Colors in Capture One

Colors / Process images / Process recipe

Discover how Capture One deals with image color.


Essential information regarding colors in Capture One:

  • Capture One deals with colors in two ways: internally and for output.
  • Capture One works in a very large color space, similar to that captured by camera sensors. A large color space ensures that little clipping of the color data can occur. Clipping is the loss of image information in a region of an image. Clipping appears when one or more color values are larger than the histogram (color space of the output file).
  • At the end of the workflow, the RAW data has to be processed to pixel based image files, in defined color spaces. These spaces are smaller than the internal color space used by Capture One. When processing, some color data will be discarded. This is why it is paramount to perform color corrections and optimizations to images before processing to a smaller color space.
  • Capture One provides accurate color by reading the camera-generated RAW information, file header and settings file.
  • A RAW file is assigned a color profile once Capture One has established which camera model has been used. The RAW data is then translated to the internal working color space of Capture One and it is here that edits can be applied.
  • Image data is converted, by means of ICC profiles, to industry standard spaces such as Adobe RGB or sRGB during the processing stage.

Purpose and color spaces

Color Output Settings
Capture One Express can output to any RGB color space while Capture One PRO can also output CMYK. (It is necessary that the ICC profile is available on the local machine).

For Web
Images that are intended to be published on web sites should always be processed into the sRGB color space as few web-browsers are capable of color management and the subtleties of images will not only be lost but can also be incorrectly displayed. Images processed in larger color spaces like AdobeRGB will be displayed with less color (especially green), and are often slightly too dark when shown in browsers which only displays sRGB.

For Print
Images for print should be output to suit the requirements of the client or lab. Adobe RGB is a large color space that is capable of expressing a wider gamut of colors than sRGB. Adobe RGB is, therefore, the preferred choice for images that are likely to receive extensive processing or retouching.

Camera Profiling 
Embedding the ICC color profile into the processed file (ICC Profile>Embed Camera profile) ensures that no color changes are made to the image data, which is particularly important for creating camera profiles.

Image files that are intended to receive intensive retouching and manipulation can benefit by being processed and output in 16 bit to ProPhoto RGB, which is an even larger color space than Adobe RGB.

CMYK Color Spaces
Capture One Pro provides a selection of the most common CMYK color spaces. The photographer can convert to CMYK during processing to secure picture quality instead of applying this color space conversion in postproduction. CMYK is controlled on the Output Tool Tab.

Set a permanent color space

  1. Select View>Proof Profile.
  2. Select the desired profile or output recipe for permanent usage in the Viewer.

Note: A permanent Color Profile seen in the Viewer may produce moderately different colors than the actual output image.

The default setting displays the image in the viewer in the color space that is selected in the highlighted Process Recipe. To ensure image quality for off-set printing; highlight the CMYK process recipe and the colors are instantly converted to the color space selected in the process recipe. Perform final corrections before processing.