Quentin Décaillet is a photographer, retoucher and educator based in Switzerland. With a background in IT and a family that has always pushed him to create things, Quentin has had the chance to develop both logical and artistic skills over the years. Photography appeared as something obvious to him in 2012. In 2013, he decided to turn his love for photography and retouching into his full-time job and did not look back since. Along with his photography and retouching jobs, Quentin is also a staff writer for FStoppers.com and teaches his passions in both English and French.
When I started my photography business, I used to work with Lightroom and Photoshop. But then after a year or so, I had the opportunity to work in a studio and thus started looking for a way to shoot tethered to my computer. That’s when I found out about Capture One. It took me about ten days to get convinced I had to switch all of my editing workflows to Capture One as my primary raw processing and asset management software. You probably wonder why, as Lightroom is still the most used editing tool for wedding photographers. Well, Capture One simply made my work better and my workflow more efficient. That meant more polished images for my clients and more time for myself as well. Let’s take a look at the five areas Capture One improved the most in my work for wedding photography.
If you don’t already have Capture One Pro, you can download a 30-day trial to follow along here.
The White Balance tool is one that is found in virtually every single photo editing software. However, not all of them have equivalent features. I particularly love the one in Capture One because I can choose between four different methods of picking my White Balance. The first and most common method is through the Mode dropdown list letting me select between the various options my camera has to offer – cloudy, daylight, flash, tungsten, etc. The second one is through the Kelvin and Tint sliders for a more personalized or refined adjustment. Thirdly is the White Balance Picker which will set the White Balance automatically according to the point you dim to be unsaturated – it’s good practice to select a white point, but gray or black work just as well. This picker works well for weddings as you are most likely to have white or black in nearly all of your shots. However, be careful as most current wedding dresses and suits aren’t purely white or black. Using the picker on those may result in a slightly off-color balance. Be sure to adjust manually if needed.
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Before / After
Finally, the fourth method is the Skin Tone White Balance – which is one of the most reliable ways of color correcting the majority of your images quite easily. Another color picker is available here and lets you choose the skin tone of someone to set the White Balance. What I tend to do is create one preset for my bride and another for my groom. Then once that’s done, I’ll go over one image of each moment of the day to apply that White Balance preset on the picture, and then sync the rest of the pictures from each moment with the one adjusted. It may seem like a painful and long process said this way, but it’s quite simple. For more details on this technique be sure to read my article over on FStoppers.com here.
The Color Balance tool was introduced with Capture One 8.2 and has since become one of the staples of my workflow. Not only does it make color correction easier, but color toning as well. When shooting weddings, often you have those weird color casts on your images because of the poor lighting the DJ, organizer, or couple set up. The White Balance tool can help with this issue, but I found myself more than once not being able to go far enough with it to counterbalance the strong color cast. The Color Balance tool can help you with this issue by letting you change the color for either the whole image, or the mid-tones, highlights, and shadows independently.
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Before / After
In the shots above, you can see the images with a strong magenta cast due to the lighting of the room. However, because the lighting was changing from shot to shot, I couldn’t set the white balance manually on my camera for each image. I shot everything daylight balanced and then I relied on the automatic white balance feature of Capture One before using the Color Balance tool to correct any color that I couldn’t get right with the White Balance tool. In this example, I added Green/Yellow in the master, and then corrected the Highlights, Shadows, and Midtones individually to get the most out of my raw file. Something I couldn’t do before in Aperture or Lightroom. The Color Balance tool can be used for color toning purposes as well. In the example above it’s actually not just a correction, but a bit of toning as well. Because I wanted to keep that purple and blue look the light had, I added some blue/purple in the shadows. Just so that the skin tones look great, but the overall mood isn’t too neutral.
Speaking of skin tones, Capture One has a fantastic tool called the Color Editor with a Skin Tone tab. The latter is specifically tailored for those photographing people and that need to make the skin tone a bit more uniform. I’m not talking about smoothing the skin texture at all here, but simply giving our bride and groom a little makeup touchup. It’s not uncommon that after a few hours have passed, the couple will show some redness in some areas of their faces – kisses, wine, heat – the causes are numerous. The Skin Tone tab will help us make the skin look more uniform, and if combined with the Skin Tone White Balance tip, you may be able to keep a consistent color throughout the whole day.
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Before / After
Depending on your screen, the difference may not be quite noticeable, but once the images are printed in my albums, the result take my pictures to another level. The tiny difference it makes is what can separate you from the competition. It is also a time saver feature because I don’t have to go through Photoshop to achieve a gorgeous healthy-looking skin. Most of the time, the color change is enough that I don’t have to go into Photoshop and use more advanced techniques to make the skin look perfect.
In the past few years that I’ve been shooting weddings, I’ve had multiple clients asking me what I did with the light to get the images that I have. The truth is it’s not the light but the post-production part that gave the effect they couldn’t describe. I tend to dodge and burn areas of my images to give them more drama or facilitate their reading for the viewers. In Lightroom, it was a pain to work with local adjustments because of the way they are displayed. Working with Photoshop was too much of a hassle, and neither of them could let me do that in the convenient way Capture One does. In Capture One, my workflow is pretty straightforward. I set my white balance for each shot, then work on the exposure before applying a Style – I really love the ones Phase One recently released, especially the Cinematic and Spectrum Packs. Finally, I work with local adjustments where it’s needed. All of my adjustments, even the white balance and exposure edits, are done with Viewer Mode set to ‘Multi View’ with multiple images selected, and then I can switch to the next images with a simple keyboard shortcut.
Why work in Multi View, you may wonder. Well, first, I can compare a set of images to make sure the exposure, color, and contrast are matching so that once in the album they work together and not against each other. Then, in Capture One I can also edit the images in this mode the very same way I would if there was only a single image selected and shown in full screen. When editing weddings, I don’t need the level of precision I would require for beauty or commercial work, thus having smaller thumbnails is more than enough. It’s even better for global dodging and burning as when working in full screen, we tend to go too far. For my workflow, I’ve set custom shortcuts to create new layers, cycle through them, and add the most common edit I would do – contrast, saturation, and exposure. This way, I don’t have to go to the menus to add a new layer, make an adjustment and then brush. I start by brushing which creates a new layer, then adjust the exposure, contrast, or saturation, and once I’m done, I move to the next picture. Being able to work with the thumbnails and customize shortcuts was an absolute game changer for me! For those two reasons alone, I’m surprised most outsourcing companies still work with Lightroom.
The last point I want to touch on is the speed at which Capture One renders files. When I teach workshops, people who are not used to Phase One’s tools and equipment ask me if it can manage big files like those created by a D810 or 5Ds. If Capture One can handle the raw files from a 101-megapixel sensor without a hiccup, there is no doubt that if your computer is powerful enough, Capture One won’t have an issue! Since the releases of Capture One 9 and 10, the zooming and panning feature has also been vastly improved and the speed at which you can zoom in a 101-megapixel file is absolutely incredible. While this may seem secondary, when you have to go through hundreds if not thousands of images, it’s not. There is nothing I hate more than having to wait on my photo editing software to unfreeze or load an image because it’s not able to take advantage of my computer configuration. I want to get my editing done as quickly as possible to spend time with my loved ones and more potential customers! Who doesn’t like having more downtime or more business? All in all, Capture One is currently what I found to be the best solution for wedding editing on the market. Not only do I find it to be faster than its competitors for most tasks, but I also believe its color editing features are unmatched. For those of you who don’t believe me, try it yourself with the 30-day free trial and don’t forget to watch the numerous tutorials and webinars Phase One has available. All the educational content the Danish camera and software company has to offer will give you a head start.
Learn more about Capture One Pro here.
More learning resources here.