I always need to carry a photographic portfolio with me wherever I go as you never know when a potential business opportunity will raise its head, or just a nice chat about aviation and photography. I like to show printed images of my work to any prospective clients that I meet, from interested individuals to galleries. You never know when someone will ask to see that is produced and where it could lead (a front cover on a book by an internationally renowned author was the latest opportunistic meeting. Many photographers carry digital images on their smartphone, but they are not always a true representation of a larger actual printed image. If I was buying a large printed image, I don't want to be squinting my eyes as a 2 inch digital image! I had used Saal Digital in the past for wall prints and loved the quality of what they produced so I went back onto their website (www.saal-digital.co.uk) to see what else was on offer from them. I liked what I saw…
Designing the photobook was relatively straighforward as it is all done online after downloading their software programme (which was still on my computer from previously using their services). You then upload the images from your computer and place them where you would like in the book in the order you want them to be in, giving you complete control of the finished article. There are some pre-designed pages or you can begin without a template and create it as you go along. You can add text, formatting it all as required. All in all, it is a very simple and straightforward process. The only self-induced problem I had was that I uploaded the same image twice so ended up with an image repeated a few pages later – a user error at my end. I used a scalpel to cut out the extra image page and it looks fine now! If I could have been able to view the entire book on a single page, I may have spotted the error. Payment is simple through Paypal.
It was ordered on a Friday night and was delivered from Germany to Lincolnshire, England by the following Thursday lunchtime - very impressive cross-Europe delivery. A worry I always have with printed items from others than myself, from experiences I've had in the past with other companies that shall remain nameless, is that the quality control is not always there. Expensive photobooks sometimes arrive through the postbox that look like they have been printed on home printers (with book costs of more that the cost of the perceived quality of the printer!). This was not the case with Saal Digital. The book is immaculate; each page is a perfect reproduction of the original image I took. The printing is crisp and the colours are accurate.
I shoot a lot of high-key and low-key images (with either a complete white or black background, sometimes digitally produced) to highlight the actual aircraft being photographed - have a look at my Dark and Light Series galleries for examples. The 'black' and the 'white' must be perfect for the images to work best and this book certainly did not disappoint me.
Since getting the book a few weeks ago, it has already been shown to clients and has secured orders, all due to the reproduction quality the Saal book – a testament to it impressing those who have seen it.
To sum up, I highly recommend their product as a professional looking presentation piece that can be displayed and shown off with pride. The design stage has been built to allow almost anyone to produce a beautiful book to their exacting own specifications.