After 6+ Months with Capture One, I’m Coming Back to Lightroom

Around the beginning of this year, I decided to switch to Capture One, and I loved it. But after 6+ months I am coming back to Lightroom.

If you have been reading the internet for the last year or two you would be hard-pressed not to notice the uptick in photographers unhappy with Adobe Lightroom and it’s nearly constant performance issues. Unsurprisingly, this also is when we started to really see a rise in photographers denouncing Lightroom in favor of PhaseOne’s Capture One Pro; a longtime favorite of professional retouchers that hadn’t really caught on with the masses.

I was intrigued by Capture One and had seen the sheer power that it provided. So I decided to give it a solid chance. I completely removed Lightroom from my system and have been utilizing Capture One ever since. The changeover was tough at first; I had grown to know Lightroom like the back of my hand, so utilizing Capture One’s different layout took time. But after I got the hang of it, and with the help of some excellent ‘styles’ from RNI, I was able to get into a nice rhythm that I was looking forward to using into the foreseeable future.

But Adobe has done a lot of work on Lightroom in the last year, and they have made a ton of improvements to performance and features over the last 6 months, including improved color controls, picture profiles, and finally, the ability to sync presets between the Desktop and the mobile applications. It was all enough that I reinstalled Lightroom in the last week to see if I needed to come back to the program that really helped me develop as a photographer.

It only took a few days and my mind was made up; Capture One still provides an overall better post-processing experience in terms of manipulating colors and such, but Lightroom has improved in ways that are intangible to me. Lightroom’s improved color profiles and color controls, combined with my more advanced perspective on color manipulation (thanks to Capture One) are now plenty good enough for me that I don’t need Capture One anymore.

I always liked Lightroom’s Catalog System and interface better than Capture One, so I am glad to be able to use it again without feeling like I am missing out. But if I am honest, the reason…the real reason that I am reimplementing Lightroom as my primary post-production processor is the preset syncing that Adobe launched in the latest update.

I like to be more mobile when I am processing, I want to move from my desk to my bed to my couch, and with Capture One, I could really only do that with my laptop. But given how I have my data storage setup, most of my image library was only accessible to the laptop when I had it plugged into my RAID array on my desktop. Which meant that I was spending more time at my desk than I would like.

Enter my iPad Pro and Lightroom CC. I would play with images on my iPad Pro and Lightroom CC in the past, but it was never an optimal solution. There were weird workarounds needed in order to get presets working and it suffered from the lack of the healing brush. But as you all know (or should by now), the latest Adobe updates brought both the healing brush and presets to Lightroom CC. So I can now sync a set of images that I want to work on with Lightroom CC on my laptop, and then grab my iPad Pro (with the Apple Pencil) and do the majority of my image processing from wherever I feel comfortable (with the edits automatically synced to my laptop).

This is basically the dreamland version of Lightroom that Adobe started selling to us back when they first introduced Lightroom Mobile. It has never really lived up to its potential, and honestly, it still doesn’t. But it is to a point now that I feel comfortable enough, both with the performance and with the capability, to utilize the Lightroom ecosystem this way.

So yes, after 6+ months with Capture One I am heading back to Adobe Lightroom and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.