As a professional retoucher for more years than I care to mention I have used lots of different software applications to get the job done, each one has their own strengths and weaknesses and you tend to choose the ones which fit your workflow and budget best. For years I have used Adobe Lightroom for RAW processing and keywording and Photoshop for more in depth retouching. There is nothing on the market that comes close to Photoshop, it’s the daddy – done deal, but there are lots of choices when it comes to RAW conversion – most camera manufacturers provide a free version with your camera, these ones tend to be uninspiring, unintuitive and not very good.
As I mentioned earlier Lightroom has been my choice for a long time now, it’s a good all round software, with lots of great features and a companion IOS version. I have been happy using it and never had much of a reason to look at other options, until recently that is.
Lots of things I read, photographers I follow and advice I get given, made me download a trial of Capture One Pro (this software is developed by Phase One, arguably the manufacturers of the finest medium format cameras on the market) I mainly wanted to see how it handled images differently as I had heard it was the best convertor for skintones, and as I mainly shoot people this is a big consideration. After a few test and watching some of the webinars from the developers of the software I have to say, I think I am going to use Capture One Pro instead of Lightroom in future – it’s awesome, very powerful, with many features not found in other RAW convertors. I love the adjustments layers, the skintone manipulation and the base ICC profiles – they go together to produce a subtly better, but much more pleasing image than versions produced in Lightroom.
Judge for yourself the image below, the left hand side is from Lightroom and the one on the right through Capture one (both were then edited further in Photoshop)