Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saal Digital Photo book

This is a review of Saal Digital from Germany, one of many on-line Photo book production companies active on the Dutch market. I am not affiliated with the company, but I was selected to try their product out for free in exchange for an honest review. The web site for the Netherlands (link below) is clear, but only available in Dutch (suggestion 1: include English version - not everyone living in the Netherlands speaks Dutch). Downloading and running the software was easy. I selected a 28x19 cm landscape format book with 32 pages for just under 40 euro, including tax, excluding shipping - this price being somewhat higher than the products offered on-line in the Netherlands by big chains. I have opted for one landscape-shaped photograph per page, which turned out to be very easy to do. Uploading the images from the computer went quickly, and the 'what you see is what you get' lay-out of the program is very easy to work with, with clear lines and warnings if you make the image a bit too big. I also like the option that you can easily move completed pages around to get a better sequence. Choosing a background other than white (I went for black) is a useful option that was quick to locate and imply. My main issue with the program itself is that it is not possible to add text. If it is possible, I could not find it, so in that case it is not user friendly (suggestion 2: include or clarify add text option). I like that you can save your work between sessions, with a clearly marked button to continue with existing work when you re-start the software. When I was satisfied with the overall design, I got ready to order. Within the software program itself there is a shopping cart symbol that I clicked. To actually get to the shopping cart and check out turned out to be difficult though. I spent at least 10 minutes trying things, before I got there - and frankly, I can't even remember what I clicked that did the trick (suggestion 3: improve clarity of check-out procedure). Ordering was easy after that, and production/delivery time quite speedy (ordered 8 June, sent 9 June, arrived 13 June). The quality of the final product met my high expectations. Good cover, very high quality paper for the pages - clearly better than what I've seen from cheaper competitors. The only surprise was that two of my selected pictures ended up on the inside of the front and back hard covers (suggestion 4: clarify this choice in the software). All in all a very satisfactory experience. Recommended (I would definitely use them again).

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.