Spreads: Matte, 36 pages
Cover: Gloss / unpadded
All images used were at least 3000 px shortest edge and 300 dpi
Recently I was sent a link to an Instagram advert for Saal Digital that was offering a £40 off voucher in exchange for an honest review, all you pay is the postage/any extras.
I’m not usually one to pay attention to these sorts of things as they usually have a hidden catch, but after reading about it all a bit more, it seemed like an interesting idea and I’ve been wanting to get a photo book of my work printed for a while, so why not?
To start creating your book, you need to download the Saal Digital software. Straight away for me this added a bit of a barrier, especially seeing as a lot of online printers these days have interfaces you can use on their website, but on the plus side, it doesn’t take long to get installed and started.
The software is simple, easy to use and understand. They have basic tools such as the ability to add text, multiple preset templates, as well as various clip art and shapes you can add. Adding images is really easy too, your files are all available in a list menu, that allows you to drag and drop your images in place. As well as dragging and dropping, I love the ability to resize your images on the pages, this allows you to create your own layouts and have as many or as little images on your pages as you like.
Another great feature, that seems quite basic, but is REALLY useful, is the ability to save your design. You don’t have to sit and do it all in one go. This also means if you ever need future copies or want to use the same layout again, you’re able to re-load up your design at a later date.
The printing and delivery time
Once it was all uploaded and in the system, the turn around time was phenomenal. I couldn’t get over how quickly it arrived. I got all the images in place and ordered my book on the 31st of December, the book then arrived by the 4th of January. You wouldn’t find that sort of time scale with most printers.
The book itself
On first glance, the book looks great, it has a nice weight to it, the colours are bold and the text on the front is crisp. My only reserve is, as I stretched the image large enough to fit the front and back of the cover, it isn’t 100% sharp, which is a shame as the software said it was high enough res and the image is high enough res.
The pages of the book aren’t quite what you get from standard photo books, they have a photographic paper type finish. They have a really nice quality feel to them, lovely and thick. Strangely, although the pages are matte, they still have a slight gloss/sheen to them being photographic paper, this would be something to keep in mind with future orders.
One thing I really like is due to the way the book is bound, you don’t lose any of the images to the center of the book, each double page spread can been seen in full glory. With double page spreads in mind, something that did disappoint me a little is none of the images (especially the double page spreads) seem to be 100% crisp. I’m not sure if its because of the paper it’s printed on or the way they are printed but they just don’t have the sharpness that I know the images I used have.
If I were to buy another photo book from Saal Digital, I’d perhaps try the gloss option for the pages to see if it improved the sharpness of the images. I think for people looking for a quality and value for money custom printed photo book, Saal Digital are definitely worth a try. The quality of the book overall is lovely and would make a great gift or coffee table book. I’m tempted to do some more testing with Saal, especially their Kodak Metallic posters.
Software / Upload: 8/10 (Based on ease of use / optional extras / speed of uploads etc.)
Turnaround / Delivery time: 10/10
Price: 9/10 (Compared to other photo book providers)
The product: 8/10