If you’re a professional event photographer, you know that clients adore photo albums. Wedding albums, newborn albums, Bar and Bat Mitzvah albums – they look gorgeous, tell the event’s story, and make fantastic gifts. In other words, offering custom-made albums is a superb way to satisfy clients, and they can help you boost profits, too.
But designing high-quality albums can be tedious, difficult, and time-consuming. That’s where an album-design app like Zno Designer comes in.
Zno Designer provides a straightforward, intuitive method for designing, creating, and even printing breathtaking photo albums. It’s cloud-based, so there’s no software to download, and it integrates smoothly with Zno’s other apps like Zno Proofer, Zno Gallery, Zno Estore, and Zno Retoucher. This means you can create client galleries, sell products, design albums, get client feedback, and retouch images without ever leaving the Zno workspace. Plus, it’s remarkably affordable; Zno even offers a fantastic free plan, and paid users enjoy huge discounts from Zno’s professional print lab.
I’ve spent dozens of hours testing Zno Designer, and I genuinely believe that the company offers one of the most compelling photographer software packages in the business. If you’re looking to offer custom albums but aren’t sure how to begin, or you’re searching for an album designer but aren’t sure if Zno’s software is the right fit, this article is exactly what you need. Below, I explore the ins and outs of Zno Designer, including the software’s main benefits. I also compare its pricing and features to other photo album designers like Fundy Designer and Pixellu SmartAlbums.
Ready to create photo albums that’ll leave your clients speechless? Let’s get started.
What is an album designer?
Album designers are software programs that enable photographers to create beautiful photo albums. The best part? You don’t need any design experience.
After shooting an event, you simply import the images and work with the software to create your album. The program’s premade templates and themes ensure your design looks elegant and professional. Then you can share the album with the client for proofing or export it for printing.
Need a faster workflow? Album designers often include auto-fill and smart layout options. With these automation features, you can whip up a gorgeous album in seconds, then apply hassle-free adjustments.
The Zno Designer app makes the album-design experience a breeze. It’s simple enough that anyone can use it to produce top-notch albums, plus it comes packed with outstanding features like templates, themes, auto-fill, and so much more. Everything is there – just waiting to help you make the most memorable albums for your clients.
You can design for all labs (not just Zno!) and export
Zno doesn’t only make software; the company also runs a professional print lab that produces high-quality albums. But while you can design and order albums directly from Zno, the Designer app isn’t limited to Zno products.
In other words, you can design high-quality albums for any print lab. When starting a new project in the Zno workspace, you can choose from hundreds of album products offered by over three dozen printing companies.
Select your favorite, and the software instantly sets the correct parameters so you don’t have to worry about compatibility between your album design and the product you’re ordering. Don’t see the lab or product you want? No worries! The Custom option lets you set your own album parameters, like spread size, DPI, and page count.
That way, regardless of the end product, Zno Designer will ensure your album looks both polished and professional.
You can design for Zno and print seamlessly
As I mentioned above, Zno also runs a top-tier print lab. And thanks to the integration between Zno’s software and the print lab, you can save money and elevate profits by printing directly with Zno.
The process is incredibly straightforward: Design your album, place the order, and wait for the beautiful album to arrive. There’s no exporting or reuploading necessary.
What is an album proofer?
An album proofer is a tool that allows you to share album designs with clients. Clients can then provide feedback, suggest changes, and ultimately approve the design before you place the order.
While there are quite a few options on the market, the best album proofers streamline the feedback process. They make it easy to send album designs to clients and provide an intuitive way for them to comment on individual pages and photos. A good proofer program also keeps things moving by automatically notifying both the photographer and the clients of the next steps via email.
The Zno album designer includes a built-in proofing app: Zno Proofer. This tool allows you to collaborate with clients to create the best possible product.
When you send an album design to a client, they’ll receive an elegant digital proof with a textured cover; they can then view each spread and leave comments on the pages, and you can make the corresponding adjustments in the Zno Designer workspace.
How is Zno’s album designer different from others?
The Zno Designer app offers an impressive set of benefits that makes it a top option for professional event and portrait photographers. Here are just a few of the reasons why I’m a fan:
Zno Designer is free
Zno Designer comes with a Free Plan that offers unlimited album creation and full access to all design templates and features.
It’s surprisingly powerful, and the main limitation is that you can’t regularly export album designs for third-party order fulfillment. So if you’re creating dozens of albums, you’ll need to order through Zno or upgrade to the Pro Plan, which only costs $5 per month and includes 10 monthly exports to third-party labs (along with impressive discounts).
However, the Free Plan does include three free exports, which can be useful if you only occasionally need to do third-party printing.
Zno Designer is cloud-based
Zno Designer is cloud-based, so you do everything in the browser, not on your desktop. In contrast, desktop-based album designers require downloads and installations, and often require additional fees if you want to access the latest versions.
Thanks to Zno’s cloud platform, the Designer app also boasts unique integration with other Zno software, including Zno Gallery.
For instance, you can instantly design albums using files already uploaded to your client galleries. It’s very efficient, not to mention convenient. On the other hand, desktop-based designers require you to reupload every relevant photo to the album designer software, a process that can be time-consuming and lead to errors.
You receive Zno Lab discounts on paid plans
If you do purchase a Zno Designer paid plan (such as the $5/month Pro Plan), you’re instantly eligible for a host of discounts. Here’s what you can get:
- Lab credit rebates when ordering Zno products (ranging from 10% back to 25% back), so you can potentially save hundreds or thousands on client orders
- 50% off custom samples, including album samples, so you can view physical proofs and purchase your own marketing materials at ultra-low prices
- Free standard shipping on orders over $200
- A dropshipping option so you can ship albums directly to clients that include no trace of Zno branding
Zno Designer is integrated with the Zno Album Design Service
Don’t want to design an album yourself? No problem! Zno also offers a professional Album Design Service. Simply submit the photos you want to include in the design, wait for 2-4 days, then receive a layered file – not a flat JPEG! – that you can easily adjust in the Zno Designer app.
Plus, since the designs are done in Zno Designer, everything is very organized. Once you receive the professionally designed album for review, you can send it to the client for proofing (using Zno Proofer), make further modifications as needed, or simply place your order.
Zno Designer is integrated with Zno Gallery
Zno Gallery is an app that allows professional photographers to create an elegant gallery of photos for clients; that way, clients can view images, select favorites, and even order prints directly for purchase.
And as I mentioned above, Zno Designer is fully integrated with Zno Gallery. Once a client gallery has been created, when you go to design an album in Zno Designer, you can add photos directly from the gallery to the album.
It’s a huge time-saver and makes it easier than ever to go from a standard collection of photos to a final, beautiful album. You don’t need to reupload images to the Zno Designer app; instead, you can design professional albums using all the images already uploaded to the Zno client gallery!
Zno Designer is integrated with Zno Retoucher
Say you’ve designed a beautiful album, but you notice that a handful of images require subtle exposure adjustments. Or you send an album design to your client for proofing, but they request that several photos be retouched to remove skin imperfections. What do you do?
In most album designer software, re-editing is far from simple. You need to find the original file, make the necessary adjustments in your desktop post-processing software, and upload the image again. And what if your client doesn’t like the modifications or changes their mind? If you’re forced to make dozens of tweaks, the hours of painstaking work start to add up.
Fortunately, thanks to the smooth integration between Zno Designer and Zno Retoucher, you never have to worry about editing your photos in a third-party program while designing or modifying an album.
Instead, you can use Zno Retoucher to edit images right in Zno Designer, allowing you to eliminate a time-consuming reupload workflow. And Zno Retoucher isn’t some barebones editing program, either; it’s powered by Perfectly Clear, a popular retouching program that boasts presets, batch editing, and individual editing so you can get results consistent with your style. Plus, it’s used by a variety of big-name portrait businesses, so you know it works great.
You also don’t need to pay a regular fee to access Zno Retoucher; you get 50 free editing credits, then you can purchase additional credits as needed (at around 100 credits per dollar).
Zno’s album designer is part of an all-in-one platform
Zno Designer isn’t only integrated with the Zno Gallery and Zno Retoucher apps. It’s part of Zno’s photographer studio software platform, also known as the Zno Cloud Platform, which guarantees functionality that goes above and beyond anything offered by competitors.
The Cloud Platform includes Zno Gallery and Zno Retoucher, plus it offers Zno Slideshow, a great app for producing pro-level photo slideshows that your clients will love – for weddings, birthdays, graduation celebrations, family photoshoots, and more. And within Zno Gallery, there’s the Zno Estore feature so you can directly offer print products – including albums! – to clients.
One broad benefit of this cloud-based software suite is that you can keep all your work in one streamlined location. You don’t need to maintain accounts with six different companies; you create one account, and you can access everything – client galleries, print orders, slideshows, albums, and even powerful retouching software – from the same dashboard.
But it’s also about functionality. Since the Zno apps can all “talk” to one another, you can jump between apps, pull files from one app, then use those files in another app without ever needing to leave the Zno workspace. It’s insanely convenient, and it’s what allows Zno to seamlessly combine album design and retouching, gallery display and print orders, and album creation and proofing.
Subscribing to an entire suite of apps might sound costly, and normally, it would be – but Zno offers a Fulfillment Apps Bundle, which provides access to the Cloud Platform software at a massively discounted rate. The Fulfillment Apps Bundle also includes Zno Lab credit rebates, product discounts, dropshipping options, and more.
So if you’re looking for a hassle-free solution for creating gorgeous display galleries, slideshows, and albums, the Fulfillment Apps Bundle is an outstanding choice.
How does Zno Designer’s pricing compare to other album designers?
As I’ve detailed above, Zno’s album designer is packed with enough features to impress any veteran event photographer. Yet despite its remarkable capabilities, Zno Designer remains surprisingly inexpensive.
The most basic plan is free. You can use it to design an unlimited number of albums, as long as you order them through Zno’s printing lab. You also get three exports to third-party labs. If you’re a fan of Zno’s own high-quality albums or you’d simply like to test the waters, the Free Plan could be a great starting point.
Zno also provides the following options:
- The Pro Plan, which offers complete access to Zno Designer as well as 10 third-party album exports per month, Zno Lab discounts, and a 14-day trial of Zno Proofer ($5/month, paid annually; $7/month, paid monthly)
- The Premium Plan, which offers 20 third-party album exports per month as well as access to Zno Proofer ($10/month, paid annually; $14/month, paid monthly)
- The Power Plan, which offers unlimited third-party album exports and Zno Proofer access ($20/month, paid annually; $28/month, paid monthly)
Pricing for other album designers tends to be far more expensive, especially if you want built-in proofing.
Fundy Album Designer Pricing
Fundy Designer doesn’t come with a free plan. Here’s a breakdown of the company’s pricing:
- The Pro Suite with Pro Enhancements, which includes album design, slideshow design, wall art design, proofing, and retouching ($24/month, paid monthly; $19.33/month, paid annually)
- The Pro Suite, which includes album design, slideshow design, and wall art design, plus three months of proofing and retouching ($400 as a one-time purchase)
- The Album Suite, which includes album design and slideshow design, plus three months of proofing and retouching ($320 as a one-time purchase)
Pixellu SmartAlbums Pricing
Pixellu SmartAlbums offers a free trial but no free plan. Here are the company’s subscription options:
- The basic SmartAlbums plan, which includes album design but no proofing ($24/month, paid annually)
- The SmartAlbums Plus plan, which includes album design and cloud proofing ($32/month, paid annually)
- The All Apps Bundle, which includes album design and cloud proofing as well as access to Pixellu Galleries and Pixellu SmartSlides ($40/month, paid annually)
StompSoftware AlbumStomp2 Pricing
AlbumStomp2 isn’t available as part of a free plan. Instead, you can purchase:
- AlbumStomp2, which offers album design but no proofing ($99 as a one-time purchase for a single user; $179 as a one-time purchase for multiple users)
- AlbumStomp2 + AlbumPrüfr, which offers album design and a year of proofing ($135 as a one-time purchase for a single user; $205 as a one-time purchase for multiple users)
Zno Album Designer: Is it right for you?
Album designer software is a great way to produce professional, refined albums for your photography clients, but many of the top options are both expensive and limited in functionality.
Zno Designer, however, boasts amazing value. The album functionality is outstanding thanks to the intuitive interface, auto-fill options, and integrated album proofer. When you throw in the Zno Cloud Platform – with its client galleries, Estore integration, and slideshow maker – the offer is irresistible. If you’re looking for a way to simplify your client-facing event photography workflow, Zno is a standout choice.
Go ahead and give Zno Designer a try. Remember, you can get started designing and printing albums for free. The other Zno apps also come with free plans, so you can check out the seamless integration for yourself. I look forward to hearing about your happy clients!
Zno is a paid partner of dPS.