For quite a while I have been working on a long term project on the coastline, the images I have printed out as part of my portfolio, but I knew at some stage I was going to have to start looking into the concept of creating a book as it is how I feel the project belongs when it is completed. I don’t feel that having it just sat online will do it justice, so over the past few years, I have been dipping my toe into what is a very complex world of publishing and most importantly, self-publishing as I think that is the route I will be exploring.
I was then quite delighted when I saw an opportunity to apply to have a voucher from Saal enabling me to get a book printed so I could see the quality of these, I have seen a few other photographers I know and respect posting that they have done much the same in the past and I thought what is there to lose, they want me to post an honest review on how I have found the whole service and final quality… So here goes.
I started with installing the free to access program that is provided on the Saal Design software 4.0.200, from memory you instantly you are greeted with a tutorial system that shows you how to add the images and a few other snazzy tools, but the layout of the screen was fairly self-explanatory so I just started by uploading my files
I had a £100 budget as set by the voucher I was given, so I opted for the 30 x 21 Professional line photo book in the titanium leather finish, which was around £60, this allowed me to add the required number of pages and starting to work out the layout.
I found this to be very easy, the boxes are easy to work with, centralising the images on each page is simple, then adding a new text box to each page was done with ease, as a dyslexic it was also great to see that a spell checker was also incorporated into this for peace of mind.
There is not much else to say about the making process other than these guys seem to have all the tools in place to get creative or just make a standard book with no extra frills as I did.
Below you can see a sample of photos taken of the book that arrived. The book came wrapped in a protective foam then in a cardboard sleeve, so it was well protected for its transit.
My impressions of the book… I will start off with the only negative I could find.
At 1st I was a little shocked to see that the front of the book cover was just white, yes I guess that is my mistake for not adding an image on there, but on the software, it did just say Acrylic cover a I thought as I had selected the titanium leather finish, I would have got the titanium leather finish on the front as well. But if I am honest, for the type of book this is, I don’t think the white looks out of place, as I did not want my images from the series to be on the front, I just feel this could have been better communicated.
Now for the good bits. For the paper stock, I chose the HighEnd print matte as the series of images are very dark, so I did not want there to be any glare on the pages that will distract from the work, I feel this paper is of great quality, seems very durable and the colour rendition on it is superb. It is of good weight and while looking through the images that have very defined borders, you do not see any of the previous images when you flip over the page.
The layout of each page is nice, the lay-flat feel is superb and flicking from page to page allows you to see each image clearly.
In general, the whole quality feels great and by looking at it all over, you can see that the book will last for many years to come.
In conclusion too all this, I think I will explore using Saal professional or standard books for when the time comes to start looking into publishing the whole project, yes this will come down to cost, so I believe the Standard books will be the ones I use, but after seeing the craftsmanship of this one I have no reservations about ordering from Saal to pass on to my own clients.
So from me, that is a big thumbs up and I hope this has been of some use to whoever is reading it.