Finally! Finding the right workflow in Capture One! / by nicole struppert

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I have Capture One for a few years now, but I never made the full transition from Lightroom. The reason for it was that Capture One is very complex and has a different workflow. Lightroom is more intuitive, well structured and easier to learn. But with Capture One you’ll get the best outcome of your pictures. The Raw Converter is amazing - I have no idea what Capture One is doing with the files. The pictures look outstanding compared to the LR files - they don’t look flat and you’ll see more details and more sharpness.

I tried the full transition to Capture One a few times, but always ended up with using LR - 'cause it was easier… This year, I set myself a goal. I was travelling to Lisbon and started to use just Capture One. I worked hard to find the right workflow and set up. I changed the shortcuts and finally, I am overwhelmed… There are still bits and pieces what Capture One could improve, but till now I am very happy with the results and my workflow. 

I’ve written a few blog posts about Capture One and I know that some of you are looking for more details. So here is my current workflow and set up in Capture One.

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Catalog size
The last time I had problems with my catalogue. The catalogue size with 50.000 shots was 38GB.  I redirected my files from an external HD to Capture One and after the import, the catalogue crashed and I had to restart the whole process. As you can imagine I wasn’t happy about it - and so I ended up with LR again. It took me some research to figure out a solution.

I changed my preview file size to 1920 px on my 27’inch iMac. My catalogue size with nearly 54000 pictures is now 1.68 GB. Capture One runs smoothly. This time I imported my LR Catalog to Capture One and I didn’t have any problem.

Workspace
In Capture One you can set up your workspace for your prefered workflow. There are so many possibilities, that it can be pretty confusing in the beginning. To adjust the setting, I wrote down my workflow and adjusted then the workspace. This is my workflow of most of my pictures:

  1. Import the files (Redirecting files to an external HD & extra Back Up Copy) + Copyright
  2. Go through the image, select the keepers & delete the bad pictures
  3. Analysing the shots:
    - Keystone correction
    - Simple adjustments:
      Aperture, Contrast, Light, Shadows
    - Tone Correction
    - Curve
  4. Sharpness / Clarity / Vignette
  5. Presets? (Sometimes I use some User Presets of Capture One to try different looks)
  6. Detailed corrections with the brush
  7. Export
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Therefore I adjusted my Toolbar for my workflow. I deleted tools for tethered shooting ('cause I don’t use it), B&W, Details and a few more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selection:
When I uploaded my pictures to Capture One I start with the selection - same like flag & unflag the pictures in LR. Capture One is not having a special shortcut for selecting the pictures. I decided to use stars - if I select an image, it gets 3 stars - if I unflag an image it goes right into the trash, by pressing x. After selecting the pictures I go into the 3 stars selection and have a proper look at the files and start with my editing process. The Shortcuts help me to run quickly through my pictures.

Editing Process:
My editing process is the one I described in the adjustments for my workspace. Everyone has a different workflow. I don’t do lots of portraits and colour correction, that is why the colour correction tool doesn't play a big role in my editing process - but it is very powerful. Overall I try to edit as less I could… 

Sometimes I convert my colour files into black & white or use some of Capture Ones presets, just to compare different looks. To do this I added a new Shortcut for „Copy Variant“ by pressing alt+command+C. 

Exporting images:
Exporting images is such a joy in Capture One. You can have several „recipes“ and run all of them at the same time.

I use 2 recipes for my archive:

  • High Res for prints
  • 1600px for Web

In Capture One you can adjust the recipes with different ICC Profiles, naming the files, sharping the image for Displays, Metadata, Watermarks etc. There are so many options. The great thing about the exporting tool is, that you can export many images and recipes at the same time. This is such a time safer!

Shortcuts:
In Capture One, you can adjust the Shortcuts to your needs. One thing which drove me really nuts in the beginning was that I wanted to confirm my adjustment by pressing the return/enter key.  It took a while to get used by pressing the V key (selection tool) to confirm edits. Here are the Shortcuts I most use:

V : Confirm / Selection Tool

H : Handtool, double-click to get to a 100% view

C : Crop Tool

K : Keystone Tool (You'll get better results when you use the markers, not in the middle of the image)

# :  Grid on /off

+ : Assign color tag: red

X : deselected images, which go straight to the trash

Cmd + : Zoom in

Cmd -  : Zoom out

Cmd 0 : Zoom to fit

Cmd + Z : Undo

1-5 : Star Rating

Arrow key right: next image

Arrow key left: last image

alt+Cmd+C : Copy Variant

Final Thoughts:
Learning Capture One takes a while. I am still in the process to learn more tricks to make my life easier. There are still a few things I miss in Capture One, but I am sure the team of Capture One is working constantly to improve the software. For me, the most important thing is, that I do have the best outcome for my images. After using Capture One for a while now, I don’t look back to Lightroom. 

I hope I could help a bit for those who are also thinking about making a full transfer from LR to Capture One. If you have further questions don't hesitate to contact me.