The Side Panel

The settings here are organized into groups. To expand or collapse a group, click the arrow in its header. Right-click a group’s header to see a list of all groups. Uncheck any group in the list to hide that group. Some groups contain sections that start out collapsed. Click the arrow next to such a section’s name to expand it. When any setting in a group is changed, a checkmark and an arrow are shown in that group’s header. Click the checkmark to deactivate that whole group. Click the arrow to restore the settings in the group to their defaults.

Double-click the name of any setting to restore its default value. A blue dot indicator is shown next to any tools that you have already used on a given picture in the Develop module.


Click the Auto button [A] on the toolbar to automatically enhance exposure and colors. It makes these enhancements by changing settings; you can then also change these settings yourself at your leisure.

Color Style

Switches between color and black-and-white editing and display of a photo.

LUT is short for “Lookup Table.” This is a feature enabling the program to use a different mapping of colors, based on a table from which new corresponding colors are looked-up. This adjusts the photo’s colors. This feature offers seven preset modes (Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Vivid Colors, Documentary, Cinematic, and Nostalgia). However, LUT tables are available for free on the internet and can be downloaded from there and then added to the program using the Ikona. button here. The supported LUT formats are CUBE, 3DL, and HaldCLUT PNG.

White Balance

  • White Balance – this control lets you choose from among several predefined values. The default setting here corresponds to the one stored in the picture by the camera.
  • Eyedropper – use this to set white balance using an eyedropper. Click with the eyedropper on a pixel in the preview that should be neutrally-colored. The program then balances the picture so that pixel has a neutral color.
  • Temperature – this lets you control white balance by shifting the picture on the blue-yellow axis.
  • Tint – this lets you control white balance by shifting the picture on the green-purple axis.

Note – during eyedropper-based white balancing, the hue and white balance values are only updated after the preview is generated.

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  • Exposure – use this to correct exposure by up to +/- 4eV. When this is moved into the negative values, blowout protection is activated.
  • Contrast – controls the overall contrast of the final picture.
  • White point – sets what brightness level will become pure white in the final picture.
  • Black point – sets what brightness level will become pure black in the final picture.

Dynamic Range

  • Lights – controls the amount and intensity of light tones in the picture. When you move Lights into the negative values, blowout protection is automatically activated.
  • Shadows – controls the amount and intensity of dark tones in the picture.
  • White – affects the brightest parts of the photo, for more detailed control over contrast.
  • Black – affects the darkest parts of the photo, for more detailed control over contrast.


  • Texture – highlights local contours without any major effect on the photo’s overall contrast.
  • Clarity – changes local contrast at contours in the picture.
  • Dehaze – dehazes a hazy picture or adds haze to a picture.

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Controls for color images:

  • Hue – this lets you shift colors by adjusting hue.
  • Saturation – this lets you set color saturation.
  • Vibrance – this lets you set color saturation in a way that respects the existing saturation of colors in the picture – low-saturation colors are affected more.
  • Polarization – imitate the effect of a polarizing filter

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Controls for pictures in black-and-white mode (set in the Color Style section):

These controls offer two methods: Manual Channel Mixing and Automatic. In the first method, use the Red, Green, and Blue sliders to set how strongly each channel influences the final picture. The default settings corresponds to the values that are normally used for grayscale conversion. In Automatic, use the Toning slider to control the channel sliders indirectly. Watch the main preview window to judge the best value to use.

Tone Curve

Use the tone curve for fine control over the brightness levels in a picture. You can edit the curve by dragging the handles on it to new positions; these set the path that the brightness curve should take. To add new handles anywhere on the curve, click in the place where you want to add the handle. Right-click over a handle to delete it.

The horizontal axis shows input brightness values. The vertical axis shows output values. The curve must always be continuous, so you cannot move points completely freely. Shifting the curve’s endpoints changes the input values for the white point and black point, just as if you were using the Levels function. By shaping the curve into an S-shape, you can make complex adjustments to the picture’s contrast.

Use Channel to set what the Tone Curve adjusts. The available options are RGB, Luma, or the individual color channels (red, green, and blue).

RGB – the curve adjusts the photo’s overall brightness and contrast.

Luma – the curve primarily adjusts lightness, without significantly influencing colors.

Use the Settings here to set how the curve is calculated. Three options are available.

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Color Shift

Use the controls in the Color Shift group to quickly take all areas that are at or near a certain hue, saturation, and lightness and shift these values—in short: to shift their color. In Color Shift’s basic mode, you can change hue, saturation or lightness by clicking into the picture with an eyedropper and then clicking and dragging the color slider that is displayed. You can also use the sliders in the right panel—eight color sliders each for hue, saturation, and lightness. The Ikona. button in the Hue section restricts sliders to a maximum of 30—the highest recommended shift. It is turned on by default. When it is turned off, colors can be shifted within the full +- 180°.

  • Advanced – The color wheel in this tab represents the whole color spectrum. The highlighted color slice sets and shows what range of colors is shifted. The outer arc sets and shows where they are shifted towards. To change the minimum affected saturation, drag the wheel’s center node out or in. To change the maximum affected saturation, drag the node along the edge of the inner wheel in or out. To recenter the color slice, drag it around the circle. To expand it or contract it, drag the inside nodes at the edges of the slice. These two nodes set what range of hues is fully affected. To instead expand/contract the partially affected hues, drag the outside nodes at the edges of the slice.
    To set where colors are shifted towards, drag the node on the outer arc.

The Hue slider has the same effect. The hue can be shifted anywhere along the whole color wheel.
Use the Uniformity slider to unify the post-shift hue, saturation, and lightness values towards one color by “shaving away” the final values farthest from the average.

You can use the eyedropper Ikona. to quickly pick the affected tones. It has four modes—hue, saturation, lightness, and overall color. In the first three modes, you can click into the picture and drag to quickly shift hues. As you move the eyedropper around in the picture, a dot in the color wheel shows what color is beneath it.

Click the button to the left of the eyedropper Ikona. to turn on display masking, to easily see which parts of the picture are being affected. Several masking types are available.

Right-click the color wheel to show a menu with options for switching between a horizontal and a vertical layout and for stretching the color wheel to fit the width of the right panel.

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Split Toning

Use the controls in this group to tint a picture. Its All tab contains three color wheels. The Master wheel affects the whole picture in both the lights and the shadows (light and dark areas), while Shadows works with the picture’s shadows only, and Lights only affects its lights.

  • Use the Balance slider to change the ratio between the saturation in the lights and the shadows.

To change the picture’s tinting, click one of the color wheels and drag its center node out to its circumference. The closer to the edge of the wheel, the stronger the toning effect, and vice versa. Use the Master, Shadows, and Lights tabs to show only the wheel you want to work with, without the distraction of the other wheels.

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Shift Primary Colors

The controls in this group are mainly useful for correcting any quirks in the colors produced by a given camera. Use them to shift the hue and saturation for the Red, Green, and Blue color channels, so as to fine-tune a picture’s overall colors.

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Noise Reduction

  • Luminance – this sets the amount of noise reduction in the picture’s luminance element.
  • Colors – this sets the amount of noise reduction in the picture’s colors.
  • Preserve Detail – lets you define more precisely how much the details of the photo’s original texture are preserved.

Advanced settings

Besides the slider-based global Luminance and Contrast settings, you can selectively adjust the amount of noise reduction for individual colors or image luminance levels. Use the controls in the Local Correction by Color and Local Correction by Luminance sections for this. These controls are each made up of a strip with a color or luminance gradient beneath a curve with several nodes. Drag the nodes of a curve to reshape it, thereby raising or lowering the noise reduction levels for individual colors/luminance levels. Click anywhere on a curve between its nodes to add a new node. To delete a node, right-click on it. Use the eyedropper to select a color or luminance level directly from the picture.

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In the basic setup, there are two sharpening methods to choose from:

Unsharp mask – This method has its roots in film-camera technology. It sharpens only highly visible edges and borders.
Smart Sharpen – Use this method to sharpen in only the spots where it’s really needed. The Preserve Contours option makes sure that the sharpening doesn’t touch contours that are already sharp enough and applies only to the picture’s less sharp areas.


  • Sharpening strength – Sets the amount of sharpening.
  • Sharpening radius – This setting defines the number of pixels around edges to which increased contrast will be applied.
  • Preserve Contours – Only available for the “Smart Sharpen” option; use it to restrict sharpening to just the places where it is really needed. The Preserve Contours option makes sure that the sharpening doesn’t touch contours that are already sharp enough and applies only to the picture’s less sharp areas.
  • Sharpening Threshold – sets how different two brightness values can be before they are treated as an edge.



Two methods are available for adding vignetting in ZPS X

Color – this produces a vignetting effect by covering the photo’s edges with white or black.
Exposure – this produces a vignetting effect by changing exposure.

  • Strength – sets the effect’s strength.
  • Radius – defines the area to which the vignetting effect is applied. Lower values for this setting move the vignetting effect deeper in towards the center of the photo. Meanwhile higher values move the vignetting effect more towards the corners of the photo.
  • Roundness – defines the shape of the applied effect, ranging from a rounded rectangle to an ellipse to a circle.
  • Feather – defines the smoothness of the vignetting’s transition from the edges to the center of the photo.
  • Highlight Protection – weakens the darkening of the photograph in the lightest parts around the photo’s edges.

Unlike antivignetting, vignetting in ZPS is only applied after a picture is cropped.

Add Grain

This works like the Editor’s Add Grain filter.

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