Since a couple of years I am producing my photo books with Saal Digital. The editing and ordering is easily done within their own software that can be downloaded from the company's website. There is also the possibility to upload pdf files when the photo book is created with external software.
Applying for a User Experience Test
It was an announcement on Instagram where Saal Digital offered to have a free test of this premium product Professional Line for photographers. Customers, who wanted to apply for the test, just had to send pictures or a link to their website or social media account and also to be willing to review the product. I did so and luckily I was chosen for creating a free premium photo book and received a voucher over 60 EUR that would pay the minimum size of the photo book.
The book is handmade with a (synthetic) leather cover design and a noble acrylic front cover (printed from the rear side). There is no manufacturer logo brand on the book.
I decided to create a portfolio book that should present my favourite pictures of the last ten years. The book should have 70 pages and I hat to extend the minimum size so that I ended up at a price of 96.35 EUR (including VAT). That is 1.38 EUR per page which is value for money, and the acrylic cover included.
Managing the Color Space
To get the best quality out of the prints, it is useful to adjust your images to the color space of the chosen print/paper product. This is done with help of so called ICC-profiles. Therefore copy your chosen images and softproof them with the ICC-profiles that can be downloaded from a list with all types of Saal Digital's photo products (see ICC-Profiles). I imported the profile for my chosen book (Fotobuch Professional Line) into Affinity Photo and did the color management as shown in this softproof tutorial.
I designed the photo book with Saal Design Software, for the front cover design I used Canva.
Production and Delivery
That is what I like at Saal Digital - the production and delivery is very fast within a few days to your door.
My Portfolio Book
The pictures below show some impressions of the delivered product.
So finally I can comprehend my experience as follows:
I am absolutely happy with the quality and the fast delivery of this book.
The price is reasonable and I had also tried other products like fine art prints in the past and was always satisfied.
I am thankful for having me chosen for a free test the professional line product.
And I also have some proposals for Saal Digital for future improvement of their service:
There is a high quality gift box that can be ordered with the photo book, the price is 40.00 EUR. But in my case I just needed a simple, but strong packaging box in which I can transport my book to show to others. However, there is no cheaper alternative offered than this expensive gift box and I have to find some cardboard box by myself.
I know the design software since several years and to me it seems that there was no more development done on that software. I would expect more layout designs and masks (like e.g. editable gradient masks). Also proportion grids on the page design would be useful.
And finally, it would also be great to have full size pdf exports (not only preview files), just to be able to archive the photo books. This feature doesn't necessarily have to be part of the free software, maybe Saal Digital could also offer this as an additional paid service (e.g. 5 ct per page) like gift boxes or other add-ons.