I started using Capture One a little over 8 months ago after seeing articles about the raw photo editing program frequently pop up in my social feeds. Since then I’ve only used it more and more.
For some reason, I was under the impression that Capture One Pro was only useful for studio and high production commercial photo shoots when I first downloaded it. While that may be the case for some, I’ve really enjoyed using it for my travel photos too!
In this article I am going to share some of the processes that help me edit travel photos. I’ll go over things like: adding contrast and saturation, balanced light, enhancing details, lighting/exposure adjustments, and more.
With most of my photos, travel or otherwise, I like to start my editing workflow by balancing the light and shadows. The goal is always to get the exposure as close to perfect as possible in camera. For sunny and bright days, this is incredibly hard. You’ll need to do some editing to fix blown out highlights and super dark shadows.
The best tab for fixing these problems is the Exposure Tab and it looks like this:
If for some reason, your version of Capture One looks different and you are unable to find the exposure adjustments tab, simply navigate to Window > Workspace > Default to reset all the windows.
The Exposure Tab is where you’ll find the individual adjustments to help you fix blown out highlights and overly dark shadows. For this travel image above I will be making these edits:
- Exposure – 0
- Contrast – 8
- Brightness – 4
- Saturation – 4
Then the final edits will be made to the Highlight/Shadow sliders:
- Highlight – 35
- Shadow – 15
These numbers will be different for you. Simply adjust the sliders based on your shooting style and preferences.
Also keep in mind that contrary to Lightroom, with the highlights/shadows in Capture One Pro, you move the bars in a positive direction to reduce highlights and fade shadows. You can input negative numbers if you’d like to increase highlights and darken the shadows, but the sliders only slide right.
Adjusting the Tones
By reducing the highlights and fading the shadows, you can start to see more of the details in your photo. This is helpful because you’ll be able to see more of the subtleties of your image when adjusting the color and tone.
To start with the color adjustments, look for the Curve Tool:
This works just like the curves tool in Photoshop and allows you to adjust the tone of your image, along with the highlights and shadows at a more detailed level.
Start by bumping up the lowest point and bringing down the highest point. The lowest point is at the bottom left and the highest point is at the top right. By adjusting these, you’ll be lightening the shadows and fading the highlights.
Next, click once in the lowest bottom left square and drag a point to the upper right side of this square. This will add some darkness to the shadows and you can adjust this (up or down) based on how dark you want your shadows to be.
Then, click once in the highest top right square and drag a point to the square beneath and to the left. This will adjust your light so that you can brighten or darken the image as a whole.
By creating this curve, you are also increasing the contrast in your image and bringing some more of the color out. This is just one of many approaches you can take with the Curve in Capture One though. Spend some time playing around with the points and where you place the curve to get an effect that suits your style.
Now comes the fun part! No matter the program, adjusting the colors is always a very fun process, but it is especially enjoyable in Capture One Pro.
The reason is because the colors render so nicely! Did you notice how sharp and vibrant your RAW images look in Capture One?
To get started with your color adjustments, find the Color Balance module within the Color Tab:
There are a number of ways you can use this tab as you can probably see. The two main methods are by adjusting the Master color balance or the 3-Way color balance.
For quick or overarching color adjustments, the Master Color Balance works best.
To make more detailed adjustments and edit the Shadow, Midtone, and Highlight colors separately, the 3-Way Color Balance works best.
Sharpening Your Image
After balancing light, adjusting tones, and working with the colors, I am usually complete with my photo edit. However; for some landscape photos or portraits I like to sharpen my image too.
To sharpen your image, you’ll be adjusting the settings in both the Exposure Tab and the Details Tab. The Details tab looks like this:
The Sharpening Module is pretty self explanatory as you simply adjust the sliders based on your preferences.
If you’d like to read a more in-depth article about sharpening, check out this article on how to sharpen photos in Capture One Pro 10.
More Examples & Styles
There are a ton of cool edits and adjustments you can make to your travel photos in Capture One Pro. Here are some more examples and before/after comparisons from recent travel photos.
Don’t forget to check out all of our Capture One Styles too!
- Travel Collection Capture One Styles →
- Film Wash Capture One Styles →
- Christopher Fragapane Capture One Styles →
- View all Capture One Styles →
Hopefully this walkthrough can give you some fresh ideas on how to edit your travel photos in Capture One. If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help your out.