In this article, we will explore how Capture One Styles fit into a professional workflow, where you have to deliver work to clients, a website, magazine, image base or similar. If you follow different forums about post-processing, you might come across heated discussions about using Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions, or Capture One Styles. The discussion is the same no matter which editing software you might be using, as long as the editor is using presets, styles, actions or macros as a way to optimize the photo editing workflow. However, in this article, we will use Capture One Styles as an example.
The Discussion About Using Capture One Styles and Presets
Many argue that you only need to use Capture One styles if you don’t know what you are doing. These arguments are essentially stating that you are a beginner if you use styles and presets. Others argue that the styles only work for the images used to present them. However, many of the discussions forget the pressure and time constraints that many professional photographers work under. Professional photographers often need to deliver their work or selection of their best images the very same day, allowing almost no time to fiddle around with sliders in Capture One.
Genres Where Professional Photographers Can Benefit From Using C1 Styles
Let take a closer look at the day to day work of different kinds of photographers and when they might benefit from using Capture One styles in their professional workflow.
Commercial and Product Photographers and Capture One Styles
If you are a professional commercial photographer, you often work with a known client, where the look of the images might already be constrained by a brand “look” or a previous campaign you made weeks or months ago. You are required to continually deliver a consistent look that matches the brand look or the ongoing campaign’s visual identity. For instance, as a food photographer, you might need to maintain a specific look across all images used for a visual menu card.
Styles are a great way to keep delivering a coherent look to clients. Either you can use bought professional styles and modify these to match the client’s needs, or you can create your own Capture One styles from scratch.
Sports Photographers and Capture One Styles
As a professional sports photographer, you will likely know that you don’t have the luxury of a lot of time to enhance your images, once a game or sports event is finished before you need to deliver them to an editor, journalist, or image database. If competition is high and it is a popular event, it is often a race against other sports photographers to get the story and images out as fast as possible. With a set of Capture One styles that you know fits the type of sports event, you are covering you are able to deliver better quality images and still work fast.
Editorial Photographers and C1 Styles
Editorial photographers often face similar time pressure as sports photographers do, if they work on a daily published media. To get their images online or ready for an article applying a style can help you get the work done fast. Other editorial photographers are not pressed for time to the same degree, as those who have to publish their images on a daily basis. If you work for a magazine, you will likely have more time to edit the images, but magazines often have a higher level of brand awareness and a certain visual appearance, they want to pursue. In this cause, just like for commercial photographers, using either your own styles or bought Capture One styles gives you a better possibility to maintain a certain look that complies with the overall visual identity of the magazine you work for, with less work for you.
As a corporate photographer, you might have to deliver headshots of all employees to use on ID cards, employee overview or to use on their website for contact details. Besides having to use the same lighting, focal range, posing and framing, you might also want to apply a specific style, like a high key black and white style, to help make each headshot blend frameless on a white background like a webpage or printed staff list. Also if you take photos of the company environment, a more or less uniform and coherent presentation will help show the viewer that all these photos are from the same company.
As a corporate photographer, you might have to take headshots of 100 employees and deliver 30-50 great looking shots from the company environment, which can be very time consuming if you edit the photos one at a time. You can, of course, also edit one, and then copy the settings from this to the other photos in the set. However, if you are already doing this, you might as well save the settings as a style, for your own use so the next time you need to take headshot photos of employees, you will have a Capture One style that fits with your usual camera and lighting settings for that type of headshots.
Wedding Photographers and C1 Styles
Wedding photographers often face clients with very high expectations of an extraordinary result. So you need to have a set of camera settings that will never fail you. You cannot just redo the ceremony because you used the wrong settings. With a calendar full of wedding events to cover, you need to have a set of C1 styles that can help you speed up the editing workflow, so you don’t have to work more hours than calculated to edit your photos to a level that meets the bride and grooms expectations.
Browsing Capture One Styles To Find The Perfect Look
If you use styles regularly, you will likely have plenty of styles too. To avoid having to scroll through a long list of Capture One styles you will likely be fed up and give up using styles. In the ongoing discussion about using C1 styles vs. manual editing, I see complaints about the time it takes to browse through an extensive list of styles. However, if you keep your styles organized, or create a folder to hold your favorite and most used Capture One styles, you can go right to your favorite styles folder and pick the one you know works for your shooting style.
If you lack inspiration on how to edit your image or want to step out of the usual routine, you can browse through your entire collection of Capture One styles. However, there is no need to browse through all styles after every client shoots.
Create a C1 Styles and Presets Based Professional Workflow that Fits Your Deadlines
A streamlined workflow based Capture One Styles can help you to stay ahead and keep up with multiple deadlines. You don’t have to feel like you are always behind schedule. We are not stating that C1 styles can give you a one-click experience, but merely that if you use them to create your own system where you can easily pick a style that will take you 90% of the way and help you maintain a coherent look, why not do it. A key to this approach being successful for you is that you make your own system of how and when to use styles and also create some styles yourself, so the style based workflow better fit your needs.
A functional C1 style based workflow helps you to process your images the same day you take them, so you are ready for a new day with new assignments.
Should You Create Your Own or Buy Styles?
Well, the short answer is both. I believe you will get the best Capture One style workflow if you make sure that you have a set of styles that are tailored to your particular needs. But why not just make them all yourself. Sure you can, there is no problem in doing that.
How Long Does it Take to Create a Complete Set of C1 Styles That Match Your Needs?
You should test each style against several images. Even though one style will never be a great match for all images. But testing it against several images will make sure that the style is generic enough. Then you need to fine-tune and adjust the specific style to make it useful for more images. This takes a bit of time.
To get a C1 style workflow that works for you, you will need to build a collection of styles. This will take even more time. Before you are ready to really begin to work after a style based workflow on client jobs, you will have to spend a lot of hours building a decent set of styles.
What is your hourly rate? What could an extra job for these hours have brought you in extra income? By investing in a set of professional C1 styles you can earn the cost back in no time.
Creating a set of styles will most likely be based on your existing preferences for editing photos. But where is the inspiration to move out of the photo editing routine? Maybe you need the inspiration or even knowhow of which settings to use for achieving a specific look. You can get a very good starting point for a more creative version of a photo, by using C1 styles created by other professional photographers.
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Hopefully, you have discovered that the discussion about how, if all, Capture One styles fit into a professional workflow, is a bit more nuanced, than the discussion you can find in several user forums. There are a lot of photography genres, where professionals are pressed by both creative constraints or tight deadlines. And this is where C1 styles bring extra benefit in helping you get a smooth and time effective workflow. Maybe C1 styles don’t fit into your particular workflow. That’s totally OK. Then it would be a waste of money to buy a set of professional C1 styles. But for some professional photographers, it does make sense, because they save time and get inspiration from using them.