The New Capture One Live Shows Early Promise, Except These 2 Things

After an early beta release last summer, Capture One has finally unveiled its new collaboration tool. Capture One Live is a new option built into the editing software that allows photographers to share images with a team. Unlike similar options from competitors, the tool also works with tethering, allowing photographers to share live shoots. But, many Capture One users will likely be dismayed to hear that it comes with a time limit and an additional cost.

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Officially released on Feb. 1, Capture One Live includes several major features:

  • Images can be shared in real time, or after the shoot.
  • Collaborators can view the images from any web browser or any device. (Capture One is also working on an iPad app.)
  • Collaborators are also able to rate and use color tags.
  • Live Sessions are shared with a link and are live for seven days, unless ended early.
  • Available in both Catalogs and Sessions from a toolbar icon on the upper left. 
  • Changes are applied in Capture One in real time, or updated once Capture One is open again.
  • The system can host up to 25 collaborators at one time per shoot.

My portrait clients rarely choose their images for printing within a week.

From the start, Capture One Live does things a bit differently than Lightroom’s Group Albums by integrating tethered shoots. By sharing a tethered session, Capture One users can share with team members without waiting for the shoot to end. Where Lightroom’s tool allows others to edit images, Capture One Live is designed more for the culling processes, allowing other team members to rate but not edit an image. But, while the tool launches with unique features right out the gate, there are two big stipulations that will likely limit the number and type of photographers Live.

A Short Deadline

Capture One Live albums will only be live for seven days. If more time is needed, the images need to be re-shared for another seven days. This is bound to be a hassle for long-term projects, requiring a manual renewal to get more time. My portrait clients rarely choose their images for printing within a week. But, I don’t think that’s who the feature is really for, at least not as it stands. The limitation would be less of an issue for editorial projects that are turned around on a tight deadline, as well as group culling. Since collaborators can only tag and rate images, culling is the most straightforward use of the new tool.

A Subscription Price

The second issue photographers may balk at is the price. Capture One Live is built into Capture One, but it comes at an additional cost. Live is a $9.99 a month subscription. That’s the cost of a subscription to major competitor Adobe Lightroom’s full suite of tools. While I think some photographers don’t mind paying a little more for Capture One because of different tools like layered masks and its tethering performance, adding to that cost is likely going to upset some photographers. Like the short expiration date, the cost is going to dissuade some current Capture One users from trying the latest feature. Capture One also prides itself on giving users the option of purchasing a license outright or subscribing for a monthly fee. Capture One Live has only the option for a monthly fee.

Both the cost and the limited expiration date are likely due to the fact that sharing albums will take up a lot of server resources and energy. Lightroom is already cloud-based and had that infrastructure in place before launching sharing options. Live is Capture One’s first major sharing tool and there will be upkeep costs to maintaining the network. The subscription cost is likely related to that added cost, while the expiration keeps the network from being overloaded with too many images.

If Capture One can build additional features into Live, I think more photographers will try it out. Thankfully, that appears to be the case. The company says that they are already looking to add comments and watermarking, but the goal is to take the program from shoot to delivery. “Our aim is to create the ultimate end-to-end collaboration tool, from the first shoot to the final delivery,” the company notes in the Live FAQs.

Many photographers pay for a third-party service to deliver photos online. If Capture One Live eventually builds to that potential, I think many photographers wouldn’t mind paying for the tool and ditching the probably more expensive digital delivery platform. But, for sharing images to cull with a team, the subscription price will likely limit the audience.

Capture One is giving users five free Live Sessions, so both current and new trial users can try the new tool for free.

Hillary Grigonis

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.