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Capture One Pro is a RAW processor with incredible performance and functionality, but it doesn’t completely replace Photoshop.
In order to get the most out of your RAW file, you might want to do as much of your post-processing as possible in Capture One (COP). However, you’ll still need Photoshop for retouching.
COP offers fantastic color management and adjustment tools, but Photoshop allows you to work on the individual pixels in a file via cleaning techniques, cloning, and layers. Photoshop also allows you to create composites.
The process of using Photoshop and Capture One together has been automated since version 10, just like it is between Lightroom and Photoshop.
Instead of having to manually open an exported file into Photoshop and then reimport it back into the Catalog or Session, your file can quickly and easily make a “round-trip”, starting in Capture One.
There is a lot of conversation around which program is better – Capture One or Photoshop? But there’s not much point in comparing the two programs in this way because they’re very different. They’re meant to do different things, as Lightroom and Photoshop are also meant to do different things.
Photoshop is the standard for image manipulation across various disciplines, such as graphic design, graphic art, and, of course, photography. It’s a powerful program for retouching, composting, creating website mockups, and adding effects to images.
Because Photoshop and Capture One have their strengths in different areas, you’ll get the most functionality out of using them together. Some photographers and retouchers prefer to focus on Photoshop alone, which is certainly a viable choice. However, there are benefits to using Capture One as an additional software program. It has powerful masking, layer, and color tools.
One of these benefits of using Capture One is the advanced tethering capabilities that the software offers.
If you’re a studio photographer, or otherwise find shooting tethered to a computer indispensable to your workflow, you’ll find Capture One outstanding in this regard.
It allows you to use Live View, artwork overlays, and also offers stability and lightning speed. Capture One technology uses direct access to the camera, which enables Live View and advanced controls. Other tethering programs copy files such as camera proprietary programs save the captures to an SD card and call it “tethered capture.” However, it’s actually a “file copy.”
Your photo can make a “round trip” in Capture One and Photoshop.
You can open the image in Photoshop via Capture One, retouch it, and then send it back to Capture One. Lightroom and Photoshop work in tandem the same way.
With Capture One, you can finalize your image within the program and send it to an external editor, like Photoshop.
Capture One is an asset manager, so you’ll probably want to put it back alongside your original file in the Catalog or Session where it’s stored.
You can then refine it further, or create Variants (like Virtual Copies) in black & white, color grading, etc. if you choose.
To initiate the round-trip process, follow these steps:
Right-click on the image itself or on the thumbnail. This will initiate a dropdown menu. Choose >Edit With. This will bring up a Dialog Box.
Do not choose >Open With. This function is just for opening up the image in another program, while >Edit With will create a new file and place it next to the RAW file.
If you don’t see Photoshop as an option in the dropdown, just click on >Other and navigate to Photoshop in your applications and click on it.
In the Dialog box, choose >PSD and your desired bit depth – 8-bit or 16-bit.
Choose the desired color profile – sRGB for web use only, or Adobe RGB.
Choose 100% for Scale to the image is full-sized.
Choose to ignore crop, if desired.
Add additional sharpening if you want to do so at this stage.
Check off any metadata parameters you want included in the file.
Click on >Edit Variants. The image will open up in Photoshop.
“Edit Variants” refers to a single file, instead of batch processing.
Once your image is open in Photoshop, do your retouching as you normally would.
When you’re ready to take your image back into Capture One, close the file and hit >Save.
Note that Maximize Compatibility must be checked to work properly.
Now when you go back to Capture One, you’ll see your PSD file in the filmstrip.
From here, you can make new variants, which work similarly to Lightroom Virtual Copies. You can convert your image to black & white or make variations with different color grading, such as warmer or cooler shadows. This can be handy for showing a client some variations on your work to find out what they would prefer.
Users of Lightroom are often hesitant about making the switch to Capture One or other RAW processors outside of the Adobe suite because of the learning curve associated with a new piece of software. They also worry about having to alter a workflow they may have spent years refining.
If this describes you, never fear. As you can see, your images can make the round trip through Capture One and Photoshop just as seamlessly as they do using Lightroom.
And If this is one of the major reasons you’ve been holding off on a change, you may want to download the free 30-day trial to Capture One and test it for yourself. The best RAW processor is the one that is best for your needs.
Have you tried using Photoshop and Capture One together? What are your experiences and thoughts on it? Share them with us in the comments!