"A portrait is not made in the camera, but on either side of it." - E. Steichen
When I first started this website, it was done as an excuse to get me to be more creative, both with my camera and my daily routine – to force myself to go and try to do something completely new on a far more regular basis. Thankfully this has led to a collection of thousands of pictures of friends – both old and new - and plenty of stories to go with them so, when Saal gave me the chance to take a look at one of their photobooks, I checked the calendar, realised it was a friend’s birthday, and took advantage of the offer to kill two birds with one stone. ;)
So, a brief bio I guess is in order. Saal Digital is a European printing company operating out of Germany who specialise in photobooks and large prints – all done online using their software that you can download from their website.
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Pre arrival/ design phase
A quick download of Saal’s design software and off we were. Naturally with something that gives you complete control of the final product, the design programme felt a little needlessly complicated and fidgety but it’s nothing that a little perseverance doesn’t fix and it’s worth it for the level of control you have over the product.
The finished book!
Fast-forward a few days and voila, the book arrived and, all in all, I was left quite impressed by the final product. With the exception of the writing on the spine that happens to look a little like Primary-School Microsoft Publisher, it is tough to find fault with the book. The paper has a fantastic feel to it and the colour reproduction on the matte pages really was great. Add to that the lay-flat binding in every book and double page spreads are made to look a wee bit special. The only other thing I would add is that their printers do seem to make images a little bit darker so it may be worth adjusting the brightness just a tad before adding it to the design!
Overall it really is quite hard to fault the product for much. Yes, the design software is a tad fidgety and the text feature could be better, but for £25 including delivery for the 26 page book, it really does make for a great birthday present for a long-time travel friend!