Photo Book Review from Saal Digital
I was in the market for a more affordable wedding album / photo book provider as although the albums I provide from Folio Albums are luxurious they are out of a lot of people’s budgets. I didn’t want clients to miss out on getting their very own wedding album so I started looking at different suppliers of photo books. Luckily right at that time I saw an advertisement on Facebook by print supplier Saal Digital for people to review their new photo books and in return they would offer a voucher of £40 towards their photo books. I thought great, perfect timing! 🙂
Saal offer numerous options for their photo books such as glossy or matt papers, padded covers, full colour photo print on the front of the book or upgrades to leatherette and the option of a gift box.
To create the Saal photo book you need to download their software called Saal Design Software to your computer, which was very painless. You are presented with a very easy to navigate interface where you can choose the product you would like to create. I naturally chose Photobook.
The next screen is to choose the size of photo book required. The most common size I think and the size I chose was the A4 landscape, but Saal Digital do offer A4 portrait, A5 portrait, small and large square books and even A3!
The next screen is customising details of the photo book. There are options of photo cover or leatherette, paper type, cover padding, whether you want to pay to remove the Saal Digital barcode on the rear and inside rear of the book. Here you can also choose the quantity of pages you would like the book to have, and whether a gift box is required. For my sample album I chose full cover photo in gloss, padded covers, gift box, and left the barcode intact as it is very small, but if you would like to remove it the cost was an extra £5.
The next screen is the actual design stage of the photo book creation. At first, I was a little overwhelmed and there looked liked there was lots of different options, but I soon got the hang of it choosing the wedding design, and browsing for my photos. There are options for adding built in clip art, shapes with various solid fills and gradient fills. I was able to change the transparency of my solid filled box and allow the photo to show through which was great.
I spent lots of time designing the front cover, as I was unsure of which looked the best, but I eventually settled on a design I was happy with. I was able to add extra individual pages to accommodate my volume of images, and also choose different page designs. There are page designs for a full page image right up to 8 images on a double page spread. I also managed to create a custom page layout to have 12 images on a double page spread.
One special benefit of Saal Digital’s photo books is the lay flat premium design which allows a full page double spread without losing any of the image in the centre of the book.
The gift box at time of ordering was £20 and I have to say I think its a little steep, and it would be much better if the box could be customised to include some text or image. I thought I had read this on Saal Digital’s website but in the design software, I couldn’t see anywhere to customise the box. Despite the cost, I think the gift box is necessary to present to clients and also for storage.
When it came to sending the order off, I noticed that Saal Digital require that you use one of Saal Digital’s ICC profile (custom colour profile) to make sure that the colours you see on screen are the same when the book is printed depending on the paper used. Saal Digital require the customer to use a specific colour profile depending on the paper used. When I have had things sent to the printers before they always just accept in the standard SRGB colour profile which is what most programs use for editing and what cameras use. I downloaded the colour profile for photo book glossy paper from the Saal Digital website and applied to my images. I was disappointed with the result and my images looked washed out. I would have to re-edit all of my images to accomodate for the colour change of the Saal Digital colour profile which I wasn’t prepared to do, so I took the decision to let the images go to Saal Digital for print just using the standard SRGB colour profile. I knew it was a risk but as I was getting the voucher towards this from Saal Digital it was a smaller risk.
When the photo book came, I was slightly anxious to say the least, but looking through the book most of the images look fine, there was a few images that did looked washed out, so I may need to tweak some images in the future if using Saal Digital.
Would I use Saal Digital again and for my clients? Short answer yes. Although the small issue with the colour profile which can be overcome, I am happy with the quality, design software and speed of delivery which came from Germany I think in just a few days. I have since shown the wedding album to clients at consultations and they have been very happy and interested in the album showing great interest that they may order one when their images are ready.