I’m always known to be the one in the group who will take lots of photos. Not necessarily of the people I am with, but of everything I see – many a time have people had to wait while I focus in on the tiniest flower that no one else noticed, or I suddenly turn into a lioness (as I like to think, although in reality I probably couldn’t be more conspicuous if I tried) stalking silently to grab a shot of a bird before it flies away. I have thousands upon thousands of photos. I have never had any training – which I would love to do, and I wouldn’t even go as far as calling myself an amateur photographer as I actually have no idea how to use the settings of my camera but, I am super lucky in that such an amazing camera was recommended to me. It provides me with the most fantastic shots and goes everywhere with me.
With boxes of printed ‘way-back-when’ photos being stored in an attic, I’ve often thought about getting books printed with some of my favourite photos that have never made it past being uploaded onto social media – or some are yet to even leave the SD card! However, I never really looked into this as I thought I would rather be out taking more photos than sit for hours and hours sifting through files in order to make a book online. When the opportunity to create a photobook with Saal Digital arose, I still wondered whether it would be worth it as I really didn’t have much time to spare at the moment.
Saal Digital is a photo lab based in Germany who pride themselves on their short turnaround, quick delivery and excellent colour reproduction. The company target professional photographers due to their high quality images.
In order to create a photobook, their software must first be downloaded to your computer – which takes no time at all. Upon opening the software I was a bit confused of how to use it however, as it’s me, I didn’t actually read any instructions or help pages, I had a little click around instead. I was relieved to find that it took me minutes to get into the swing of things. The options available for the book are endless; hard cover, soft cover, padded, leatherette, remove barcode, colour, glossy, matte, shape, size, page count, page design.
I have seen some amazing professional photobooks that go for the simplistic look of a photo in the middle of each spread with a small caption and, although I admire these, I could not consider doing this myself as my travels are not simplistic, they are colourful and adventurous, based on a hap-hazard method of half-plans and spontaneity. I wanted my photobook to reflect this.
I was impressed to see money off deals on the price of various photobooks and so I took advantage of selecting a higher end photobook with more pages and a titanium leatherette cover. The company do not put their logo anywhere on the photobooks so you do not have to pay extra to get this removed however, I did spend an extra £5 to not have a barcode on mine. I created the photobook with 32 glossy pages, sectioning each country by a different colour. I was able to fit in many photos onto each page without any difficulty and in no time at all. The only thing I couldn’t find was how to zoom in and out of a photo. When using online picture design software I use an option of fitting the photo to the box, this isn’t to say the option is not present on the Saal software, just that I didn’t see it – and I also didn’t take the opportunity to use the help features or online chat.
I designed and sent off for my photobook within 4 hours. As soon as it was completed I was able to check through my design before paying via PayPal – another plus as it’s a fast and secure method of payment. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to have spent longer editing and organising photos but, for me, this begins to outweigh the pros of creating a book for my photos.
My photobook arrived in less than a week – I can’t tell you precisely how many days as I was away when it arrived but it was very quick, I hadn’t expected to come back home to it. I couldn’t wait to look through it but my initial reaction was to try and pick faults with it as I was aware I would be writing a review however, in spite of this, I absolutely loved it. The photographs are so clear and I’ll let you in on a secret – I didn’t use my original full size images, in order to save time. These images are reduced and still look fantastic, I can only imagine what the book would look like had I given it more time. The only negative is that a couple of the photos have come out a bit darker than I would have liked but this is likely to be my fault for not editing their contrast before sending the design. I am not too pleased with the look of having photos printed on the inside of the front and back cover but again this is my own fault during the design process – I would advise to leave the first and last page blank on the design software.
I have no idea how it is possible for Saal Digital to have such a quick turn-around time with such high quality printing. The colour in the book amazes me. I was also a little concerned about how photos may look when they are on the fold line, but even this has not affected the photo. I really have tried to find faults in the product but all I can find are faults caused by myself in the design process!
I have shared the book with people and they have also been impressed, although none have made their own photobook before to compare with but this does not mean they would not notice faults with mine. You may not wish to spend the high-end cost on casual photos snapped with your phone but I definitely recommend spending if you have high quality photos to print – which is precisely the target of Saal Digital.
What I also like about Saal Digital are the additional functions after receiving the hard copy. I am able to view my product online at any time, request re-orders, embed my photobook onto my website, and also other people could order a copy through a shared link if the subject of the book was more public rather than my face being spread throughout the pages!
I would definitely recommend Saal Digital on their quality and I have in fact seen the company be very attentive to customers on social media and on their website so I do not doubt that if there was a problem for any reason they would be quick to rectify this for you.
Saal Digital provided me with a code which gave £40 towards a photobook of my choice in return for an honest review. I was able to select any photobook that I wanted and I paid any additional costs after the £40. My photobook with my additional choices would usually cost £64.70 however, there was a deal making it £49.75 as well as £4.95 postage. I am of course very grateful for the opportunity but I do not feel this has made my review bias in any way as I strongly believe in honest reviews for others to read.