Which RAW editor and photo management software do you use? There are a few different options out there and many of them have had some significant updates recently. Perhaps using the same one you have always used is a good thing, but equally, perhaps looking around to see what other options there are could also be a good idea to see if something else might serve you better.
First, a little clarity. Rob says that he started using Lightroom when it was in the beta version a long time ago, so I think it’s safe to say he knows Lightroom! He switched to Capture One fairly recently as it suits his commercial photography workflow better. These are the reasons why he prefers to use Capture One, over Lightroom.
- Colour Control: Capture One generally has more overall colour control than Lightroom does. It’s much easier in C1 to select an individual colour range and make small targeted changes to it. In particular, the way C1 handles skin tone is far better than any other software. It has a dedicated panel just for skin tone, complete with a uniformity slider that evens everything out very easily. Something that would take much longer to do in Photoshop and is near impossible to do with such accuracy in LR. For anyone working in areas where colour accuracy is super important this could be a reason to choose C1.
- Customisation: Each of the panels in C1 is fully customisable to whatever you want to prioritize in your workflow. Admittedly Lightroom does have some capacity for customisation of tabs, but not nearly to the extent that C1 does. If that’s important to you, then that’s another reason to go with C1.
- Layers: Admittedly Lightroom has recently added a larger capacity for layers in their latest update, particularly for the masking tools and adjustments. But I think we can agree that C1 did it first, and still probably does it better, particularly if you’re making a large number of adjustments but still don’t want to move over to Photoshop.
- Tethering: Yes, this is a huge consideration for studio photographers, particularly commercial product photographers that need to shoot tethered. Lightroom is notoriously unstable, and C1 basically leaves it in the dust in this respect. For those photographers that don’t need to shoot tethered all the time, there are of course other options. But C1 is probably the most reliable. Capture One now has a live review option that they are beta testing which you can let your client review the images remotely via a website, while you are shooting. That’s pretty useful considering the last couple of years! C1 will also let you toggle between two different cameras, for example, an overhead shot and a 3/4 shot. That’s also pretty useful. The other advantage in this respect is the comfort of knowing that the tethering is not going to just drop out. C1 is super reliable, and that’s really important if you’re working with big clients.
- Annotations: Finally the ability to mark up or annotate the images is very useful in C1. Particularly if you’re working with an art director. It means that you don’t need to keep separate notes when going through the shoot and deciding what needs to be done in post. Again very useful if you’re you’re working with a retoucher, you can give them the images with the notes on top of what work you need to be done.
Now my thoughts on this are as always, quite moderate! I would firmly say that whatever software you choose to use depends largely on what and how you shoot. Other advantages of C1 are that it’s a one-time payment, but the caveat of that is that you don’t always get the updates for new camera models. Similarly, if you’re a Fuji shooter then you are probably going to want to be using Capture One.
The latest Lightroom update for 2022 however, is pretty impressive. And for most users, the select sky/subject options are going to be much more useful than anything in Capture One. For professional studio shooters who work with products or fashion/beauty, then I would say that Capture One is probably the way forwards.
As with everything, there is no one best option. Find what works best for you. Personally, I still prefer doing the lion share of my post-production work in Photoshop, and I really don’t want any software trying to organise my perfect mess of a file system. It makes no sense but I know where everything is thank you! I will say though that having edited the same images in both Lightroom and C1, the skin tones really do come out ever so slightly nicer in C1.
Have you tried both LR and C1? What works best for you?