I shoot RAW. That means that all photos coming out of my camera aren't finished products. They are just the core ingedients of a sometimes long path toward a final product.
Of course there exist numerous ways to convert RAW files to final products, but not every way is fast enough, or creative enough. And I don't have time to wait or click around - I need specialized software to do what I want, and fast. In the last few years I've used Bibble 5 and Aftershot Pro for this, but since that bit of software unfortunately seems to be dead now, I've been taking the time to look at alternatives.
And that will be tricky.. since I've grown quite used to my way of doing things. Will there be programs that can do what I want fast enough? For that, let's first briefly look into:
For me: a good Workflow is Everything! After a photoshoot I usually end up with loads of images. All of these need to be backed up, graded, selected, sorted, processed and maybe even modified. Preferably fast, faster and fastest! Why? Two reasons. One: if you're in the zone, happily adjusting images here and there, you don't want to wait for software to keep up with your intentions. Two: time is money, so why waste it?
So, if this process cannot be optimized to my liking, any program - no matter how good - is quickly out of the picture.
My workflow typically consists of the following steps:
My previous raw editor, Aftershot pro, usually delivered nicely in this regard so I was hesitant to try any other program which might interfere with that. I'm happy I did however! Capture One seems to allow me to work faster than I was used to. Good!
This review will not be going into the global details of how Capture One performs with respect to micro management of noisy pixels (in short: it's better), or into how it's catalog system works in comparison with Lightroom (don't use them, didn't like Lightroom) or into the fact that it does not have features like export-to-flickr, or all other things in which you can do stuff I don't do anyway (yet.. but that tethered shooting thingy seems to be very cool in the studio. I think I want to go for a trial setup in a few weeks to experiment with shooting-straight-to-the-NAS)
Overall using Capture One feels faster than I was used to, good. Next up:
Okay, so it fits in my workflow. Good. Second part: does it produce nice pictures?
Short answer, or otherwise I wouldn't be typing this: yes.
Conclusion of all this? So far I like it, and I'm going to use it for a while longer. Capture One wasn't the only contender, I also took a thorough look at Darktable (not yet finished), DxO (too slow for me), Photo Ninja (creates nice results, but didn't work out as a total solution) and Lightroom (I still don't like the way this enforces you to their workflow). I'll keep monitoring if Aftershot ever gets a revival, but for now, I'm quite happy with Capture One.
Oh and to make this post seem less text-only I've added a couple of post processing examples below!
I'll not be going into details on how this works in comparison with all other image editors out there. Here's just a few things I particularly liked while editing.
An example from a recent shoot with Simone. To highlight the out-of-placeness of the model I chose to desaturate the background. In this first example I've done this using a drawn layer mask.
In this example I did not draw a mask to change colors, but selected the "green" part of the images, and desaturated and darkened this. Much easier, and I like the effect it has on the trees.
Here's a cropped image from a different shoot which I happened to edit both with Aftershot pro and Capture One. I've created the individual results without referring to the other image, so there will be differences in tone and contrast. The photo processed in Capture one does however feel sharper, with individual bits of flour better visible and more pronounced.
Okay, one bit of pixel peeping - here's a 100% crop of a picture from another shoot. The left image was taken from my original edit using Aftershot. In the right image I've tried recreating that effect. Just compare the sharpness and fidelity of both...
Questions? Remarks? Feel free to post them here and I'll see if I can provide an answer :)
Ork is een fotograaf uit Utrecht. Hij vond zijn passie in fotografie van mensen, zowel tijdens evenementen of juist in de studio. Ork staat bekend om zijn gedreven aanpak, waarbij hij open staat voor innovatieve ideeën die zowel het model als de fotograaf verder brengen in het maken van de perfecte foto.