'In Drowned Concrete': photobook with Saal Digital / by Tom Oliver Payne

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If you enjoy photography, I'm sure you can appreciate a beautiful photo book.

A couple of weeks ago Saal Digital asked me to review one of their book products... Eager to start seeing some of my images in print, it was a great chance for me to self-publish quickly and easily without the hassle of understanding the ins and outs of graphic design and printing. 

Looking through my street photography archive I found a strong collection of images of silhouetted pedestrians meandering through spaces in large cities. The black and white images gave me a sense of people drowning in the urban environments around them. With that thought, a concept was born, and within a couple of hours my first book 'In Drowned Concrete' was being put together by the good people at Saal. Here's a quick run-down of my experience working with them.


Although Saal gives you the option to download their own software and create everything on their platform, I opted instead to use the 'Professional Zone'. This is perfect for anyone who has basic to moderate graphic programme skills and would prefer to stick to a format that they understand. For me, I simply put my pages together in Indesign and uploaded them straight to the Saal Digital site. I had some trouble determining if my images were centred. It would be helpful if the the object placement snapped to guides to ensure the layout is neat.


I went for an A4 hard cover book with gloss pages. There was a wide range of other sizes and styles I could have chosen, but this was the most basic. It was a little disappointing that there was an additional fee to have the barcode removed from the back page, but other than that the price is super affordable.


After placing the order I received an email straight away to say my book was en-route, and just a few days later it was delivered to my door. 

Final product

I was super impressed with the final product. The fact that the book is bound flat meant that my panoramic images stretching across a full spread aren't interrupted by an ugly line through the centre.

While I do love the gloss, I think my style of images may have been better suited to matte paper... A thought for next time!

A few pages from the book below.

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