Capture One (LE) + Photoshop CS RAW Workflow
Here's the workflow that I use for capturing digital photos and
processing them into JPEG files that are suitable for creating high
quality prints, on-line viewing, and archival. For this workflow, I
use a Canon Digital Rebel, Capture One LE, and Adobe Photoshop
CS. This workflow also applies to the Nikon D50/D70 and Capture One LE.
I chose high quality JPEG's because most on-line printing services
only accept JPEG's (though the better ones also accept uncompressed
TIF's). JPEG's are also a lot smaller (~3 MB v.s. 18 MB!), and
therefore take much less time to upload and require fewer DVD's for
I work in the AdobeRGB color space and have scripts that down-convert
images to sRGB as needed for viewing on the web or sending to printing
services that only accept sRGB.
1. Shoot lots of pretty pictures in RAW mode.
I use AdobeRGB as the color space. This only
affects the default RAW processing settings and the
embedded small JPEG image. My camera is also
configured to display a histogram along with a
preview of the photo. I delete captures that are
obviously bad on the spot if time permits.
Lately, I've been shooting with FEC set to +2/3 and
EC set to +1/3 because digital image data is
recorded linerly. This puts the distribution of
data in the image where RAW processing can do the
most good. Slightly overexposed captures can be
brought back without loosing highlight detail, but
it's difficult or impossible to recover shadow
detail from underexposed captures.
2. Read the images off of the CF card(s).
I use Capture One's Media Reader to read the
captures. This starts Capture One LE and
immediately starts creating previews.
3. Start Capture One and set default preferences
(first time only).
Use capture name as default name
Include EXIF information
Banding suppression: Low
DSLR noise suppression: Medium-High
Overexposure Warning: 1.5%
Underexposure Warning: 2.5%
Show separate RGB channels in histogram
Calculate histogram based on crop
Method: Standard look
Default color saturation: 2.5%
Hide focus orientation frame automatically
Then, under Workflow->Show Color Managment Settings:
Camera Product: Canon EOS 300D (in my case)
Camera profile: Canon EOS 300D Generic
Output destination (Working Space): AdobeRGB
Web Destination: sRGB
4. Delete unusable captures.
Use the delete key to kill captures that are
obviously useless (Capture One does not actually
remove the files, just renames them to .trashed).
There seldom more than a couple of these because I
generally do this in-camera, but sometimes I miss
one or two.
5. Move substandard captures to a "soso" folder.
Create a "soso" folder under the current capture
directory, and make it the "Move to Collection."
Capture One LE moves captures to the "Move To
Collection" when I hit the backspace key while
viewing them, so setting Capture One up like this
makes editing go quickly.
To check focus, I use the Focus tab or hit
CTRL+ALT+0 to quickly zoom to 100% (pixel view). I
can then hold down the space-bar and pan the image
by grabbing it with the mouse. If the subject isn't
sharp, the capture generally goes into the trash or
"soso" folder. To get a larger view, I can hit F6
6. Tweak and "develop" the remaining images.
a. Set the "Develop To" folder
Click on the "Develop" tab and select "Always
process images to associated image folder".
While you're there, set "File format" to TIF
"Bit Depth" to "16 Bit", and "Color Management
workflow" to "Convert to Destination".
b. Set Exposure Response cure.
For virtually all captures, I prefer the "Film
high contrast" exposure curve over "Film
standard", which is the default. Film standard
looks washed out compared to in-camera JPEG's.
Set the first image to "Film high contrast" and
apply that change to all of the other captures.
If an image has too much contrast, I can always
switch back to "Film standard" or "Film extra
c. Tweak the black/white levels and the curve.
If the low or high end of the histogram indicates
no significant content, slide the endpoints just
short of clipping the shadows and highlights.
A related technique is to adjust the digital
exposure compensation (EC) and contrast (CC)
sliders. Depending on how extreme the changes
are, it may be necessary to compensate for lost
saturation (or excessive saturation) using the
"Color saturation" slider.
d. Correct white balance, if necessary.
If I have a shot of my WhiBal card taken in the
same light as the subject, I'll white balance off
of the light grey card and apply the settings to
the captures that were created in the same light.
Otherwise I tweak color temperature and tonal
balance only if they are clearly off. My monitor
is calibrated with a Gretag Mcbeth Eye One
Display 2, which helps to get predictable color.
e. Tweak focus, only if necessary.
In my preferences, I've set the default focus to
"Standard Look", Amount = 34, Threshold = 3.
This seems to work fine (no over-sharpening
artifacts) for most images, but occasionally it's
necessary to reduce (to eliminate over-sharpening
"halos") or increase (compensate for slightly
soft focus) the Amount. Capture One sets the
dSLR noice reduction based on the image content,
so I seldom have to adjust that.
f. Hit the "Insert" key to add the capture to the
develop queue, and immediately go back to step
a. for the next image. Captures are converted
to 300 dpi 16-bit AdobeRGB TIF's.
g. When I've put the last image into the develop
queue, I select all captures and archive the
captures settings. By doing this, I can open the
RAW files in Capture One on another computer and
import all of my adjustments.
7. Re-order the captures for final culling in PSCS.
I use the PSCS browser to group similar captures
together or otherwise adjust the order of the
captures so that they best tell the story or
communicate the idea that I'm trying to convey. I
then remove captures that don't add anything new
(perhaps keeping a few for B&W conversions). If I
made any changes to the order, I use the PSCS
browser to rename all of the captures so that the
order will stick once they are published to the web
or sent off for printing, etc.
8. Final editing of TIF's with PSCS.
I do image tweaking or special effects as necessary
(cropping, convert to toned B&W, vignette, lighting
effects, retouching, sharpening, etc.) in PSCS. If
I think that I will return to the image to do more
tweaking, I'll save it as a PSD; however, most of
the time I just flatten the image and save as a TIF.
9. Batch convert TIF's to JPG's.
TIF's to AdobeRGB JPG's. It also creates a "web"
subdirectory in which it stores (roughly) 720x480
sRGB versions of the captures.
10. Publish the collection to the web.
Gallery remote makes it easy to create a new gallery
album (or sub-album). I just upload the
websized versions of my captures that were
created by my script to save time.
11. Archive the images onto my FreeBSD fileserver.
To complete the life-cycle, I move the complete
contents of my working captures folder to my FreeBSD
box and then rename it to describe the event. The
final path looks something like this:
I have a script that I run on the server that
does the following:
- renames CRW_* to img_*
- moves raw files and Capture One settings to
a "raws" subdir
- removes all .trashed files and the Develops subdir
- fixes permissions.
Another script copies all of the images to a second
hard disk for backup.
Finally, I burn the capture directory to a DVD. The
FreeBSD software that I'm using (growisofs) allows
me to add new directories to the DVD (without
fixating it) until it's full.
12. Pop the CF card back into the camera and re-format.
Got to be ready for the next photo opportunity!
We take sRGB converted JPG'S to Walgreens for 4x6
proofs. For final prints, we upload AdobeRGB JPG's to
Mpix. They do excellent work.
If I just need one or two prints, I use Qimage to
spool to our Epson R1800 printer using Epson's
premium color profiles. I mostly use Premium Glossy
Photo or Premium Luster paper.
- I'm running the ""Wasia" Russian Firmware Hack on my Digital
Rebel to gain access to FEC settings and to embed a
small, low quality JPG rather than the default medium
JPG in my RAW captures. I may try the Undutchable firmware
to gain RAW shooting in the dummy modes.