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Saal-Digital Photobook Professional Line Review

Intro

A few weeks ago, I came across a promotional offer from Saal-Digital. A voucher worth £100 was offered towards the production of a Professional Line Photobook and all they were asking for in return, was an honest review of their product.

Perhaps you should know that I have been using Saal’s service for years now when it comes to high end prints and the production of wall art, using aluminium and acrylic materials.

Saal Photobook Acrylic Cover
It is a bit like going to your favourite restaurant. As long as you won’t be disappointed with food and service, you will keep visiting it. That said, this article is not really sponsored but based on the deal, voucher for honest review. Saal stood to their side of the deal and now I’m doing my bit to it. Promise, I will try to be as objective, open and honest as possible.

I applied for the voucher and received it the next day in an email. The option I chose is 30 x 21cm format, glossy paper, 48 pages and as a highlight, the Acrylic and black leather cover. As the name „Professional Line“ suggests, it is considered a high end product and the nature of exclusive products is that they come with a price. In my case the bill for the finished book was at £105.29. Redeeming a voucher with Saal is a straight forward process and so it was this time too.

Layout

There are multiple options to design the layout of your photobook. You can do it in a layout software like Adobe InDesign or you use the Saal-Digital design software, which is what I did, simply because I’m used to it. The software is straight forward and intuitive to use. If you are in a hurry, it even offers the option to select the folder with your images and activate the Auto Layout Function.

Because I had a particular Layout in mind, I did it manually. Simply choose the page you want to add your photo, drag & drop, position and size it the way you want. You can add clipart’s and text, choose different backgrounds and over all, set your creativity free.

Saal Design Software
An important thing to consider in printing a book is bleed. It means printing that goes beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed off. The bleed gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper as well as design inconsistencies. If done wrong, it may happen that a small line of unprinted space can occur around the edges. The Saal software clearly shows the bleed line, gives you a warning when this could happen and reminds you to add enough space to avoid this issue.
Saal Design Software Bleed

Material

From the moment of unpacking, the photobook feels like a quality product. The leather – or more precise, the leathered – cover has a nice texture and an elegant feel to it. The craftsmanship is flawless and nowhere are traces of excess glue visible. Even before you open it, the 5mm thick Acrylic cover is a real eye-catcher and actually you don’t want to touch it, simply because you know, on a material like this you will leave fingerprints. The acrylic itself is nicely cut but when you run a finger around the edges, you can just feel minor imperfections. This is not an issue when you display an acrylic print on a wall because it will hardly be touched. But for the cover of a book, an additional machining step to just slightly break the edges might be a good idea.

The quality feel of the book continues when you open it and flick through the pages. The paper is really thick, almost like cardboard and there is no need to worry that you could accidentally damage it. The book is produced in a flat binding, which means no matter what page you open, the opposite sides are always on a flat level. This is particular important when you span photos across two pages. It works very well and gives you that extra design opportunity to display a panoramic image on a double page or display three evenly sized images on two pages of the book.
Saal Photobook Material

Print Quality

If you know my photographic work, you are aware that I like bold colours and stark contrasts. To amplify this almost hyperrealistic look and to make the finest of details visible, I chose a glossy paper for my photobook and I am not disappointed. The colours shine in excellent brilliance, the blacks are intense and even the finest details are printed perfectly. There is no colour deviation and the colours are exactly as they are supposed to be.

The flawless print quality is not a surprise to me, because as I mentioned above, I am using Saal-Digital regularly for high end prints and I would certainly not do that when I would not be happy with their print quality.

Saal-Digital Print Quality

Only one small issue appears on the first three pages, close to the binding side of the book. It looks like pressure marks on the paper, created perhaps by applying too much pressure on some sort of tool, used in the production process. It is only visible when I’m looking in a flat angle over the pages, with the light source in front of me. I know that I’m really pedantic now but I guess even these small details are part of an honest review.

 

Verdict

The Saal-Digital Photobook Professional Line holds what the name suggests, a high quality product and an excellent way to show off my portfolio. It looks great, it feels great and leaves no doubt that this is not a mainstream product but rather something extraordinary – a premium product.

Features like the leather cover with the acrylic front page are costly and no doubt, the book comes with a price tag. That makes it a product for the special occasion. But so does an Italian sports car. The minor flaws I mentioned might be due to the hand made production process and like a taylored suit, where not all stitches are perfect, it can be seen as adding character.

Let’s ask a bride whether she wants the memories of her special day presented in the most extraordinary way possible. I guess, we all know the answer.

Contact

+44 (0)7725 940363

oliver@herboldphotography.com

Copyright

© Oliver Herbold Photography 2018

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