Stuart Forster reviews the process of creating a Professional Line photobook using software from Saal Digital.
Disclosure: I was gifted a Saal Professional Line photobook in return for providing my feedback about the company’s product and services. Independently of that, I have written this review, which has not been reviewed or approved by Saal Digital.
I’ve been trying to stay creative during the coronavirus lockdown. Unfortunately, several pieces of commissioned work were cancelled or postponed indefinitely because of COVID-19’s impact on travel. That is an obvious knock, as I love to write features for magazines and newspapers, but it opened opportunities to use time in other ways.
A Saal Digital photobook
During February, Saal Digital, a company based in Germany, reached out for reviewers of their Professional Line photobooks on Instagram. The Go Eat Do Instagram feed is an eclectic mix of food and travel images, many of which are taken on my smartphone rather than consistently top-quality images created using my DSLR.
Saal selected me to create a photo book, recommending that I download their software to create a photobook or install a plugin for use in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe InDesign. Despite being a regular Photoshop user, I decided to install the Saal app, a task which proved straightforward.
Creating a photobook on Canada
Know how to make a photo book? I had no idea when I started on this project. I simply followed the guidance provided in the Saal Digital app.
Perhaps surprisingly, I found that the trickiest aspect of creating a photobook was selecting the images to include and the format of the pages.
I didn’t want to make my photobook a generic album. After contemplating producing a photobook that would reflect my recent portfolio, I hit upon the idea of creating a book with a narrower focus — a Canada-themed photobook.
Canada is a country that I enjoy visiting for its landscapes, wildlife and culinary produce. I’ve created numerous stories featuring those themes, including a post here on Go Eat Do about inspirational travel photography in Canada.
Choosing a shortlist of images for inclusion in the book proved a significantly more time-consuming task than I initially anticipated. My desire to include strong images from across the country meant viewing dozens of folders to draw up a shortlist of potential inclusions.
Formatting the photobook
Rather than include multiple images on each page, I wanted to keep the layout simple and showcase my photos. I selected a layout that enabled me to show one photograph per page.
As the emphasis was the photography, I decided to keep captions short and simple. The text editor took a bit of getting used to. I made use of it to ensure the sizing and positioning of captions were consistent.
Dragging and dropping photos onto the layout proved easy enough but a couple of times I ran into minor issues re-sizing photos; teething problems due to my unfamiliarity with the system. I was careful to take into account the bleed, the area at the edge of the page that’s lost when pages are cut to size. Saal’s proprietary software provided warnings about the bleed.
After adding content and reviewing the page layout of my photo book, I was prompted to choose the paper type for the pages (glossy) and to select a cover. I chose a Perspex cover on a black, leather-bound book.
Shortly after placing my order for the book I received an email stating that the estimated delivery date would be two weeks later. In fact, the DHL photobook delivery was just a week after placing the order..
The paper is thick, feels good to the touch and the quality of the image reproduction is high. The result is a photo book that I’m genuinely proud to leaf through.
Thanks for reading this post about my experience of creating a Professional Line photobook using software from Saal Digital.
Stuart Forster, the author of this post, is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. Stuart is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
If you appreciate travel photography you might enjoy this post about travel photography in Nova Scotia.
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