Photography

Review – Photo book by Saal Digital

This photo book is a high end product by Saal Digital. Recently Saal Digital gave me a voucher towards any of their photo books. I chose a 26 page, hardcover A4 size photo book and here’s the review:

Software Download

Saal Digital software is easy to download, but it requires Adobe AIR. My antivirus did not allow installing Adobe AIR. So I had to deactivate the antivirus before installing the software and then reactivate it. Apart from this, the software is easy to download and install.

Creating the album

The software lets you create photo prints, photo books, wall décor, cards, calendars and posters too. In the photo book, there are two types i.e. the normal Photo book and Photo book XT (extra thick).

You have the option of making the cover glossy, matte or leather in different colours. There’s also the option of getting the cover padded. I chose to make the cover as well as the spreads glossy along with padding for the cover. You can even get the photo book without the standard bar code and also with either white or black gift box. The bar code however is very small on the back cover and is not very prominent at all. So I did not mind having the bar code.

There are several templates to choose from, to create your design. But I went with an empty template so that I could have more control in designing my photo book. This is a 26 page photo book and the front and back covers are not counted towards the number of photo pages that you get with the photo book. You can add photos for the front and back covers as well, in effect making this a 28 page photo book if you want.

You can add photos from your computer and there’s an option of AutoFill as well. There are red guidelines to let you know in case your photos are exceeding the bleed lines and the photos will be trimmed off during printing. This feature is very helpful to avoid any nasty surprises in future. You can save your project so that you don’t lose the work that you have done.

There’s a large variety of options for backgrounds, clip arts and layout design. I chose a nice texture as my background for my front and back covers. I chose a black background for my pages which makes the photos stand out more, in my opinion. It is also very easy to arrange your photos on the pages. On the empty template I just had to add object boxes and get them to the right size.

Uploading the album design

While creating the album, the photos are uploaded from the computer to the software and this process is very quick. After completing the album design, you still have the option to review your choices regarding the cover, pages and padding. You then make the payment and the album design is uploaded to their website for production. This process takes a bit or time, but you can get other things done while this is happening. The production starts right after. I received an email to track the progress of my order.

Packaging and delivery

Delivery was very quick. I received my photo book within five days of uploading my project to their website. There were 3 layers of packaging and it was done well.

Quality of the photo book

There is good size padding on the cover. I was most impressed by the quality of the pages. The option of making the pages glossy makes a huge difference to the image quality. The pages are quite thick, which is an added advantage.

The first and the last page are the back of the hardcover of the photo book. I had some reservations about this while designing the photo book, because the back of the cover pages are usually rough pages and actual photo pages start separately. But there is no need to worry about this. The first and last pages are in perfect quality and are glued to the front and back covers very well.

Price

For the quality of the product received, I think it is a good price. However, if there was a 20 page version, I would be using this, a lot more frequently. It would suit the budget of family photographers more, in my opinion.

What I loved

  • The option to make the pages glossy is wonderful. There are many photo books in the market that allow you to make the cover glossy and the pages matte. The glossy pages give extra depth to the colours in your photos. Full page photos look very beautiful!
  • Even after adding a texture to the front and back covers, you can still add a photo on the cover pages. This allowed me to make a transparent logo as a PNG file and add my branding to the cover pages. You might want to add the name of your client and the shoot dates on the front cover.

View my photo book here.

Drawbacks

  • This is a 26 page photo book. Many photo books on the market are 20 page ones which in my opinion suit family photography better. For 1-2 hour sessions, it matches the number of photos that I deliver to my clients.
  • The photo book is quite smaller in both length and width compared to an A4 size photo book that I have created using another supplier. I have compared it with an A4 size paper print out as well, and the cover is small and the pages are even smaller.

Final Opinion

I really enjoyed creating the photo book and flipping through the pages of the photo book. It is definitely a high quality product by Saal Digital and I loved this opportunity to create my portfolio. I’m very happy with the quality of the photo paper and the printing. My photos look just as good in print as they do on the laptop screen, which is the main thing for me when creating a photo book.

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