Although I usually feel that photography is supplemental to the words I write down here on the blog (the photos are basically here to make the text less intimidating), photography is becoming a more important part of Halfway Anywhere and how I share my adventures.
A big part of photography? The software used to process all those photos. I recently sat down to talk to the team behind Zoner Photo Studio – a Windows-based photo editing software based out of the Czech Republic – to talk to them about their software and what makes them different than the rest of the options out there.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zoner Photo Studio.
Where is your company based and how long have you been around? How did you guys get your start?
We’re based in Brno, Czech Republic, but we have other offices spread around the globe. The company has been around since 1994 and is still owned by the same guy who started it. Many of our employees have been here from the company's start.
What would you say sets Zoner Photo Studio apart from other software options on the market?
I would say the real difference is the versatility of it. Zoner Photo Studio X can handle your entire workflow but it’s fine to only use it for a particular set of functions. E.g. you can use our strong batch edits engine for the final steps of your standard processing. Or you can replace the whole editing scenario by Zoner Photo Studio X. The tools are there, at your fingertips.
Anything you need, starting from digital asset management (a cool word for “keeping your photos in order”), a RAW developer, a Photoshop-like editor with layers and masks and even a video editor for your digital or mobile camera clips.
Ease of use is our top priority. It’s nice to have dozens of features (we have them too) but it’s not fun to run your mouse across the entire screen here and there to find them. So, if you, for example, edit photos in Zoner Photo Studio, all tools, layers, masks, and brushes are neatly organized in one place.
What are some of your favorite features of Zoner Photo Studio?
There’s a little search box on the top left of the app that helps you find everything. And by that, I don’t mean your standard, boring keyword search. Imagine you want to find pictures taken five miles around a particular photo in your archive. In ZPS, this takes a matter of seconds.
Of course, not everyone needs this, but the search box does all this amazing work, like looking for star-rated photos in the entire image catalog, too.
Speaking of catalog, it’s a totally voluntary thing in ZPS. That means the software doesn’t keep your pictures in a sort of program-prison. It works with the files on your hard drive and does not move them elsewhere.
What I really like on Zoner Photo Studio is the consistency – while I am sorting photos, developing raws, working with layers or cutting videoclips, I stay in the same environment, with the same photos and their metadata.
What type of photography (personal, hobbyist, professional), would you say your software is best suited for?
We don’t aim for a particular skill level, instead, I like to think of ZPS as a tool for fast and medium length edits.
The short edit could be automatically improving an image by somebody who wants to have photos of their kids playing in the pool or a batch edit of 500 photos taken in the first half of a football match, processed and then uploaded to their editorial staff during halftime.
The medium-length edit could mean you take some time to process your photos in the Develop module, play with the colors, make some local brush adjustments (Did I mention we have the world’s most versatile settings for styluses?). Or, the edit consists of a composite made from a nice landscape setting with dynamic clouds.
If you spend three hours with one photo, Zoner Photo Studio is not the right tool for you. You would miss too many good features in the meantime. 🙂
Let’s say I’m using Lightroom now, how easy is the migration process over to Zoner Photo Studio? Does Zoner offer support for DNG images?
It’s not so easy as Lightroom makes any sort of migration difficult since they have a closed catalog whereas ZPS X uses folders in which your files are located. So, any progress you’ve made regarding edits is trapped inside the Lr program. Yes, we support DNG and also support over 400+ cameras internally.
In terms of adapting to the style of the application though, I think the GUI is very similar to Lightroom and so users should feel right at home with ZPS X.
Is there a lifetime-license purchase price or is a subscription the only option available?
We’ve gone the subscription-based route and made it as simple as possible.
An easy decision of buying one, single version of the application instead of several variations like what other brands offer, plus you don’t lose your images should you choose to stop using the app. You also get a lot of bang for your buck as our pricing is very competitive.
This model allows us to continually innovate the application and quickly take ideas or requests from our customers and turn them into reality shortly afterward in ZPS X. A collaboration.
Do you have a mobile app available? If not, what’s the best way to interface my mobile device with Zoner Photo Studio?
Not at this moment. You can process your RAW smartphone files though. Just share them via MS OneDrive or Google Drive and they’ll pop up right in the navigator on ZPS X.
Any plans to migrate to OSX?
Not at this time. We know that there’s a strong following behind Macintosh and Apple and while their products are great, our community of users is not using their products as much yet. However, we are keeping an eye on the situation closely to see how the market share develops.
Can I try the software for free without disrupting my current workflow (in another software)?
For sure, just get the 30 day trial from our page (simply click the Download button there) and test it out for a month.
A good recommendation is to test it with new photos (a fresh batch of photos from your last trip). Because ZPS X works with files directly on your hard drive, you can always transfer any files you’ve worked on in Zoner Photo Studio elsewhere if you like. And the program certainly doesn’t prevent you from using other software if you want, although you may find that you no longer need any other software 🙂
Any leads on awesome local hiking destinations if I make it over there?
My personal favorite now is Šumava, also known as the Bohemian forest.
You could start in the village Nýrsko and make your way through the various trails, with designated overnight sites to Nová Pec (about 119Km), where the Vltava river meets Lipno lake and it’s a nice place to swim the trail off.
Since the Czech Republic is a small country with small mountains, you could do a long cross-country trek. Cross Sumava for a few days, then move across the Czech highlands called Vysocina and eventually move into the sunny Moravian wine country. Don’t worry about running out of supplies as there’ll be plenty of great beer – an important supply here.
Photos by Tomas Galik, Mac, and Zoner Photo Studio // Zoner Photo Studio Q&A with Thomas Urban