arrived I was delighted. It looks so shiny and beautiful, and it’s wonderful seeing my photos in physical form looking so good. I think we forget, in this digital age, the joy of having a physical copy of your photos. The A4 size I chose is a very similar shape and weight to the average Annual that you see in the shops at this time of year.
Here’s the cover – I chose my favourite ever dragonfly image to grace the cover 🙂 It looks much better in real life.
The photobooks use “Layflat binding” – this is described as “Perfect layflat design with no distracting gutters, ideal for full panoramic spreads”. It’s a really nice way of displaying photos. I was wondering if the middle of each photo would have a gap or a line because they were going across the full spread, but it is not like that – it’s smooth all the way across with just a small crease which isn’t that noticeable when you open the page flat.
Here are a few of my photo spreads:
I can’t tell you how nice it is to see my photos looking so professional in a physical book! I know it’s just a book I made for myself, but it feels good 🙂
Here are some more views of the photobook:
All in all I was really pleased. The book looks beautiful and it feels solid and good quality. The printing of the photos is perfect as far as I can tell. My photos are crisp and the colour is just right. The quality of the paper is good – it’s got stiffness to it, it’s not flimsy at all, and it’s beautifully shiny. I have to say I am delighted, and would recommend Saal Digital. And honestly, I’m not just saying that because they gave me a voucher! It would make a lovely gift if you filled it with photos from family events, holidays, or weddings or whatever the person you’re gifting it to would enjoy.
This has been an amazing transformation of images on my screen to a beautiful, physical book, so I’m entering this post into the Weekly Photo Challenge too 🙂