Safe and Secure Capture One Workflow


This week we’ll talk about security. How safe and robust is your Capture One workflow? What will happen if your computer suddenly dies? Will you lose your images or Capture One settings?
I’ve prepared a five-step guide on building a fail-safe Capture One workflow that I practice in my work!

But first, I would like to remind you that there are only five days left to pre-upgrade your Capture One 21 or older license to Capture One 22 with a 28% discount!

Until November 9, you can pre-upgrade your Capture One 21 or older license to Capture One 22 with a 28% discount!
The offer is valid for Capture One Pro, Sony, Fujifilm, and Nikon perpetual licenses. 

Here is how you can get 28% OFF with pre-ordering the upgrade:

1. Order the pre-upgrade here. By default, it comes with a 20% discount. 
2. At checkout, enter this code to get an additional 10% OFF: ALEXONRAW

In total, you will get about a 28% discount! 
This is the best deal to upgrade to Capture One 22. According to Capture One, there will be no bigger discount for the upgrade before Capture One 22 release!

Capture One has already announced three new tools that will be introduced in Capture One 22:

  • HDR merging
  • Panorama stitching
  • Auto Rotate

Pre-upgrading with a 28% discount will give you access to new features right with the release of Capture One 22 without the feeling like you have missed an opportunity for some bigger deal.

Also, I have received several questions regarding the support of old macOS versions in Capture One 22. According to developers, macOS Mojave is the oldest version of macOS that will run with Capture One 22.

Note that upgrading from Capture One 20 and an older version will give no access to the current Capture One 21 version. This is a pre-upgrade to Capture One 22.

Ok, now let’s discuss the security!

Step I. Diversify image settings

First and foremost, you need to diversify image settings location.
In sessions, Capture One stores image settings in separate files. Just don’t delete the CaptureOne folder near your RAWs, and you’ll be safe.

Even if your data is somehow corrupted, you’ll lose the settings of only several last images.

A catalog stores settings in a single database; thus, catalog corruption has way higher risks.
If you use catalog workflow, I recommend you create new catalogs regularly. You can have distinct catalogs for different types of images or catalogs for different periods of time. The idea is the same – don’t store everything in a single database.

Step II. Backup everything

I hope you regularly backup your computer and external drive. If not, close this post and start doing it right now; it’s way more important than anything I can recommend here.
Still, along with general backups, it makes sense to backup your Capture One data as well.
If you work with catalogs, make sure always to back up your catalogs.

Besides catalog backups, it makes sense to duplicate your Capture One settings: workspaces, shortcuts, styles, presets, templates, and keywords.
The easiest way to access Capture One settings is:

On macOS, open Spotlight and paste this text:
~/Library/Application Support/Capture One
On Windows, click Win + R and paste this text (with your HDD name and username):

Just copy this Capture One folder somewhere, and you’ll back up all your app data.
Apart from safety reasons, you’ll find a use for these settings when you’ll need to switch your workflow quickly to a new computer.

Step III. Import images safely

Now, there are three key settings in Capture One import window:

Import to

Don’t choose the Add to Catalog option when copying from a card!
Your files will stay where they are – on the card. Format it, and you will lose all your images.

Backup to

Catalog backups contain no RAW, but you can backup your RAWs during import. If you make money with photography, I highly recommend you to backup RAWs on some external drive at this stage.

Erase images after copying

Just never ever set this checkmark. Seriously, you can always format your card later when you are sure that files had been copied correctly.

Step IV. Use variants to experiment with editing

Capture One adjustments themselves can’t destructively affect your RAWs. However, it’s pretty easy to mess up with adjustments when you experiment on some existing edit.
The rule of thumb is to always create new variants for alternative color grading. Variants occupy no space on your drive; they are virtual entities that work as snapshots for your editing.
Plus, you can always set custom shortcuts to manage variants quickly:

Step V. Archive RAW with settings

Finally, it’s crucial to preserve RAWs with the editing in your archive even if you think you’ll no longer need them.
It’s especially relevant for new photographers! With my 15+ years of photography background, I can assure you that there might be a time when you will regret that you haven’t stored these RAWs. Many years ago, I deleted some RAWs that could be perfect illustrations for my Capture One tutorials. Back then, I hadn’t thought that I would run a Capture One blog and might need these images. Learn from my mistakes, folks.


About Author

Alexander Svet – Professional photographer and photography instructor. Phase One Certified Professional and Capture One beta tester.