The Layers Tool in Capture One should be sitting at the very top of your "master it" list. If you have experience in photo editing with Photoshop, you will not need any special training here, as the Layers Tool in Capture One works in a very similar way. Layers and masks combine together in a powerful, yet super easy to use system. In Capture One you can perform localized adjustments of exposure, luminosity and color.

The power of this "layers & masks" combo lies in pixel-perfect masks that can be created with dedicated tools. So you can start with generic linear or radial Gradient masks or you can paint the mask with the Brush tool, supported by the Auto Mask feature. The initial selection can be next fine tuned with the Refine Mask tool. If you are working on an image that contains color contrast - you can create with a few clicks super precise mask based on selected color range.

Having all these fantastic tools at your disposal allows you to adjust your images in a truly seamless way resulting in harmonious, natural looking results. The devil is in the detail - the difference between professionally edited photos and amateur edits is quickly recognized as impactful & natural vs fake looking & overdone. Watch my video on Capture One 20 Local Adjustments with Layers below and improve your photo editing skills.

Light is Photography

One of my favourite advanced photo editing techniques are Luminosity Masks. I took my time to wrap my head around it in Photoshop, but once I knew how to do it well, I used the Luminosity Masking in every image I considered to be worthwhile. That's why I was happy to see Capture One introducing Luma Masks tool. The feature complements nicely the other tools I have described above.

Now beside freely painting a selection, or creating it from a specific color range, a mask can be created from a selected luminosity range. Plus - it can be fine tuned after, as the tool's adjustments are not "baked in" . Since we are working in a non destructive way, we are basically operating with numeric adjustments that are sitting in a database as a text file, without touching any single pixel. I am an artist, I do not care about numbers and algorithms, what matters to me is the beauty that lies in flexibility and simplicity of the tool. 

Luma Mask - selection indicated with the red overlay includes whites and bright highlights.
Luma Mask - selection indicated with the red overlay includes whites and bright highlights.

Mix it as You Like

So we have robust dedicated tools, including the famous Color Editor that could stand as an application on its own. All the color, luminosity, detail adjustments can be performed independently on layers, which simplifies complex editing workflows and makes them easy to replicate. Personally I love experimenting with new ideas in Capture One - I can try anything that comes to my head in a fast & fun way.

If my creative idea works - great, it gets saved as a Style or a Preset and can be reapplied with a single click to another image. If it doesn't work - it gets ditched, but I don't leave my desk tired and frustrated, because all the trial and error exercise takes me typically up to half an hour.

Stay in the Flow

In fact, well designed workflow encourages inventing new things, looking at photos from a fresh angle. We all know well the "burnout" state, where nothing seems to work and there is no energy for artistic experiments. Part of my solution are quality tools that always perform and Capture One definitely counts in.

We artists tend to be passion driven and chaotic at times and that is exactly why having simple, effective tool setup can make or break the process of bringing to life our creative ideas.



How about throwing a new look at your favourite portraits? Have fun, download the free sample from my "FEEL" Style pack and play around! I am curious to see your results, so if you are happy with what you see please drop me an email and I may share your artwork at DAC blog.

  • FL-01 - Jose
  • FL-02 - Olga
  • FL-03 - Angela

If you need help with installing the Styles - watch this short video by Capture One here.

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