A Capture One Process Recipe provides an easy way to export photos from within the standard editing workflow. There is no dialog box or other step to break your editing. You can process images through one or multiple process recipes at the same time. And thanks to Capture One’s highly configurable interface you can add exporting control to any tool tab. Once you start to use them, everything else will seem clunky.
A Video Walk Through
Text is great, but a video walk through can make everything clearer. Enjoy:
The above video was shot in Capture One 11, but version 12 process recipes are unchanged.
Elements of a Capture One Process Recipe
Capture One Process Recipes are a sort of preset. Each recipe includes the output file format information and location information, as well as options for sharpening, disabling crop, include or exclude meta-data and watermarking. After using Capture One for a long while (since version 6), process recipes have become one of my favorite features. They can be simple, or so much more flexible than an export dialog box and “presets” or other RAW editors.
I create a recipe for each use of my photos. So for example, I have a Social process recipe, a Zenfolio process recipe and a master archive process recipe. Each recipe records the image format information, and destination of the exported images.
For example: My social media export produces 63% quality sRGB JPG images that are 2000px on the long edge. They get exported to a social sharing folder on my desktop.
My master archive recipe produces a 95% quality full resolution Adobe RGB JPG and puts it in a subfolder of my master archive. That sub-folder is automatically created using the name of the catalog. In my case, that works great since I use project-based catalogs. A catalog equals a project so the naming works out great.
My intention isn’t to write a users’ manual, but I think it is useful to talk about where most of the action happens for Recipes: the Basic and File tabs under the Process Recipe panel.
The Basic Tab
The Basic tab controls the output file format, and what happens after the image is finished exporting. This is where you set your file format (JPG, TIFF, PSD, PNG, etc) and set format specific parameters like quality for JPGs, bit depth for TIFF, etc. It is also were you set the size of your output.
Image formats are, well, specialized, designed for specific uses. Most people probably want JPG most of the time. It is simple, compresses for small sizes and is universally usable. It is certainly what you want for sharing images online. For that type of sharing, I generally set the quality to around 60% and use the sRGB color profile.
Control Recipe Output Size
I find that I use most are Fixed and Long Edge scaling most often, but that is me. There are seven options for different situations:
- Fixed – Scaled to a % of the original size. Use this when you want a full resolution image. Set it to 100%.
- Width – Scales the image to the exact width you specify. Height varies to maintain the aspect ratio. Useful when you what an exact width, such as for a blog post.
- Height – Scale the image to the exact height you specify. Width varies to maintain the aspect ratio.
- Dimensions – Scale the image to fit in the specified box, but rotate the box so it’s orientation matches the image first.
- Width x Height – Fit the image into a specified box. This is useful when you want the image to fit inside a specific output device, for example a UHD TV.
- Long Edge – Scale the image so the longer of the 2 edges is the exact size. The other varies to maintain aspect ratio. Used when you want to control the general overall size of an image, for example for social media sharing.
- Short Edge – Scale the image so the shorter of the 2 edges is the exact size. The other varies to maintain aspect ratio. Used when you want to control the general overall size of an image, for example for social media sharing.
With these options you can account for most situations. For example, our photo club displays competition photos on a 4K TV. I use a process recipe to export images for it using Width x Height scaling. I set the width to 3840px and the height to 2160px. The resulting image is never wider than 3840px and never taller than 2160px.
Lets get 2 things straight that a lot of people misunderstand:
- The “Resolution” (the DPI) is irrelevant unless you are specifying the size of your image in real world unit (i.e. Inches or Millimeters). If you are using pixels (px), DPI does not matter.
- Capture One will NEVER distort your image so any scaling you choose that includes 2 dimensions (Width x Height and Dimensions) will not usually result in an image of exactly that size, but an image as large as possible that fits in that box.
#1 is a very frequently misunderstood concept. I run into people that request 72DPI images, full stop, no other information. They don’t provide a height or width in inches. What they mean is a low resolution image, but 72DPI does not mean low resolution. It means a low resolution PER INCH. A bill board is low DPI because it is huge, but you print bill boards from files with a lot of pixels. Likewise, I can export an image at 1200 dpi for a 2mm by 2mm print and it will have a very low pixel count.
DPI Resolution is irrelevant unless you are working in real world units like inches or milimeters.
#2 is pretty simple. Photographers almost never want to scale their images in a way that distorts the aspect ratio. There is no way in Capture One to export a photo with a distorted aspect ratio (as far as I know). The 2 scaling methods that take 2 dimensions (Dimensions and Width x Height) are for scaling an image to fit inside a bounding box. They will not distort the image.
The File Tab
The other tab where a lot of magic happens is the File tab. You set the destination for the images exported with the process recipe. The options can be confusing at first, so lets look at them in detail.
Here is the file tab:
There are 3 fields we care about: Root Folder, Sub Name and Sub Folder. Lets start with Root Folder since it is the most universally useful.
The Root Folder
If you click on the Root Folder pull down, there are three options, plus a list of previously used folders at the top. The three always-present options are:
1. Output Location
Output location is a placeholder for directory you set in the Output Location tool panel, usually found below the Process Recipes panel. It is a way to make the output location reconfigurable on a case by case basis without editing the recipe.
The Sub Folder setting will still apply and the images will end up in whatever sub-folder of the Root Folder you specify.
2. Image Folder
Image Folder is useful if you wish to export a copy of the image to live right along side the original image (usually RAW) you are processing. Image Folder is not available if you store your images using Inside Catalog as the location. If however, you maintain a separate tree of RAW files, similar to the Lightroom way of doing it (which Capture One allows) this will park the newly exported file under the same directory as the original (inside a sub folder if you specified one).
The Sub Folder setting will still apply and the images will end up in whatever sub-folder you specify.
3. Select Folder…
You will immediately be presented a file select dialog box. You can pick any folder on your computer. If you set no other options, images you export with the recipe will end up in that folder directly. If you fill in the Sub Folder, your images will show up under the Sub Folder you set inside the Root Directory.
In the example above, I’ve used “Select Folder…” and chosen a folder called “Syndicate” on my desktop.
I’m going out of order, but Sub Folder is the next most important item here. You can specify a sub-folder for the image exported with the process recipe. Capture One will create that folder if it doesn’t exist, inside the Root Folder you specified. In the example above, the images are exported to …/Syndicate/Facebook/. I used a simple constant Sub Folder name.
But THAT’S NOT ALL. Things get powerful. See that “…” button next to the Sub Folder input? Any time you see that, you can build a “Format” using any meta-data available to the image or catalog. What do I mean?
Here is a more complicated example:
In this example, the images are exported to my Master Portfolio directory, but under a Sub Folder set up with the catalog’s name (Document Name) and the collection the image was in. That sub folder is dynamically calculated on each image as it is exported. In this case, it does not depend on the image meta-data (things like the lens used), but only the catalog meta-data.
If I’m editing a wedding inside a catalog named “2018-06-01 Brian and Sally Wedding”, and I’m exporting images from the “Reception” collection, the images will end up in a folder structure like this:
- Master Portfolio
- 2018-06-01 Brian and Sally Wedding
- Exported Image Files
- 2018-06-01 Brian and Sally Wedding
It is possible to build highly flexible directory structures automatically. A lot of things, like my social media export, don’t need that, but it is nice for things like master archive images.
The Sub Name field is a mystery for a lot of people. At first, it doesn’t seem useful. Nothing uses it directly. What is a Sub Name?
In Capture One, Sub Name is a variable that the process recipe assigns to each image it processes. You can set it on a per-recipe basis. For example, you could set the sub-name to “Facebook” or “Social Exports” or “Fred was here”. Or, you can also build a Format using any meta-data available in the catalog or image using the “…” button.
By itself, that would change anything. What uses the Sub Name? The answer is, the Output Location and Output Naming panels through the “…” buttons there. You can use the Sub Name in the Output Naming area as part of the output image name, in the Sub Folder field of the process recipe, or in the Sub Folder field of the Output Location panel.
Why would you do that? That’s up to you. Most people won’t need to, but it adds a layer of flexibility for special cases and folks with complicated workflows they want to automate.
The only thing missing from capture one process recipes is any way to set the image name. That is because image naming is not tied to the process recipes. I personally wish it was (at least optionally) but it isn’t. Instead you set the image name using the Output Naming tool panel below the recipes. The same naming is used for all recipes unless you change it.
The Output Naming panel has 2 inputs: Format and Job Name.
Format lets you specify the image name format. Using the “…” button next to it, you can build any name format you want. It can be as simple as the original image name (just use the token “Image Name”) to a job identifier and counter (select Job Name and 3 Digit Counter from the format presets) to a complex name including things like the copyright holder, lens focus length and any number of other meta-data.
Job Name is simply a variable that a format may or may not use. One of the common Output Naming Formats I use is “Job Name – 3 Digit Counter” to produce images for sharing. If your particular naming format doesn’t use Job Name, it is ignored.
In this case, note that the Sample shows that the first image exported will be “Shelter dogs are great – 011” because I’ve previously exported 10 images using a counter. Counters can be reset using the “…” button in the upper right corner of the Output Naming tool pane (next to the “?” button).
Doing the Deed – Exporting
Everything we’ve talked about so far has been preliminary. You should set up a new Capture One process recipe infrequently. Most people need 2 or 3 at most. Once the basic process recipes are set up and work, there is not much reason to mess with them.
To actually export images, select the images you want to export in the Image Browser (normally on the right hand side), check one or more process recipes to use, check your Output Naming and Output Location (if used) and then click the “Process” button at the bottom of the Process Tab.
When I click “Process”, Capture One processes each selected image through both the Social process recipe and the Digikam With Collection process recipe. You can follow the status on the progress bar next to the “Process” button, or using the Batch tool tab. You can pause, reorder, and delete individual images from the queue as needed using the Batch tool tab.
Andrew is a photography instructor teaching students of all skill levels in Austin, TX through Precision Camera and independently in San Diego, CA. He runs workshops around the United States.
He is a self taught experiential learner who is addicted to the possibilities that new (to him) gear open up. He loves to share the things he has worked out. Andrew started with a passion for landscape and night photography and quickly branched out to work in just about every form of photography. He is an ex-software developer with extensive experience in the IT realm.
Andrew is a full time wedding and commercial photographer in both Austin and San Diego. Andrew is a club founder and multi-time past president of North Austin Pfotographic Society.