Traditionally, when photographers need to print photos, professional photo albums, and wall art for their clients, they use whatever design software they prefer and then send their files off to a separate print lab to be printed. Sometimes, they send the files to multiple professional photo labs, depending on which print products they need. The system has existed this way amongst professional photo labs for some time, but it has arguably grown ripe for disruption. Similar to the way Netflix disrupted Blockbuster by streamlining the means through which customers could access television and movies, one lab has set out to change the way professional photographers design, order, and/or sell prints. Zno, whose products and services we’ve previously reviewed, continues to simplify each step of the printing process, from design to print to delivery, and they do it all in-house. As noted in appraisals on Zno from many industry photographers, this is a welcome change.

In this Zno review, we’re not going to review all of the products that Zno offers, but rather look at how their basic approach to the professional printing industry differs from everyone else. More specifically, we’ll take a general look at the print lab scene as it largely exists today, consider how Zno fits into this scene, and share our thoughts on how Zno’s products and services might reshape the future of professional print labs.

Photo Printing Professionals vs Photography Studio Software

01 zno review album design software photo book

As it stands, a divide exists between professional print labs who print our photos and the software companies who code the software we use to design all of our print products, including prints, albums, wall art, and more. It’s true that you can find exceptional print labs and well-designed software that each exist in their own realms. Furthermore, some of these companies have partnered up to make it easier to transfer work from one place to another, but we still have to deal with multiple resources to get to our finished product. While there’s something to be said for specializing in one area to master it rather than play a jack of all trades, Zno believes it’s possible to master both and allow photographers to get everything they need under one roof, so to speak. Zno’s goal, then, is to eliminate the need to use multiple resources to complete the task of printing our clients’ photos, which should save both time and money.

So, Where Does Zno Fit into the Picture for Professional Photo Labs?

Zno, sometimes also called “Zno Lab,” presents itself as an alternative to the current state of the professional print lab industry. As we’ve noted above, they offer both photography studio software and an extensive range of their own in-house printed photo lab products, including professional photo albums, among others. Because Zno offers photography software and printing, they stand out from classic American photo labs like Bayphoto, Millers Lab, and WHCC, or European labs like Graphistudio and Nphoto.

To be clear, each of those labs produces quality work, and their reputations precede them. But this brings us to our next point.

You Can Use Zno to Print with Bayphoto, Millers Lab, WHCC, Graphistudio, Nphoto and More

03 zno review design software 3rd party print labs

Despite touting their own professional print lab with an extensive line of quality products, Zno has still made it easy to print with several top print labs. According to their team, Zno sees no point in taking an all-or-none approach, even though they believe in the benefits of their all-in-one platform. That said, those who use Zno’s album design software, online proofer, cloud-based client photo galleries, or other software and services, are not restricted to using Zno for prints.

In fact, Zno has an extensive list of preformatted album specs that are ready to be exported for a long list of labs (literally), including the following, many of which we’ve reviewed on this site:

– Album Epoca

– Album Foto HD

– Albums Remembered

– Artifact Uprising

– Bay Photo Lab

– Bookva

– Couture Book

– Dekora Album

– DH Imaging

– DOTlab

– Dutch Ink Albums

– Enso Albums

– Eprinttoo

– Finao

– Flipchap

– Folio Albums

– Freedom Edits

– Graphistudio

– GTA Imaging

– H&H Color Lab

– Hand Imaging

– ilFotoalbum

– Indie Film Lab

– ISISbook

– Jingoo

– Jorgensen

– Kala Albums

– Koy Lab

– Laguna

– LeuXo Company

– Loxley Color

– Millers Lab

– Memento Pro

– Musea

– Nations Photo Lab

– Natural Color Photo Lab

– Nphoto

– One Vision Imaging

– Oodio

– PCL West

– Photo Productions

– Printique

– ProDPI

– Profotonet

– QT Albums

– Queensberry

– Recordia

– Red Tree Albums

– Sage Wedding Albums

– Silver Grain

– Sim Imaging

– Snap Albums

– The Album Master

– The Wee Album Company

– UAF Imaging

– Vakcolor

– Venice

– WHCC (White House Custom Color)

– Wild Magnolia Designs

– Wooden Banana

– Yellow Rebel

– Zookbinders

As you can see from this extensive list, professional photo labs exist in a highly competitive environment. There are a LOT of options out there. Interestingly, this sort of crowding typically leads to further isolation between companies as they set up limitations on who they’ll work with. As a result, photographers and their clients alike are left to choose a print lab that accepts their design file format rather than one whose print products they appreciate the most. Or, they’ll sacrifice on the software side and use a less desirable software option in order to work with their preferred lab. This isn’t a problem for everybody, but it is an issue for many.

I believe this approach speaks to Zno’s confidence in each component of their platform to offer a means to print with other professional photo labs and even provide a means to do so more easily. In reality, everyone wins with this sort of openness. I can’t really think of too many companies who’ve taken this particular client-centric approach.

Zno vs Fundy Album Designer and Pixellu Smart Albums

zno review layflat photo book design software for professional photo labs

To further build on the point above, we can see that Zno Designer can genuinely be used as independent album design software for third party labs. This falls in line with other top software designers like Fundy Album Designer and Pixellu Smart Albums. We’ve used all of the above, and each has earned its place as a top competitor. They all boast incredible features and intuitive interfaces. The key difference, however, comes down to the fact that Zno Designer is cloud-based, and their design software ties directly into their app ecosystem, which includes their online photo gallery.

I recommend checking out our more in-depth look at Zno’s all-in-one cloud platform for album design software and more for more details on exactly how their ecosystem works and how it can impact your workflow. It’s absolutely worth looking into.

Let’s Not Forget Pixieset, Shootproof, Zenfolio, and Smugmug

zno review estore gallery from professional photo labs

On the topic of galleries, which we briefly mentioned above, Zno’s client gallery connects to an online store for professional photographers to sell their products with a storefront. Again, they’ve taken a multi-pronged approach to serving the needs of photographers and they’ve covered a lot of ground. Having access to an online gallery that connects to an online store (with 0% commission) takes so much of the hassle out of managing print sales, especially in regards to past clients. Using Zno Estore is easy, and the store maintains itself once you’ve set it up.

Zno Review | Conclusion

I hope you found this Zno review helpful. Plenty of services exist in the area of professional photographic printing, from the designers we use, to the proofers, galleries, printers, and online stores. While many companies put up strong offerings in each of these specialized areas, few offer multiple resources in one place. Among those who have spread their wings to include multiple resources, fewer still cover all of them. At my estimation, Zno’s approach is unique and one to set them apart from the crowd. What’s more important is that each of Zno’s software and print products is of superior quality. We’ve used them ourselves and have exceeded many of our clients’ expectations when delivering their prints, albums, and wall art. The affordable pricing they’ve set only makes it all the more enticing. If you’re looking for ways to streamline your workflow for printing and print sales, or even just for one aspect like designing albums, you should look into what Zno has to offer. As more people learn about their services and products, the more likely it is that what they’re doing will change what professional photo labs currently are into what they potentially can become.