Getting used to new software is rarely easy – but it doesn’t have to be frustrating. If you are considering switching from Lightroom to Capture One, here are 1o tips for making the transition easy.
There are a few things to take notes of when switching from Lightroom to Capture One:
- The default layout has tools to the left and browser to the right of the viewer.
- To choose a layout more similar to Lightroom, simply select ‘Window > Workspace > Migration’. This will provide a workspace that more closely resembles Lightroom’s layout.
- Most tools in Capture One can be re-organized, moved freely around between Tool Tabs, and even scaled when pulled out of the Tool Tab, by simply clicking the Tool Title and dragging. Parts of the interface can also be hidden. For an easy overview, use the View menu.
- Tools can be distributed between a scrollable part and a pinned part within the Tool Tabs. The pinned part is always at the top, making it easy to pin the tools you need to have instant access to.
2. Catalog or Session?
Capture One offers two ways of organizing your images. Catalogs and Sessions. What are they?
Just like Lightroom, you can import your images to a Capture One Catalog. You can choose to keep your images in their current location or copy them inside the Catalog. A Catalog is a database that contains information about metadata, keywords, ratings, etc. for each image.
When importing, organizing, or editing your images, Capture One updates the database with this information. This is a very useful way of working with larger image collections.
A Session provides a simpler, folder-based workflow with a predefined structure of ready-to-use folders and the ability to browse any other folder on your computer without having to import. Adjustments are placed in a subfolder next to the images. Sessions are suitable for tethered shooting, individual jobs, etc.
You can use one or the other – or both!
3. Presets = Styles
What’s called presets in Lightroom is called Styles in Capture One. They work in a similar way and are easily adjusted after applying. Capture One also features Presets, which only includes one tool, making them accessible from within the tool they use. To summarize:
Style: Pre-defined adjustments including multiple tools.
Preset: Pre-defined adjustments including only one tool.
To learn more about Styles and Presets when switching from Lightroom to Capture One, watch this tutorial (5 minutes).
Layers in Capture One provide similar functionality as Brushes in Lightroom. However, they work more as Layers work in Photoshop, where each layer has a mask. If we stick to Adjustment Layers, you have two initial options:
- New Empty Layer – The default option when clicking the plus-icon in the tool. This will create a new layer without a mask on it. To see the effect of any adjustments applied to the Layer, you need to mask the desired area with the brush.
- New Filled Layer – By long-pressing the plus-icon, you can choose this option. This will create a new layer with a solid mask on it. Any adjustments will show on the entire image, but you have the option to erase parts of the mask or decrease the opacity of the whole layer.
5. Speed Edit
You can edit your images in Capture One in many ways. One of them is Speed Edit, which is a functionality that allows you to edit your images without having to pull any sliders.
Speed Edit works by holding down an assigned key on the keyboard and its corresponding slider will temporarily show at the bottom of the viewer. While holding down the key, simply scroll your mouse wheel or trackpad, click-and-drag anywhere in the interface, or press the arrow keys on your keyboard to adjust the slider.
Which keys are assigned to what sliders can be viewed and even customized in the Keyboard Preferences section.
Pro tip: Speed Edit works on batches of images. You can for example warm up 500 images with the same amount, and at the same time, by tweaking the Kelvin using Speed Edit.
6. Copy adjustments
To copy adjustments from one image to others, click the arrow-up icon in the top right corner. Capture One automatically detects changed adjustments and puts them in the Adjustments Clipboard Tool. Control which adjustments you want to be copied from the clipboard, and click the arrow-down icon to apply these adjustments to the selected images. The process of copying adjustments makes your transition easier when switching from Lightroom to Capture One.
7. Color Balance
The Color Balance Tool will make color grading easy and fast. It’s like Split Toning, but with more options.
The Master channel works as an overall visual White Balance tweaker; the whole image will be affected. Shadow, Midtone, and Highlight will tone each part of your image with the hue and saturation of your choosing.
The luminosity slider to the right provides additional control of the contrast of the image while color grading.
8. Edit All Selected Variants
When exporting, deleting, or adjusting multiple images at a time, make sure to enable ‘Edit > Edit All Selected Variants…’. Otherwise, you will only export/delete/adjust the highlighted image in your selection.
You might think “why would anyone need to disable this?!” – but there are surprisingly many instances where it’s useful.
In any software, shortcuts make lives easier. This is no different in Capture One. In addition to an extensive default list of shortcuts, you have the option to add shortcuts for almost anything. Including changing all the default shortcuts.
Go to ‘Edit > Edit Keyboard Shortcuts…’. The first step is to duplicate the default and create your own list. Then you can edit away.
10. Instant tethered capture
Capture One was initially designed 20 years ago as a tethering software, meaning it would transfer an image from a connected camera to the computer, and show it on the screen.
For an industry-leading tethered workflow, simply create a new Session, connect a supported camera and start shooting.
If you don’t already own Capture One, you can download a 30-day trial and discover its power.