Professor Tips

Get Better Organized with Sessions in Capture One Pro 7

When working in Capture One 7 Pro, you basically have two different methods of organizing your images and image adjustments. You can use either:

Catalogs or Sessions

A session is an easy, straightforward and efficient way of organizing your images, as all files, adjustments and metadata are kept inside the Session folder. This method makes it easy to archive or move your data to another computer, by simply moving the entire Session folder.

Read more about the difference between Catalogs and Sessions as well as the benefits of using each

When creating a new Session, a simple folder structure, including some basic predefined folders, will be created for you:

Capture folder
Selects folder
Trash folder
Output folder

A Session folder will, by default, have a Capture folder, which is the default location for saving files when shooting tethered or when importing from a memory card.

The Selects folder is a default folder ready for holding selected images from the Session. The keyboard shortcut Cmd + J (Mac) or Ctrl + J (PC) will automatically move selected files to the Selects folder.

The Trash folder will hold all deleted images. Whenever you delete an image from the session, the image and its adjustments will simply be moved to the Session Trash folder.  You can always go into the Trash folder and move any deleted files, including their adjustments, back to the original folder with a simple drag and drop. The Output folder is where all the processed image files are saved by default.

Create a Session for each job

It’s generally a good idea to create a new Session for every new job you have.  This way you never mix up images from different jobs or different clients.  You can easily switch between Sessions in Capture One 7 Pro. To do so, simply use the dropdown Session selector on the Library Tool tab or locate the Session you want to open in the Finder and double-click on the “.cosessiondb “ file (located within the Session folder).

The default Session gives you a basic Session workflow, but often you will need to add more Session folders in order to better organize your images.

How to add more folders to a Session

There are different ways to add additional Session folders.

The following method works both on Mac and PC.


1) In Capture One 7 Pro select the Library Tool tab and create a new Session from the menu item “New Session”, or by clicking the “+” button next to the Session selector. In this example I have created a new Session named “2013 05 – Italy”, the name of the Session is also shown at the top of the Capture One window. I always use the naming convention: Year, Month and then the name of the event. This naming convention makes it easier for me to go back and find older Sessions.

2) Right-click on any of the predefined Session folders Capture, Select, Output or Trash and select “Show in System folders”.  This will locate the selected predefined session folder inside the System Folder tree.


3) Now go one level up in the System Folder tree and select the folder with the Session name. Right-click and select “new inside”.  You can then select “Folder” and give the new folder a name.

Tip716-Img7_cirkle4) Repeat this procedure for every new folder you would like to add.


5) Finally you can add these new folders to the Session Favorites by right-clicking on the folders in the “System Folders”  tree  and select “Add to Favorites”

Once you’ve added the new folders to your Session, they will show up in the Session Favorites list and be part of the Session.  The Session database will keep information about all images saved in these folders and you can now use the Search and Filtering functionality in Capture One and for instance create Smart Albums based on specific search criteria.

On the Mac there is another special method that you can use:

1) In Capture One Pro 7 select the Library Tool tab and create a new Session.

2) Right-click on the Session name at the very top of the Capture One window (2013 05 – Italy.cosessiondb) and select the option to open the Session folder in the Finder

Tip716-Img3_cirkleBy right-clicking on the name of the Session on the top of the Capture One window, you can
directly open the Session folder in the Finder.


Folder selector when right-clicking on the Session name at
the very top of the Capture One window

3) In the Finder create the folders you need, quickly and easily.

4) Select the folders created in Finder and then drag them directly into the Session Favorites area in the Library Tool tab of Capture One.


5) The newly created folders will now show up in the list of Session Favorites.

You don’t need to use the default predefined “Capture Folder” as capture folder.  Right click on any of your just added folders in the Session Folders list or in the Session Favorite list and select “Set as Capture folder”.  This will set the selected folder as the Capture folder.  In the Session Folders List you will now see a camera icon indicating that this folder is the Capture folder.

In my workflow I always keep the default Capture Folder even if I only import from memory cards.  I will add additional image folders to the session as just explained, but I will still import directly to the Capture Folder. I use the Capture Folder as a “work in progress” folder but once I have finished editing the files, I move them to the different Session folders, I’ve added to the session.

All the best,


The Image Quality Professor
The Image Quality Professor

The digital pioneer, Niels V. Knudsen, is Phase One’s Image Quality Professor and founder of the IQP blog. Moreover, he is responsible for breakthrough advancements in image quality both in Phase One’s medium format camera systems and in Capture One Pro.

Comments (19)

Franz Wenzel

It appears the link to ‘Read more about the difference between Catalogs and Sessions as well as the benefits of using each’ is broken…
Just to let you know!

Hi Franz,

Thanks a lot for letting me know. It should be fixed now. Hope that you will enjoy the post.

All the best,

when create a new session, there are Capture, Selects, Output and Trash Folders. Since I Shoot a few shots every time, how do I remove the Selects Folder before I create the session. I don’t use the Select folder at all.



The Image Quality Professor

Hi Alex,

Sorry for the late response.
Yes, the Selects Folder is always created, but you could name it something else if that is useful. Or simply just ignore it. Unfortunately it cannot be deleted.

All the best,

Graham Hosking

How many images can I have in a session. I have a session with 3500 images and it seems to be difficult to get it to process the images. Would it be better to use a catalogue or split the job into multiple sessions

The Image Quality Professor

Hi Graham,

A Session has no limit. We do limit the number of images that Capture
One can access at one time, in a session, to 10,000 but that is only with
performance in mind. Many machines cannot handle more than that so our
ceiling is set as such. With your system, perhaps you are finding that
3,500 images is the limit in terms of usability. The limit will
ultimately depend on the hardware that is accessing the images.

All the best,

Graham Hosking

Thanks Niels, I think I need a bit more RAM and a bit more patience

I’ve got a question to the professor.

When creating a session C1P does create the above described folders as subfolders within the folder I want to have the session inside. Good.

But apart from that C1P also creates such folders a second time (= addititionally to the others) within the root of my folder ‘Pictures’ on my Mac.


Macintosh HD
— Users
——Capture (not wanted!)
———-Session_01 (ok!)
————Output (ok!)
————Selects (ok!)
————Trash (ok!)
——Output (not wanted!)
——Selects (not wanted!)
——Trash (not wanted!)

I was told my Phase One service staff such behaviour is normal. Even if that’s the fact I don’t get for what use such folders should be. Those mock up my ‘Pictures’ folder. I also don’t want to delete such folders each time I’ll create a new session.

How can I make stop C1P spamming my ‘Pictures’ folder on root level?


David Grover

Hey Marius,

Yes you are right and it is normal behaviour, but I appreciate it could be confusing and we have taken your feedback on board.



I have created a session folder as described. Although the articel appears to describe “How to add more folders to a Session” I still could not find out how to add a new folder to the session folder.

I want to add a “video” folder to the session folder that of course appears in the system folder as well. I do *not* want to have this video folder created under favorites.
How to do that?

-Mino, C1 V8.2

For the the unfortunate think is although I create another folder within the session it only shows up in the hierarchy folder and not actually the session folder. Unless I have done something wrong it would be nice to see it appear in both.

please excuse my grammar my fingers took a vacation here. 🙂

Regarding getting “organized” using sessions, why don’t you show potential users your ENTIRE IMAGE file organization structure of folders & how Sessions fits into that?

It makes sense to me to use a session for a one off job or bit of work, but then what? How does one archive all these sessions in DAM software & what does the ENTIRE image archive folder structure look like? Just showing the 3 or 4 folders inside of a Session is leaving out a ton of information for the overall image archive, not just a few “jobs”.

More a question than a comment actually.
Hello Ed.

I can’t find anywhere the answer to that stupid basic question; as the topic is about sessions here, I dare to ask it.

COP8: In the Library tab, usually displaying a scroll with the previous sessions used, I only see now, since last update, one session. No more “sessions historic”, if I may call it like this. It only shows the last one open.
How to get the good old list of “past sessions”.

Thank you in advance.

You can sort favorites by name but how to sort favorites by date.

Is there a” Simple” way to move a raw file from a mac into the raw converter, work on it and and move it back into cc? I’m not interested in the file management features just the raw converter. I have the latest version of 8 , considering 9 but this seems to be a real conundrum that isn’t necessary. Right now I have to move a raw file from Bidge to the desktop and drag and drop it into Capture One to work on it. I hope there is a better way. Thank you most sincerely.

David Grover

Hi Mike,

Just browse your system in a Capture One Session.

Goto System folders in the Library tool and browse where you like.


Rasmus Malmstrøm

I am trying to move my selections to the select folder, but I am getting this error message. ‘Please set the selects folder to a valid vritable folder’ How come, and how can I fix it?