Two shoots this month equals two chances to use Capture One 21 in the studio. I am impressed. Like Apple Computers it just works!

First the shoots. I've been working with Shropshire Artist Grace Currie for around six months now. I photographed her work for her graduating exhibition (She got a first class degree in Fine Art) and subsequently for her web site and social media. Her pictures are often hyper alive, vibrant with great texture and colour. I shoot these differently to the way I shoot products.

I prefer natural light with artwork so that I can capture the texture of the paint and canvas as well as render the image as faithfully as possible. I've worked with many artists and found natural light, especially in the winter is better than artificial light. It is naturally more diffused and the colours are more faithfully captured. These grey winter days are perfect.

So on with the shoot, but first the disclaimer. We are affiliated with Capture One, we've been using it for years and it continues to improve.

​This page is owned by Helter Skelter Media Ltd and is not an official Capture One website. Content on this page may contain affiliate links meaning that I earn a commission on sales generated by you using the link. 

In the Studio

This shoot was done in Grace Currie's studio. I'm going to go through the settings I used and explain why I used them.  A tour of the Capture One 21 features that stood out as essential or improved in my workflow.

I shoot tethered, connecting my Canon 5D Mk IV with Capture One 21 on my Apple Mac using a tether tools cable. In the past, this has been faintly tricky, the camera sometimes registered but was unresponsive. With Capture One 21 it connected straight away and never lost the connection. Because of the nature of the shoot, composition isn't so much of an issue, these things can be addressed in the software after the shoot. So I use Capture One to trigger the camera, knowing that the slightest vibration caused by pressing the shutter on the camera will potentially lose the fine detail of the canvas.

Settings in Capture One 21

At the time of shooting I'm only really interested in my Session Folders, my Capture Settings and my Details. I'll do another post showing the post shoot processing on a different shot.

Session Folders

Capture One 21 retains the same directory structure as the legacy versions. I create the session on a portable drive and the software creates a new directory and within it, four more: Capture, Selects, Output and Trash. Each image goes into the Capture folder as it is shot. If I put the camera into Composition mode it creates a temporary file. I use this capability a lot for still life photography such as the Tanners shoot I did before Christmas as it helps set the components and lights accurately without wasting loads of disk space, but for this type of work I go straight to shooting.

As I shoot, I immediately discard anything that's out of focus or unusable for any other reason. These shots go in the Trash folder. The keepers go in the Selects Folder. This is all done during the session, saving me time in post processing.

I use a 50mm lens set to f.8, this gives me the sharpest picture this lens, camera combination can deliver along with enough depth of field to handle the couple of millimetres depth in the subject. My priority is getting enough sharpness to see the brush strokes fade away and almost feel the texture of the painting.


Capture One 21 Details Tab

For shooting art, the Details tab is the most important. I think this has changed a little from my previous version. In Capture One 21 I can use the Navigator tab to resize my main picture so that I can see the detail from a few steps away. I can also use the Focus tab to zoom in on an area of the picture. The amount of zoom is controlled by a slider underneath the picture. Look at the texture on that canvas!

Camera Settings

In camera settings I can see my Exposure Evaluation. The histogram shows me the peaks, the green area in the scale beneath the histogram tells me my exposure is in the right zone for optimal editing. The most important field though is Next Capture Adjustments. With product photography using controlled light I use this to set the Other field to Copy From Last. This gives me the opportunity to set basic adjustments at the beginning of a session so that my entire set has the basics already done when I come to editing.

To run through the settings from the top. I've mentioned the histogram, below that the settings inform me and the camera. I can see my ISO, my Aperture and Shutter speed. The larger white button will trigger the shutter. The smaller will change the mode to video. I'm on manual focus out of force of habit, I generally use live view at the camera and adjust focus at 20x magnification.

The last setting that is of interest is Mirror Lockup - I set it because I want to completely eliminate vibration on the camera so that my images are as sharp as I can possible make them.

That pretty much sets me up to shoot. These are particular settings for a particular type of job. One where the subject is millimetres deep and never moves! I would use different settings for other types of product photography.


Capture One 21 in the studio performed flawlessly for me. In combination with my Canon 5d Mk IV I was able to get fantastic texture and contrast straight out of the camera. Look out for the next step which will take us through the post processing tasks. Spoiler alert - it will be a video! If you want to check out the feature list more fully, check out my previous article. Capture One 21 is released

I hope this article is useful. If you're a photographer and this has piqued your interest in Capture One products, then take a look. You can get a trial copy here.