I starting using Aperture from Apple back in 2005 because it offered an incredible way to organize and edit your photos. Since that day, I said goodbye to my old organizational methods and haven't looked back. In 2007 Adobe introduced Lightroom which, at the time, was a replica of Apple's Aperture. However, over the years, Aperture slipped away, and Lightroom took off to become the most used photo editor and image organizer.
Since the introduction of Adobe CC in 2013, every Adobe application has become less and less stable. I can't tell you the last time I went a week without having multiple files crash and corrupt while doing something as simple as adding a curve modifier. There are countless threads loaded with complaints about Adobe's issues. Their response has been lackluster; delete your preference files or reinstall every app. I have tried both and yet still have issues every week. I vowed never to use another Adobe application after I lost a project I spent three weeks working on.
Fortunately, a company called Serif has released alternatives to Photoshop and Illustrator with an InDesign alternative coming out very soon. The only issue has been finding a better alternative to Lightroom. That is, until now. Capture One from Phase One has been around since 2002 and has only gotten better with time. Version 9.2 is out now and is leaving Lightroom in its dust.
Capture One offers unbeatable RAW image handling, incredible color editing, and even better organization than Lightroom.
RAW image handling: You would think two professional photo editing/organizing applications would handle RAW images the same, but there is a huge difference between Lightroom and Capture One. Capture One handles RAW images in a much more realistic way. The colors are much deeper and more accurate which makes editing RAW images even better since the colors are as accurate as they will ever be.
Color Editing: Capture One offers one of a kind color editing tools. You can always do basic edits like you can in Lightroom, but you can also do VERY selective color edits. Color balance allows you to add color to your overall image, shadows, midtones, and highlights. The color editor allows you to modify colors ranges, accurate colors, or general skin tones. Lastly, the black & white editor lets you selectively convert your image to black and white, but also add an overall color scheme such as sepia tone.
Organization: While the organization seems vastly familiar to Lightroom, you can organize your photos even further with albums, smart albums, groups, and projects. You can also organize by folder structure. Click my Capture One screenshot above and you'll see how I organize my photos. I use my folder structure to organize by location and my groups/projects to organize by date. When I'm looking for an image I took in Cape Cod that I don't remember the date of, I can click on my Cape Cod folder to see every photo I have ever taken there. The same can be done with smart albums, but there something about manual organization that I like better.
Oh and one last personal reason I love Capture One. When I was learning photography, I ended up with a library of over 500 presets. These presets range from color overlays to HDR-effects. While presets are a great way to play around with your images, I ended up relying on them far too often. I would find a photo I liked and then click through presets until I found one good enough to export. It made me lazy and made my photos seem less like they were mine. Capture One, with it's incredible RAW details and color editing, allows me to play with my photos in a unique and personal way. My photos mean more to me now than they ever did before and I couldn't be happier with the results.
Use Capture One? Let me know your thoughts below. For everyone else, download a demo HERE.