I recently had the chance to create my own Photo Book from Saal Digital in exchange for an honest review. I was really excited for this chance, as a photographer I have a huge backlog of photos which may end up on Flickr or Facebook but never usually make it into print! I did recently get some 6x4" prints from Snapfish on an offer but the quality was just not comparable to what I see on screen!
I used this as an excuse to make a kind of portfolio for the images I have taken over the past year. I have been taking some online Photography courses which you can read about in previous posts, this has really improved the quality of my recent work and I wanted to see that in print. I decided to go for a wraparound cover in matte padded finish. This image taken of a lake near the hoover dam is one of my favourites with all the colours and clouds and I think it worked well.
You don't have to have the padded cover, it is an extra, but it gives the book a nice, luxury feel.
For the inside I chose matte lustre finish on the paper as I tend to prefer this over gloss. The book also has flat binding so it lies perfectly flat as you turn the pages, this is another nice touch which allows your prints to not get lost in the gutter in the centre.
The possibilities for layouts are endless in these books! They have all sorts of collage templates with the option to have many photos per page. I kept it simple with each double spread having 2-4 photos, the flat binding meant I could have photos across the centre still perfectly viewable as shown below.
The colour representation is really beautiful. I have a retina screen on my mac which can show every flaw in an image, but also gives great definition for sharpness versus my old screen, these prints definitely do the images justice!
A couple of things to be careful of:
Check image size - The book creator does tell you if your images are big enough, the cover image was "good" rather than "great" in their terms which meant it wasn't pixellated but also wasn't quite as crisp as the others due to it being stretched to cover the front and back!
Check print proofs - The below images of jewellery are both meant to be on black slate, the right image is somehow a really pale grey which wasn't how the file looked when I saved it! No idea still how that happened but make sure you double check everything before sending to print.
Overall I would absolutely recommend Saal Digital for Photo Books, I may even try them for art prints too as they have a lot of other services on their website! I have bought photo books before as gifts, and while the printing is generally ok, they don't get even close to this one! The above book in A4 is around £44 with postage for I think a 29 page book. These are great for portfolios, wedding photos, really nice family albums and would make a very special gift for someone.