Of course zines are an extension of your personality in paper form. There is no set standard that applies, nor should there be. I am likely more dogmatic that your average zinester and I like to let the “form follows function” philosophy guide my design decisions. To that end, I always let the content dictate the layout. I feel it’s a good practice. Unless, you are anti “all-that,” in which case, you should do your own thing.
For my photo zines, The 5¢ News and Instant, I used Photoshop to do the entire layout. Since Adobe and I got our divorce, I have been using Gimp with very few ill effects (though the differences between those two programs are a whole other post.)
For my personal zine, A Long Way Down, I pull content from my notebooks, sketchbooks and photo archives. I like the text to be handwritten so run all the raw material though a word processor to spare my readers from all my spelling a grammar mistakes, and then hand write the finished articles on grid paper to keep the column of text a consistent width. I then scan all that back into my computer and use Gimp for layout.
I have only done one zine with a direct paper master. By that I mean creating a “master” on a sheet of paper than can be laid on a Xerox machine to make the edition without a digital file. I liked the result and I will definitely use that method again. To be honest, however, I did use my computer to resize the photos so that they would fit on the paper master. It would have been really troublesome to do it any other way.