I’ve produced a number of books of my images for myself as mentioned in a previous post as well as a book that is now enjoyed by a number of my friends around the World. While in the future I am likely to discard old prints because of the space they take up, I’d like to think I will keep my books for ever. They serve as a great reminder of my images, as well as all the super shoots I’ve had and many great friends I’ve made.
I was very interested when I saw an offer from Saal Digital offering a £40 discount on a book to selected bloggers in exchange for an honest review of their photobook. I’d not heard of the company, and many of us find a printing company we are happy with and stick with them, but their photobooks and other products looked interesting, and I read some good reviews of them, including from friends, so I thought I would give it a go.
I chose to do a book of images of the wonderful Ivory Flame. She has appeared in many of the images in the books I have done over the years, as she was one of the first models I worked with, and has been a key influence on my photography. I have always wanted a collection of my favourite images we produced together all in one place, and this seemed a good opportunity.
I downloaded and installed the software, and exported all the potential images into a folder. I dived straight in without reading any instructions, and didn’t really need to as the software was very easy to use and quite intuitive.
I selected an A4 photobook, and literally just browsed to where I’d stored the images and dragged and dropped them onto the pages where I wanted them. I chose to have one landscape orientation image per page, and two portrait images. Resizing and repositioning was as simple as dragging an image or a corner, and you were shown handy guides to line images up.
One item I initially struggled with was maintaining the aspect ratio of an image when resizing. I put a lot of effort into selecting exactly the right crop so want this maintained in the printing image. Most applications use the shift key to do this, but I eventually found a little lock icon which would lock the aspect ratio, however this is not sticky and you have to click it again for each image. It’s the only minor niggle I found with the software.
The book is available with either a matt or gloss paper. I would have preferred a lustre finish, but decided to go for the gloss.
Delivery was extremely quick, especially as the book is printed in Germany, where the company is based. I uploaded the book on a Thursday evening, the book was printed and despatched on the Friday, and I received it on the Tuesday. This is much quicker than other book suppliers I have used.
I am very impressed with the the book. It looks and feels like a quality product, nice thick paper, colour reproduction is excellent, the mono images have a very neutral feel, and the shadow detail printed very well. It is a very glossy paper, and while I would have preferred a choice of lustre paper I’m still very pleased with it. The book has lie flat pages as well, should you wish to do panorama images across two pages.
The cover is very nice, giving a quality feel to the book.
Shadow detail prints very well, with deep blacks and good detail.
Here’s some of the images from the book, click to see them larger.
You can see the full book on the Saal website. It is an excellent quality product, with really superb image reproduction, there is also a very good choice of different covers and delivery is extremely quick, the software is very simple to use as well. Prices are higher than where I normally get my books printed, and they are lacking a choice of lustre paper, but these points won’t be a issue to many people.
Many thank to Saal for the offer, and to Holly for all the great images we have produced together, it’s great to have so many of our best images in one book.