Photography / Retouching

Is Capture One Better than Lightroom? Why I Switched

Is Capture One better than Lightroom

A big question on many photographers minds these days seems to be, “Is Capture One better than Lightroom?”

During the length of my 14 year career, Capture One has been a program often mentioned by many of my colleagues. For those who are unaware, it’s a program designed to process RAW images in a similar fashion to Adobe Lightroom.

It was a program I’d always readily dismissed. I used to think to myself, “well… I already know how to use Lightroom, surely there wouldn’t be much difference!”
So I pushed aside the thought of learning how to use another program and stuck to my regular process.

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A new industry standard?

I didn’t start to take much notice until many employers and ecommerce companies began using it as their program of choice, and it quite often became a requirement for job applications.
What if there really was a big difference between the two programs? And what if I was missing out on an opportunity to improve my photography and workflow?

So finally around a year ago now, I decided to take the leap nearly 14 years into my photography career and learn a new program. In hindsight, I can honestly say this was one of the best decisions I could have made for my work.

Below I’m going to share with you some of the reasons why I decided to switch to primarily using Capture One. Along with some points on why you may also want to make the switch as you advance in your professional career. A discount code is also available down below for all readers.

#1 – Capture One has dedicated colour profiles

This is one of my favourite features of Capture One by far.

Capture One offers unique colour profiles for many different camera models. This means the colours will be closer to what you see on your camera’s screen. One of the main aspects I noticed when using Capture One for the first time, was that my RAW images looked more vibrant straight out of camera. When comparing the images between Lightroom and Capture One, it was obvious that there was a noticeable difference.
One of the main downfalls with Lightroom is it’s colour profiles, and I’ve personally struggled when using them.

Down below you can see the difference between images processed with Lightroom vs processed with Capture One.

Notice how the skin tones look flatter and duller in the images processed with Lightroom. The images processed with Capture One retain highlights and vibrancy better. There is also a lot more depth and detail displayed within the skin tones.

#2 – Colour grading & skin colour correction

Another favourite feature of mine is Capture One’s abilities for colour grading. I feel that this program offers so much more with colour grading in a way that Lightroom unfortunately does not.

Not only does it have an entire panel dedicated to colour manipulation, it also has an option for skin colour correction. (Which is a complete winner for me and all the beauty photographers out there!)

The colour grading tabs are simple and easy to use, and they still really allow for a good amount of experimentation. I rarely feel the need to colour grade in Photoshop now, the bulk of my colour grading and skin colour correction is done with ease in Capture One.

#3 – Tethering is a breeze in Capture One!

This point actually really sold me on Capture One in the first place.
For a while I had been using Lightroom to tether on my beauty tests and client shoots, and if I’m being honest… it was a complete nightmare!

On too many occasions to count, I had tried tethering particularly on client shoots only to have Lightroom fail in the process. This in turn forced my camera to disconnect multiple times. So embarrasing! (This was also after purchasing a new top of the line laptop and tethering cord.)

For a long time I thought something had to be wrong with my other equipment, so I often wondered, “is my camera the problem?” “Or is it my laptop?”
I even began to think that the cheap tethering cord I had first purchased must’ve been the issue. So I upgraded it immediately, but to no avail.

When I started using Capture One to tether, I finally realised the issue all along had been Lightroom. The first time I used Capture One to tether, it was absolutely seamless. It was SO quick and efficient, and I didn’t have a single hiccup along the way. Rest assured I’ll be using Capture One to tether from now on. (Especially on client shoots!)

#4 – Layers

Another thing I LOVE about this program, is the option to use layers for your adjustments. This feature alone makes so many editing and skin retouching techniques possible that I would have otherwise needed Photoshop for.

I’ve found using layers in Capture One to be easy enough. I would highly recommend to try this program if you prefer to use a single application to process images. (Without needing to use both Lightroom and Photoshop simultaneously.)

#5 – More payment options!

A very sore point for a lot of Adobe users is the fact that it only offers a subscription model.

$15 a month may not sound like a lot of money to some people. However for a lot of struggling artists and freelance photographers out there, it can really put pressure on the bank account over time. Gone are the days when you could own the Adobe suite outright.

The wonderful thing about Capture One is that it offers a subscription OR a license purchase. (So you can actually own the program!)
The only downside to this is that you won’t automatically own future updated versions of Capture One. However it’s a great option as many photographers would prefer to pay upfront without the added monthly /yearly cost.

#6 – 30 Day free trial available

For photographers who are interested in trialling the program, there is a generous 30 day trial available. (Whereas Adobe only offers a measly 7 day free trial!)
So if you’re really keen to give the program a try, you can sign up via the link below for a completely free 30 day trial.

Discount code available below!

If you’re considering purchasing Capture One, be sure to use my affiliate discount code below for 10% OFF!

Use code: JUNE10 & click the button below to purchase.

So there you have it, 6 reasons why I switched from using Lightroom to now primarily using Capture One.
Admittedly at times I often still use a combination of both. Nevertheless, I find that Capture One has helped me to gain a lot more control over my work. It’s now my professional tool of choice.

So is Capture One better than Lightroom?

In conclusion, it really depends on what works for you and your business. However using Capture One is something I’d certainly recommend to help give your work a professional edge.

For more tutorials and information on Capture One, visit my YouTube Channel:


  • Enric Fradera
    October 18, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Totally agree on everything. Capture One is not only a better tool, it also saves a lot of time in Photoshop!
    One question, do you usually do the color grading before editing the skin in Photoshop?, or do you use a roundtrip workflow to edit the color in Capture One after editing the skin in Photoshop?

    Thank you and congratulations on your work

    • Kayleigh June
      October 27, 2021 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks Enric! And I agree, it absolutely saves time. πŸ™‚
      I’ve actually begun doing the majority of colour grading in Capture One first, then migrating images into Photoshop for skin retouching. That way I find I can get the best quality out of my images from the start of post-processing. πŸ™‚


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