Capture One Tips & Tricks, Guides, Switching from Lightroom

Your top 10 questions about migrating from Lightroom

NOTE: This article discusses an older version of Capture One Pro. To learn more about our latest version, click here.

1. What is the main difference between Lightroom and Capture One?

Both Lightroom and Capture One are RAW editors – photo editing software where you can process, sort and edit RAW camera files before exporting them as a JPEG for print, online or social media.

Capture One is designed with feedback from photographers and offers more adjustment and organizing possibilities for your photos – which is why it’s loved by professionals and studios worldwide.

For a detailed comparison, check out this guide.

2. How do you migrate a Catalog from Lightroom to Capture One?

We’ve made that process as easy as possible. Simply go to Files > Import Catalog and choose “Lightroom Catalog.” It’s important that you follow this step before exporting your Collection in Lightroom as a Catalog.

Watch this quick video on the migration process

3. Is it easy to switch from Lightroom to Capture One?

With free tutorials, guides and webinars, you’ll master Capture One in no time. Our Learning Hub is packed with free resources dedicated to migrating your photo editing software – just click on “Switching from Lightroom”  at

Capture One also offers a fully customizable workspace, so you can arrange tools any way you want. That means you can design your Capture One interface to look just like your Lightroom workspace.

To create a Lightroom-style workspace, go to: Window > Workspace > Migration.

4. Does Capture One have a Spot Removal tool?

Capture One’s flexible Spot Removal tool gives you several different options – use it in Dust Mode to remove dust from the sky or other plain backgrounds. Or, remove bigger and more complicated spots using Spot Mode.

Check out this guide to the Spot Removal Tool

5. What is the difference between Catalogs and Sessions?

Catalogs and Sessions let you organize your photos based on projects or themes – the choice is yours.

Sessions offer a workflow based on folders, making them ideal for quickly editing a few images, or organizing individual projects within a folder structure. Users can browse any folder on their computer without importing the images.

Like in Lightroom, Catalogs are a database-driven workflow. They’re ideal for organizing bigger projects and long-term organizing. Users can edit ‘offline files’ (smart previews).

Check out this webinar to discover whether Catalogs or Sessions suit your workflow best

6. What are Styles?

What you know as Presets in Lightroom are called Styles in Capture One – instant looks that transform image elements like brightness and contrast.

Each Style Pack includes several different Styles inspired by a specific theme or aesthetic, like vintage film looks or seasonal colors. Many of our Style Packs are developed in collaboration with leading photographers, so it’s easy to recreate their professional aesthetic in a single click.

All Capture One versions come with three built-in Style Packs, completely free.

See our short guide on using Styles

7. What are Process Recipes in Capture One?

Process Recipes in Capture One allow you to export images in different sizes and formats all at once. Unlike Lightroom, this allows you to export images for social media, print and web at the same time – making the export process much faster.

Check out this quick guide to Process Recipes

8. Why are Capture One’s color tools special?

The Color Balance Tool is a powerful, easy-to-use tool which allows you to create the precise color grading you want. Using the Master Wheel, you can edit colors across all aspects of your image, or focus your color editing on Shadows, Midtones and Highlights.

Check out this tutorial on the Color Balance Tool

9. How do I edit skin tones in Capture One?

For more advanced color editing, the Color Editor allows you to separate your colors with the Color Picker Tool or focus specifically on skin colors – you can then adjust the Smoothness, Amount and Uniformity of your selected skin tone to achieve the perfect look.

Check out this guide on achieving perfect skin tones

10. Which Capture One is right for me?

Capture One is available in different software versions, depending your camera:

Capture One Pro is the complete photo editing software solution. It works with files from all major camera brands, so it’s also ideal if you shoot with multiple cameras.

Capture One (for Sony) is for Sony users. You save on the full-feature set in Capture One Pro with a software version exclusive to Sony files.

Capture One Fujifilm is for Fujifilm users. You save on the full-feature set in Capture One Pro with a software version exclusive to Fujifilm files.

Capture One Express is for Sony and Fujifilm users. It’s a free photo editing software with basic editing tools and auto adjustments to get you started.

Compare different versions of Capture One

Jakob Boie Sørensen
Jakob Boie Sørensen

Jakob is a portrait and wedding photographer who also works as a Marketing Consultant with Capture One – his must-have tool for his professional work. Jakob is passionate about sharing his technical expertise and helping others discover the benefits of editing with Capture One.

Follow Jakob Boie Sørensen

Comments (18)

Tomas Vrtal

I have eleven one: how much images can Capture One hold in library? Thanks for reply. Tomas

hans albrecht

Ich nutze Lightroom.
Die 10 Argumente überzeugen mich nicht, von Lightroom zu Phase One zu wechseln.
Insbesondere, ich nutze das dng-Format, das wird in den 10 Argumenten nicht erwähnt.

Johannes Elkjær Madsen

Hvorfor er der ingen – som i slet ingen – omtale af hvor avanceret en print-løsning der er integreret i Capture One ?? Specielt i de sammenhænge hvor der direkte sammenlignes med Lightroom der er udstyret med en fin løsning på dette problem.
Venlig hilsen Johannes Elkjær Madsen

David Ross

I would purchase Capture One in a heartbeat IF it supported large catalogues like Lightroom does. I’m a travel photographer and I maintain a collection of over 300,000 raw images. Lightroom lets me easily manage and search the catalogue without any issues, but as far as I can tell Capture One balks at anything over 35,000 or so. Sadly, that makes it a non-starter for me, though I love how it can edit individual images.

I’ve been trying the trial version but despite the color tools which are way superior I didn’t get better editing from it, I can show you. What really bugs me out is the render preview engine, it looks blurry compared with LR. Also I thinks it miss better profiles for Nikon Z6. Let’s wait for the next version. The keystone tool can’t get the job done automatically, LR shines with transform tools.

David Thornton

Tried to download Capture one pro, but no joy, says my iMac isn’t compatible!!

John C Caruso

You just need to add Plug In support for Smugmug and other online hosting services, and a wave of people are ready to switch to Capture One.

Anita Bosse

Search for an older version of capture one. You can download it directly. I had the same problem but now my iMac works

I switched from lightroom to capture one pro for the sole reason that lightroom now only offers subscription based service and I am mostly satisfied even though I find lightroom to be easier to use. However, I am very disappointed that capture one pro does not allow you to stitch photos into a panorama. Customer support provided me a link to a plugin for stitching, but I could not get the plugin to work despite several conversations with customer support. Also, it is disappointing that you cannot have a phone conversation with capture one customer support unless you purchase one of their medium format cameras. If lightroom ever starts offering their program as stand alone software instead of a monthly lease, I will probably switch back to lightroom.

Roy Nailor

Hi, I don’t know what version you had trouble with, but I have Capture One 12 Pro Fuji loaded on my mid 2011 iMac and it works fine.

David Bleeker

I have 360000 images in 1 catalogue without too much problems. When I look at others on lightroom they are always waiting around… As a travel photographer Sessions would be the way to go, and those can be incorporated later into your catalogue.
But I agree that the catalogue could be much better and has still some bugs… Keywording is one of the weak points!

Don MacQueen

And what is the Capture One equivalent of a Lightroom Profile?

Eine der wesentlichen Unterschiede scheint zu sein, dass Lightroom in Deutsch verfügbar ist, Captue One sich aber nur an die englischsprachige Community richtet. Schade, oder habe ich da etwas übersehen? Zumindest werde ich immer nur in englisch angesprochen, obwohl ich in Deutschland lebe und in deutscher Sprache arbeite.

Bernard Vermot Desroches

I like Capture One but use Lightroom very often because, with this software, it is possible to use very easily the GPS infotmations on a fantastic MAP all around in the World ans with a lot of details at the scale of our choice…

Steve Fogel

I’ve not moved from Lightroom because earlier versions of Capture One did not let me save the image to both the card and the computer simultaneously when shooting with Canon. Is this now supported?

Dr. med. Kurt Lobodasch

I use the Mac Catalina . Will capture one also work with this?

Assaf Frank

1. when you migrate from lightroom to C1 does it matches the LR settings of the image to create a similar-looking image in C1?
2. dose the migration also transfer the LR virtual copy of an image?

I have a catalogue of 200,000 images with 30% of it as virtual copies.

I would love to hear from someone.

Michael Stanton

Lately we have been having trouble with the handling of Georeferencing data. How does your product handle Georeferencing metadata? Do you link to GDAL Plugins?