Zoner Photo Studio Step By Step. Part 3: How To Work With the Develop Module

Touching up your photos at least a little is always useful, no matter whether you’re working with RAW or JPG. In this installment of our series, we’ll take a look at some basic editing options in the Develop module. We’ll also show you some tips and tricks to make your editing go faster.

Earlier in this series, we explained how to transfer photos to your computer and how to organize them. Now we’ll get to the editing part.

Have a RAW File? Develop It!

The Develop module in Zoner Photo Studio X is primarily used for non-destructive editing. That means that instead of editing a photo file directly, you set the parameters for your edits and then export the photo into a new file with these changes. The original file isn’t overwritten. This isn’t just useful for RAW files either. You’ll appreciate it even when editing files in different formats, like JPG.  

First switch to the Develop module.

Adjust Your Settings Gradually

The default settings for the editing sliders definitely weren’t picked randomly. They’re safe starting guesses. It’s important that you start by editing a photo’s Exposure and the White Balance. That’s because if you edit the colors first and you only adjust White Balance after that, the colors will be off, and you’ll have to start over. The same goes for Exposure in relation to all the other tools.

Start off with White Balance and Exposure.

You Can Save Time By Copying and Pasting Edits

If you have lots of photos from one shoot that all need the same adjustments, you can make your job easier by copying edits and pasting them. After all, it would be a waste to spend major extra time re-applying the same edits again and again.

So our recommendation here is that you pick one photo that’s typical for the shoot, edit it, and then copy the edits (Ctrl + C). A new window will pop up, where you can choose if you want to copy all the adjusted items (edits) or select just a few instead. Then select the other photos you want from the Filmstrip and transfer the changes onto them (Ctrl + V).

You can save time by copying edits and pasting them.

Use Presets

Another feature that will make your job easier is Presets. This goes beyond just copying your settings adjustments. Here you’re saving them so you can re-use them later. Just click on Presets and on the + icon: Create Preset (Ctrl+T).

Creating a preset.

Name your preset and choose the folder to save it in. Then choose what changes it will include. The next time you need that set of edits, just click the name of the preset you need, and all changes will be applied automatically.

name your new preset
Name and save your preset.

Don’t Forget To Export!

You’re working non-destructively the whole time, and that means that all your changes are only being saved to special “sidecar” files riding alongside your photo. The original photo file isn’t being overwritten.  These changes are only visible in ZPS. To be able to publish your photos, print them, or send them to a customer, you first need to save them. So select them and click Export. Choose the location and quality for the new photo files, save, and you’re done.

Export your photos after editing them.

But Destructive Editing Is an Option Too

Sometimes non-destructive editing isn’t convenient. For example, if you need to quickly retouch just a small detail and you don’t want the trouble of exporting. You simply want to overwrite the photo, without the extra clicks and the bother of choosing a photo size when exporting. In these cases, use the Save Destructively option. The Export icon will transform into a Save icon. Then after editing, you can just simply save your photo. However, keep in mind that you will rewrite the original, and the changes will be permanent.

Destructive editing
Destructive editing can come in handy sometimes.

What’s Coming up Next?

We’ve now gone through all the basics of editing in the Develop module.  So in the next part of this series, we’ll go more into depth and take a look at specific edits to a photo or its parts (retouching, the Gradient Filter, and more).

Download Zoner Photo Studio X 30, try it free for 7 days, and check out editing in the Develop module for yourself!

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AuthorMatej Liska

I most love taking pictures of people. Weddings, portraits, graduation photos, balls... I am always in search of backlight, but I enjoy various types of lighting and mostly like to use shorter lenses. I love my Nikon, my guitar, and a kebab. You’ll find my photography on my website or on Facebook.

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