Disclaimer – I received £40 voucher towards a photobook from Saal-Digital on understanding that I would review the product. Including shipping, the total cost of the book was £49.90
Part 1 of the review – covering the software used to create the book is available here
I’ve now received my photobook from Saal Digital and I have to say I am very impressed!
The book wasn’t cheap, but you can tell that it’s a high quality product. I placed the order on 8th July and the book arrived on the 12th – a very impressive turn around time too. It was well packaged and arrived in great condition, which is important when you’ve spent almost £50 on an item and particularly so for hardbacks which are prone to corner damage in the mail.
The first thing you notice about the book is the quality of the pages, they’re very thick and the design is genuinely ‘lay flat’ allowing images to go over the gutter with no loss – which is very nice. As you can see with a darker images across the gutter there is a thin white line at the gutter but I don’t see this as a major issue. The cover too is nice and thick and genuinely hard back. Unfortunately there’s no dust jacket option I can find but you can get a gift box which I think would be very nice for a client.
Firstly the blacks are very good in the book. I use a lot of black in my images and frequently find that in production they are definitely more grey. Not the case here though, the blacks are rich and deep which is great!
The colours too are really well rendered. I warmed up my images to align to the icc profile provided for proofing and this may have been a bit too much. It’s not a massive difference and is quite reassuring really as I think had I not proofed the colours would have still been accurate. In future I’ll probably not worry about adjusting colours for the paper in most of my images, I’m confident they would be very close to right for the glossy paper.
The glossy finish is VERY glossy, so much so it was hard to get a picture of the book without reflections in. In general I think I’d prefer a slightly less glossy option and I may order a book in the matte finish to see whether that’s preferable. I suspect it may be too matte and what I’m after is more of a satin finish but we’ll see. I would have also liked a matte cover but I wanted to use a dark image and the software warned me that matte covers are unsuitable for dark images – which is fair enough, at least I was warned.
There is an option for a leather cover with embossing which I’d also like to try but it costs quite a lot more than a standard cover which I think is a bit off-putting.
This is an excellent, premium product and I’ll be very proud using this portfolio to show my clients a range of my work. I would definitely use Saal Digital in future to create albums for my clients, and subject to trying out the other finish options I think they will be my go-to company for books from now on. You are paying a premium for the quality and you certainly can get books for cheaper than this but the reliable colours and quality are really worth the additional cost in my view.
I’m also pretty confident that if there were any problem, Saal’s customer service would be good. There are no issues with this book but I did speak to them during my design phase and they responded quickly and with good advice.
Saal also do wall art and I’d be tempted to try them although I prefer a paper print backed on aluminium over direct aluminium printing and I can’t see that option on their website. However, I’ve ordered a sample set so I can compare them to my currently preferred company for wall art – Whitewall.
Overall I’m really pleased with the book – I give it 9/10 with just 1 point lost because I find the finish a bit over glossy!
You can find Saal-Digital photobooks at http://www.saal-digital.co.uk/photobooks/