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How to Migrate Your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One Pro

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When it comes to high-end studio work, Capture One Pro is the choice of professionals. If you’re doing advertising or product photography, COP gives you certain tools and functionality that don’t exist in Lightroom.

The tethering feature in COP is far superior and allows you to work tethered with Live View and use layout overlays. This is a crucial feature to have when working on things like product packaging shoots or magazine cover portraits. You’ll be provided layout overlays to use as a guide in how to frame your shots to get the subject to fit with the artwork.

There is no right and wrong when it comes to your favorite RAW processor. It comes down to preference.

However, if you take the time to play around with a trial version of Capture One Pro, you may decide the sophisticated tools and incomparable color rendering will make you want to make the switch from Lightroom.

Great! But what about the thousands of images in your Lightroom database?

The idea of migrating your Lightroom catalog to Capture One Pro may seem intimidating, but it’s actually very simple and involves only a few quick steps.

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Migrating a catalog from Lightroom to Capture One Pro

The most important thing to know before you get started is that migrating your Lightroom catalog to Capture One Pro will not have any impact on your Lightroom catalog. You can continue to use it as you ordinarily would, and it will stay in the same place.

Before you can migrate your catalog, make sure you know its location.

If you’re not sure where your current Lightroom catalog lives, simply go to your Lightroom menu, and click on “Catalog Settings.”

This will bring you a dialog box with the tabs “General,” “File Handling,” and “Metadata.”

Choose “General.”

Under location, it will tell you the name of the catalog and where you can find it. Click on “Show” to navigate to the catalog location.

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For example, mine is located on an external disk. I have all my photos and documents on two external 4TB hard drives to avoid clogging up my computer’s hard drive.

The other thing you should be aware of that every single property from your Lightroom catalog may not carry over. This mostly refers to color adjustments. Things like exposure, white balance, rotation, and orientation are usually switched over seamlessly when migrate your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One.

When you start the import process, COP will also notify you of any incompatible files in a dialog box.

Catalog vs Sessions

COP has two file management systems: Catalogs and Sessions.

As with Lightroom, a Catalog in COP is a database containing information about your images, such as metadata and ratings. Catalogs are most suitable for organizing large volumes of images.

A Session functions more like a Lightroom Collection. It provides a more simple, folder-based workflow and the ability to browse any folder on your computer without having to import images. Adjustments are placed in a subfolder next to the images.

Sessions are great for on-set workflow and tethered shooting, and are generally seen as the more efficient option. Sessions allow you to store all the files from a single project together.

Once you have migrated your Lightroom Catalog into COP, you can build and structure your photos into sessions if you choose.

Use the following steps to migrate your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One.

Steps to migrate your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One Pro.

Step 1

Start by creating a new catalog in Capture One Pro

Open COP and go to File -> New Catalog.

How to Migrate Your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One Pro

Step 2

After you have created the new Catalog in COP, you need to import the LRCAT Lightroom file.

Go to  File -> Import Catalog -> Lightroom Catalog.

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This is when a dialog box will notify you about any offline or incompatible files so that you’re aware.

How to Migrate Your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One Pro

Hit  “Continue.”

Step 3

This is where you get asked to name the catalog as you want it to appear in COP.

Give your catalog a name and hit “Enter.”

Under “Location,” navigate to the Lightroom catalog you wish to import. Click on the folder and then hit “OK.”

How to Migrate Your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One Pro

COP will start the import process.

It will tell you how many files it’s reading and how long the import will take.

If you have thousands of images, note that migrating your Lightroom catalog to Capture One Pro can take some time.

How to Migrate Your Lightroom Catalog into Capture One Pro

Conclusion

As you can see, migrating your Lightroom catalog to Capture One Pro is a simple and fairly seamless process. If you have more than one Lightroom catalog, follow these steps to import each catalog.

Once you have your catalogs in COP, you can further organize them into Sessions.

Do you have any other tips to migrate your Lightroom catalog into Capture One, or had experience doing with this process? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Darina Kopcok
Darina Kopcok

is a writer and professional food photographer who shares her recipes and photography on her blog Gastrostoria. Her latest work can be found on OFFset, as well as her online portfolio at darinakopcok.com.