WHY CAPTURE ONE IS BETTER THAN LIGHTROOM BUT I STILL USE BOTH
This article is not designed to be a combative, clickbait, style piece. The photography community love a “this VS this” article but frankly, most of the time, that’s just not helpful. Instead, I want to explain why I, as a professional still life photographer, love Capture One, prefer it by far, but still use Lightroom. In my workflow, there’s definitely room for both programs.
WHY DO I PREFER CAPTURE ONE TO LIGHTROOM?
I want to get straight into this but before I do, I want to be upfront and let you know I am a Capture One affiliate. This is a recent thing and I am honoured to have been accepted onto their affiliate program. This does not affect my opinion on this subject at all but thought you guys should know. If you decide to purchase Capture One be sure to use the code AMBSM for 10% off.
If you don’t already know about me and my photography, I think it’s important to understand as it frames this entire discussion. No matter what photography tool or software you choose, that choice should be based upon our own shooting style and requirements. With that in mind, I’m a professional still life photographer based in London. I am primarily studio based and I shoot anything from still life advertising photography to Packshots for e-commerce purposes. You can find my work here and below you can see a recent shot I completed for Stones Gin.
I don’t think there’s much use in delving really deeply into why I like each program, dissecting every element. Most photographers have a decent understanding of RAW editors so I prefer to be more succinct. These are the main reasons I love Capture One; ability to customise the user interface, features for shooting tethered in the studio, extra adjustments possible compared to Lightroom, live view.
There are lots of other features I love about Capture One but those are the biggest. People often talk about the amazing colour in Capture One, which don’t get me wrong, is great, but it’s not a big deal to me. As a still life photographer, I tend to manually colour match my photos to ensure products are represented accurately. If you’re a photographer who shoots thousands of images (wedding or sports photographers for example) this may be more important to you.
My list of reasons for Lightroom is much shorter but it’s still extremely valuable to my workflow. I use Lightroom to manage and catalogue my images, that’s called a DAM (Digital Asset Management), and it’s perfectly suited for that purpose. I tried doing this with Capture One years ago when I first switched but I always preferred using Lightroom. These days, this is all I use Lightroom for. In the past, Lightroom was my primary RAW editor but when I began shooting tethered in almost all of my shoots, Capture One became very attractive.
This is a rough outline of my current workflow; start job and shoot tethered into a Capture One session, make adjustments in Capture One in preparation for Photoshop, export images to Photoshop for retouching, back up final images and RAW selects to Lightroom Portfolio, archive Capture One session (delete after 6-12 months).
CAPTURE ONE IS BETTER FOR STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS
As I mentioned at the top of this article, what works for me, may not work for you. As a Still Life photographer, Capture One is perfect and far superior to Lightroom. However, if I were shooting weddings or high-volume photography then I can absolutely make an argument for using Lightroom. If that were my style of photography then, personally, I would still use Capture One but I don’t think the difference between the two programs would be as obvious.
For most professional commercial photographers, like myself, Capture One is the better program. In most commercial scenarios, you’re shooting tethered and have a team of people, including your client, working together to produce the final image. The features which Capture One has for shooting tethered, using Live view, organising your images as you shoot and so on, far exceed Lightroom. For that reason, I can only recommend Capture One to commercial photographers.
In the following two videos from my Capture One tutorial series, I cover the Library Tab, Capture Tab, and Live view. I think the benefits of Capture One for the scenarios I have described above becomes obvious when watching these.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CAPTURE ONE AND LIGHTROOM
It’s tough for me not to sound one sided here as Capture One is such an important tool for me. However, as I’ve tried to make clear, that’s for me as a commercial still life photographer. And, even though I love Capture One, I still use Lightroom as it is perfect as a DAM. For your photography and your style, you may feel differently and there is nothing wrong with that. Both programs are fantastic and it’s important for you to find what works for you and your photography.
If you’d like to learn more about Capture One, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’m creating lots of videos on using Capture One as well as Still Life Photography in general. Don’t forget, if you do decide to purchase Capture One, use the code AMBSM for 10% off.