I found an advert on Facebook – a £40 voucher for a photobook in a 14 day period, in exchange for an honest review. This yielded a 30 page A4 sized hardback book in gloss finish. The pages are very thick and heavy – they lay flat at the open page and do not bend. I ordered it late on Saturday and it arrived from Germany to the UK by Thursday. Paypal and Visa were accepted as payments, and the upload of the completed book took a minute over Wifi. Numerous emails informed me of each step in production.
The software is easy to download and install. As a semi-professional photographer, I’ve used many photobook online services. This has the familiar set up of tools – accessing files from multiple sources on the left, a central window for the book, quick page access at the bottom, and various layout and tool options to the right. There are numerous options for text. Each used image has a handy “tick” next to it to indicate it has been used. I had much fun trying different patterns and gradients for the backgrounds. It is possible to have a “spare” photo which you can fill with a background or gradient in order to make a unique border around each image which you drop on top – the software lets you decide which images are on top or sent behind.
My file sizes are very large, and the software coped quickly with them, telling me the image quality was “very good”. Out of habit, I cropped and lightened the images in a different software. It is possible to crop the images (and keep the aspect ratio) within the book. Handy guidelines appear when you align photos with other images already across the double page spread. A word of advice: It doesn’t seem possible to change the “centre” of an image – this is the point that all the sides references – decide your centre in different software. Also, lighten the images in different software – I couldn’t find an option for this. This is a photobook creator rather than a photo editor software.
It is possible to create a base for similar projects and then change the project by saving it under a different name. This also allows you to go back to an earlier saved version if your experiments don’t turn out the way you hope! Previewing the whole book is possible, to see the balance of images throughout rather than focused on the two-page spread.
My only concern is the thickness of the paper for when I’ve chosen one image spread across the centrefold. I worry that over time a crease will appear here after repeated opening of the book.
I will be using SAAL again.
@saal.digital.uk” (on Facebook)