Guest Photographers, Switching from Lightroom

3 steps to an easy switch from Lightroom to Capture One

NOTE: This article discusses an outdated version of Capture One.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

This week we have the pleasure of featuring Bob DeLellis, wedding photographer and a recent convert to Capture One. Bob contacted us with his ideas on how to customize Capture One Pro 8 to make the move from Lightroom easier. We were very impressed with the tutorial he did and wanted to share it with all of you.

The Image Quality Professor spoke to Bob and asked him a few questions about his tutorial video:


Niels: So, Bob, what led you to create your “Making the Move From Lightroom to Capture One Pro 8″ video”?

Bob: Well, Niels, as I explain in the video, I gave Capture One a try and was, initially, pretty overwhelmed with the interface differences and, basically, wrote it off as too much work to change.


Niels: What made you persevere, after your first impressions?

Bob: I kept seeing other Capture One users rave about the RAW image conversion quality, so I started doing more research on the program and watching the Capture One webinars.

Bob DeLellis Napa Wedding2

Niels: Bob, how did you experience the switch from Lightroom to Capture One Pro 8?

Bob: Your Capture One webinars and video tutorials are amazing, but I didn’t find anything from anyone that specifically addressed how you can customize Capture One to mimic as closely as possible the interface that long-time Lightroom users like myself are familiar with.

In fact, one video on YouTube basically says forget trying to make the correlations between Lightroom and Capture One Pro 8 and just treat it as a completely new program. THAT almost scared me off, but I really wanted to try to make it work, because of the image quality I was seeing and because of the adjustments you can make in Capture One that I previously had to go into Lightroom for.

Niels: Thanks for making the tutorial video. I’m sure our readers will find it interesting to get another new photographer’s perspective on how he made the switch.

Bob: It was my pleasure, Niels. I’m honored to be a guest photographer on the Capture One blog and I hope my video helps other potential users see that making the move from Lightroom to Capture One Pro 8 can be made easier and worth the effort. In addition to the video, I have provided copies of my workspace and keyboard shortcuts plist files, so others don’t have to start from scratch.

See Bob’s keyboard shortcut comparison chart

Bobs workspace and Shortcuts plists (mac only)

Bobby-D-Eddie-Money Bob on a recent tour with classic rock icon Eddie Money

Click here, if you would like to download a free trial of Capture One

Click here, if you would like to purchase Capture One

Bob DeLellis
Bob DeLellis

Bob DeLellis is a wedding, event and portrait photographer based out of Camarillo, CA in the United States. He is a graduated from the prestigious Brooks Institute with a Certificate in Wedding Photography. He is also a musician, who most recently was on tour with the classic rock icon Eddie Money and an Entertainment Industry CPA.

Comments (32)

Are you aware you can make our own custom tab and include all the tools in one bar?

Bob DeLellis

Yes, Scott. There’s a bit of an example of that in the video where I show the Quick tool tab. That tab has some of the most common tools from all the tool tabs. I personally like having the tools on separate tool tabs that are organized more like my workflow. I prefer NOT to have to scroll down to see the tools. In Lightroom, all the tools are down the right and there is a “solo” mode that keeps only one tool open at a time. If you don’t use the “solo” mode, you end up doing more scrolling than I like. C1 is way more customizable than LR, so YOUR method is a great option IF you prefer your tools all on ONE tool tab. For me C1, has so many more tools than LR, it’s helpful to keep them organized in a way that matches my workflow. The ability to organize tools and tool tabs in a way that makes sense to YOU is just one of the many awesome features of Capture One.

Dick Beery

Now we need a similar video for switching from Aperture to C1. Or have I missed it on the U-tube channel?

I think there is an aperture one on youtube

You can make your own custom tab for a workspace which can have any adjustment you like on it, i made one similar to aperture so all the develop tools were under one tab.
you can even make a floating tab with histogram and adjustment tools on it, so you can see library and adjustments at the same time

Bob DeLellis

That’s a recording of one of the webinars David Grover hosted. I haven’t watched it as I moved from Aperture to Lightroom before I enrolled at the Brooks Institute a few years ago. Hopefully, David answered all of your questions in that webinar. Unless Aperture changed dramatically since about 2011, you’ll find a substantially more robust set of editing tools in C1. I moved from Aperture to LR back then, mostly because Aperture’s adjust tools were so limited.

Ken Owens

I enjoyed the way you did the conversion. Would like to view any new updated information.

As Scott mentioned, one new tab could be created and all the tools from both the ‘exposure’ and ‘detail’ tabs could be placed on the new tab.. The new tab could be called ‘LR’

However, having the tools separated on the two tabs, ‘exposure’ & ‘detail’, leaves the related tools accessible with less scrolling required on either tab.

As an example of a custom tab, I made a tab that holds 4 ‘levels’ tools. I placed four of them so I can see RGB & red & blue & green channels at once.. This is nice when adjusting color balance using levels tool.. C1 has some icons to choose from so custom tabs can be identified. I chose a.. ‘4’

As far as keyboard shortcuts for tab_1 and tab_2 and etc., the only option, versus the current method, is for the tab names to be shown in keyboard shortcuts options, of course, and it would have to grab my custom tab, ‘4’, as well. Things would certainly be more clear this way, but I guess it is simpler for people writing software to just have them identified by number. Your comments did help me clear up the relationship btwn the two.

As a final note.. Ratt, Scorpions, Def L were big things for me, at the time. My cassette tapes turned inside out and tastes changed… I did recently replace ‘OOTC’ on CD.. just for old times.

Bob DeLellis

Cool, Tan68. That’s all great info. I agree with you on scrolling, I find that scrolling slows me down. With the way I tried to set up my shortcuts, I wanted the navigation to be done as much as possible, so I could allow the right hand to concentrate on editing. For me, that was just a more efficient way to get around the program.

Bob DeLellis

Correction: I wanted the navigation to be done as much as possible “with my left hand”. Again, that allows me to keep my right hand on my Wacom tablet, or on the track pad or mouse.

Really enjoyed your tutorial on converting from LR to C1. How do you keyword? I find the keyboarding in C1 very arcane and not as easy as it is in LR.

Thank you.

Jed Best

Bob DeLellis

Jed, keywording is done on the Metadata tool tab. If you adopt my Workspace and Keyboard Shortcut setup, the keyboard shortcut is Opt + W (for keyWord). In the video, I show you how to install the related plist files in your Library (on a Mac). Remember there are question marks on every tool in Capture One that are links to tutorials on the Capture One Online Help section of their website. Here is a link to the keywording tutorial. Let me know if you need more help.

Thanks, bob. As I said before great tutorial and much needed.


David Georghiou

Great tutorial – very useful. Only problem I have following this is that the toggle between grid view and viewer does not work that way on my (Windows) C1 version 8.3.2. If I ‘show viewer’ I always get the browser bar shown as well. This appears to be because ‘hide viewer’ to toggle back to the grid view brings back the browser (albeit in a grid view) so then ‘show viewer’ shows the viewer and the browser. The only way I’ve managed to do any sort of ‘toggle’ is with the viewer showing use ‘hide viewer’ (gives me the browser grid) and then ‘hide browser’ (gives me the viewer). Perhaps I’m missing something or it works differently in the Windows and Mac versions.

Wow, David, I wish I could help you. I don’t work on PCs anymore, except when I’m forced to and money is changing hands. LOL So, you’ve changed your “Show Viewer” command to the letter “G” and you’ve hidden your browser, and WITH IN IMAGE SELECTED, hitting the letter “G” doesn’t toggle between the grid of images and the single image you’re selected, right? Please confirm or try again and let me know. I’ll contact the guys at Phase One and ask if the program functions differently on Windows. 🙁 I’ve attached a screenshot of what my View menu looks like. Command + B toggles the Browser (probably Ctrl + B in Windows).

David Georghiou

Number of issues here:
1. I cannot use G as that is in already in use by the ‘cursor tool’. So I have used Alt+G.
2. The edit shortcuts list shows two ‘Show viewer’ entries, one the default, one blank. It appears you have to modify the default one as the blank modified shortcut does not always work at all (the default still appears in the View menu and it does not do a Hide Viewer function when in the Viewer).
3. Sequence I have tried works as follows:
– Grid displayed, image selected
– Alt+G: shows Viewer with selected image but with Browser bar showing thumbnails
– Ctrl+B: hides Browser bar and thumbnails
– Alt+G: toggles back to grid with image still selected
– Alt+G: shows Viewer with selected image but with Browser bar and thumbnails again
4. The only way I can get this to work is to use ‘Hide browse’r from the Grid to show the Viewer (with no Browser bar and thumbnails showing) and ‘Hide viewer’ to return to the Grid.

Bob DeLellis

Hi David,

It sounds like you’re getting the hang of editing your shortcuts. I do show in the video that, if you try to select a shortcut that’s already taken, C1 will display a warning. Generally the curser (pointer) uses the letter V. I also mention that Adobe is inconsistent in some areas and use a different shortcut in LR than they use in PS. For example, crop in PS is C, but C is already taken with the Compare function in LR, so they used R. That makes NO sense to me. Another example is B adds to the Target Collection, but B is the brush tool in both PS AND in C1. All the tools should use the same shortcut across all products, to avoid confusion. Personally, I would change the cursor to V to match PS and then G would be available for the Grid. The beauty of this entire process is you make it work, for YOU. Unfortunately, you’ve had to put a little more work into making everything work, but, on the bright side, I’ll bet these shortcuts are already ingrained and with a little more practice, it will become 2nd nature. It took a little time, but I’m now actually faster in C1 than I was in LR.

Great tutorial! Bob, just curious do you still use LR i.e. for Library management? Cause the Lib features are not the best part of C1….Other issues; no plugins, no uploader smugmug etc. I have both applications and to me, C1 is more designed for studiowork, tethered shooting etc. BTW I like to play music as well, I’m on ‘keys’.

Bob DeLellis

Thanks, I’m so glad you liked it. ANOTHER musician/photographer. We are everywhere. 🙂 I’ve heard that all musicians want to be photographers and all photographers want to be musicians. There are quite a few well-know photographers that also play music. For example Rick Sammon went to the Berklee School of music, Gary Fong and Joe Brady (PocketWizard) both play guitar and Tony Corbell plays drums. Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue has photography book out called “This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx”. These are two creative disciplines that have much in common.

No, I rarely go into LR. I stopped using Smugmug and changed my site to using the ProPhoto Blog theme for WordPress. I did that when ProPhoto Blog came out with a proofing plugin. I figured I could save a couple hundred dollars per year in Smugmug fees and I wasn’t a fan of the amount commission they would take, when I processed prints thru them. I’m pretty sure you won’t see the C1 edited version of the image in LR. C1 can see the star ratings and color tags, so you COULD do your culling and organization in LR, first and then edit in C1,but the edits don’t go back to LR. ALSO, David Grover did a webinar on how to keep all your images in LR and then round-trip to/from C1 to do your editing. The down side to that, is you end up with an edited TIFF in LR. If you need to do further editing, you have to round-trip again (someone correct me, if I’m wrong). I found that using green and red color tags, was a suitable replacement to LR’s flag system. So, in C1 I use stars and color tags, where in LR I used starts and flags, but never used stars, color tags AND flags. If you DO use all three in LR, that will be one area you’ll have to adapt.

One feature I’ve been asking for is the ability to move folders IN C1 without having to go to the finder. Also, I’d like C1 to be able to FIND new folders within existing folders. If you synchronize in C1 will see a checkbox in the dialog that says “include KNOWN subfolders”. If you want to add photos to C1 by dragging to a folder, you MUST create the folder in C1 first, since it can NOT synchronize folders it doesn’t already know about. THAT is how I used to work in LR. When I shoot a wedding, I use different cards for the before shots, ceremony, formals and reception. LR import was slower than C1, so I would create folders for each card and drag them to those folders and then synchronize. You CAN do that in C1, but, again, you must create the folders IN C1 NOT in the Finder. Moving is even more difficult. Since C1 will not move folders in the Finder, you have to manually move them and then go back into C1 and “locate” (show where you moved) the folder. It wasn’t a “deal-breaker” for me, but it would be more convenient if C1 could see unknown subfolders and move folders in the Finder. It CAN move files between existing “known” folder, though.

I hope this all helps. Rock on, DUDE!! 🙂

Like you said in your first part, exactly my experience. I often tell people the same thing, creative people like musicians, photographers, painters etc. are coming from the same ‘source’.

Yes sure, you can roundtrip LR_C1_LR and use watch folders and so on. But you end up with an edited TIFF in LR…. Your workflow using green and red color tags, is a good replacement to LR’s flag system, pretty slik dude:)! I could live with that workflow and on this stage LR is still not needed.

At this moment I’m trying to use sessions. Using one big session you get a kind of an updated finder file system. I create a (sub)folder outside C1 and drag my files into it. Starting C1 session et voila you got your just created folder with files. It is not perfect and that’s why I’m still using LR.

Sure your answers help a lot, to me and I think to other people as well. Thanks again. And Bob, make your guitar scream!:)

Bob, I watched your three steps to move over to Capture One from Lightroom. I too played with Capture One but because I found things different then what I was use to continued with Lightroom, using Capture One for tethering. I noticed how great the images appeared when I was capturing them and then a little disappointed when I imported them into Lightroom. After watching your video I decided to give it another chance! So with an open mind I edited a complete studio shoot with Capture One. It now appears that I should have done this months ago. Thanks for the video.

Bob DeLellis

Hi Dennis, I’m really glad you found the video useful and gave C1 another try. I think I gave up and went back twice, before I really committed to making C1 work. Now that it appears you are making that commitment, if you haven’t already, I suggest you start watching all of David Grover’s short how-to videos. You can click on the question mark (?) in each tool to follow a hyperlink to the tutorial page in the online help section of the C1 site. Particularly, pay attention to the tutorials on Local Adjustments and the new 3-way Color Balance tool. Beyond the “under the hood’ RAW conversion engine, in my opinion, those are a couple of the major features that REALLY puts C1 head and shoulders above LR. Also, study the C1 Levels tool. It looks similar to the Levels tool in PS, but it’s more powerful. As you commit to, and become more adept at Capture One, you’re going to find it increasingly more painful to go back to Lightroom. I did.

BTW, David and I are doing a joint live webinar on August 11th, where I’ll be demonstrating and expanding on what’s in the video. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, as we’ll be making a list of things we want to touch on plus we’ll be taking questions. Please try to join us. 🙂

Thank you for this great post – and video. I love the G shortcut as I was getting very annoyed with the navigation in CO.
One part of CO I find very frustrating is the workflow involving TIF files: some tif are not picked up by CO when syncing, the beach ball comes up too often and for too long on some tif thumbnails. It also seems that Alpha Channels are to be banished from the CO workflow. And I have spent/lost a few hours trying to understand what was going on since these limitations are not clearly spelled out in CO site.
Your Aug 11 webinar might be a good opportunity to address those fundamentals issues.
Thanks again for your very helpful video.

As much as I like CO for tethering and working on my photos I have to agree with Benoit about the beach ball coming on too much when syncing rendering my new iMac with 32gb of ram helpless if I want to continue working in CO. I would also like the ability to go directly to NIK or a Topaz plug in from CO. Well I am at it a shortcut for going to Photoshop would also be nice. But…. I am going full speed ahead in my change over from Lightroom to CO. 🙂

Bob DeLellis

Hi Dennis. Are you aware that, when you right click and click “Edit With” you have other programs you can select other than Photoshop. I see all my Nik filters, HOWEVER, I prefer to use my Nik and Topaz filters IN Photoshop, so I can have access to the mask and opacity functions to help blend the effect. I found my best workflow is to do make all my adjustments in C1 and then take a copy into PS when I want to apply a special effect from those 3rd party filters. I just tested that by opening an image in Nik Color Efx Pro 4 and it worked perfectly. Again, by going direct vs applying the filter in PS, I wasn’t able to use a mask to selectively apply the effect and, although Nik control points are useful, I find I can be more accurate with the application of the effect with a mask in PS. You can set two external editors in LR, but I find that all I ever need is PS and, if I want a different external editor, they are available in the dropdown menu in the “edit with” menu.

Bob DeLellis

Benoit. The “G” key was probably one of the most useful discoveries I made to get C1 to act more like the LR, and the “G” key seemed to get the interface to act like the grid style we’re used to. The majority of the thought I put into this was to not only make C1 more LR friendly, but also to organize the shortcuts in a way that took advantage of BOTH hands. I try to do most of the navigation with my left hand and editing with the right.

David and I will both be on the webinar and we’ll handle as many questions as time permits. Your TIFF/Alpha Channel issue might need to be addressed by Tech Support.

Bob, a question about changing over from Lightroom. Did you start fresh with CO and left your other images in Lightroom or did you move them over to CO? I would like to bring them all over to CO sessions but what I have found is that I should bring them over to a CO catalog and export them from there. I have also found information about exporting all my shoots over as individual catalog, importing them CO and then create sessions.

I could babble on more but do you have a good method of bring over 5 years of images? 🙂

Bob DeLellis

Hi Dennis, Initially, I created a new catalog mostly “played” with C1 on my Macbook Air. My main catalog is on a 27″ iMac with a TB fusion drive and 24GB of RAM. As I mentioned, I tried working with C1 and basically wrote it off as too different a couple times. I was the interface and file management that almost made me give up on it. It was image quality and editing tools AND David’s webinars that kept me coming back. I don’t think I mentioned this, but I kind of adapted to C1 backwards. What I mean by that is, I got really comfortable with the editing BEFORE I was adept at the file management. Once I was committed to C1 because I worked on finding a way to live with the file management. It was at THAT point that I used the Import Catalog feature and brought about 30,000 images in from my Lightroom catalog (File > Import Catalog > Lightroom Catalog).

I am not an expert in using Sessions as I’ve basically stuck to what I was used to in LR, which is everything is in one catalog, but there are many webinars David has done that address those two methods of file management.

Hope to see you at the webinar on August 11th. 🙂

Lightroom to Capture One. In my quest to go totally over to Capture One from Lightroom I have discovered a few things. First, if I shoot a session in Capture one and edit the images in Capture One and Photoshop all is well. The .tifs respond quickly in CO. Any of the projects I have brought over from Lightroom I found some responded well and others took for ever with the beach ball spinning. What I discovered and it was my fault was some of the tif files saved in Lightroom had layers attached to them making them extra large. When you hit command S in Photoshop and are saving it back to Lightroom it doesn’t ask if you want to flatten the image but in CO it takes you to a dialog box if you haven’t flattened and asks how you want to save it. This was causing my problems with tifs in my change over to CO. I thought I would mention my stupidity so others don’t do what I did.

Overall…. I like what I see in CO. but still see growing pains which I hope are addressed very soon.

Bob DeLellis

Thanks for sharing, Dennis. I’m sure that will save others some grief, in the future. 🙂

Thanks for this great video. In working on the switch from LR (previously Aperture) to C1, I am struggling with keyboarding, which I use extensively. C1 does not do nesting or have many nice features of LR. Have you dealt with this issue?


Great video, learned a lot. Hope you do more with Capture One. thanks.

Unless I missed it in the view and exporting the summary… In C1 v9.0.0.263 for Windows there appear to be some shortcuts you can’t change, which conflicts with the suggestions in the blog article. (Example remapping the ‘G’ key.):

Tools You Can’t Change in the “Edit | Keyboard Shortcuts” menu:
Select V
Pan H
Loupe P
Crop C
Straighten R
Keystone Vertical K
Remove Spot O
Gradient Mask G
Pick White Balance W
Apply Adjustments A

Also FILE | RENAME is listed twice under the Keyboard Shortcuts in this version of C1.

Not sure if this is just an early version bug or something now baked in.