Importing Images into a Session

Find out how to import images from your card reader, connected camera, flash disk or portable external drive.

Overview of importing in a Session

Importing images into a Session involves a similar workflow to that of Catalogs. However, with Sessions the Import dialog is used solely for importing from external media such as memory cards, external disks and a connected camera when that is not being used for tethered capture.

Although there’s no difference between a tethered Session and a regular Session, the importer is not used when tethering. Capture One will detect and recognize a supported camera model upon connection and the Camera inspector will be enabled to control, capture and manage storage. 

If your camera is a supported model, however, and you want only to connect it to import images from it instead, you can deselect the relevant Provider (i.e., maker) option in the preferences. This will temporarily disable the tethering function until you decide otherwise. For more information on the subject, see Tethered Capture.

When a memory card is detected in a card reader or camera, the importer may open automatically. The setting that controls that can also be found in the preferences. Note that you can only import images from a connected camera’s memory card if it supports the Mass storage protocol. Not all cameras support this feature, but some Nikon models do as an example.

Whatever the source the importer adds (i.e., copies) images into the Session’s Capture sub-folder when left to the defaults. Naturally, the Import dialog allows you to select both the source and the destination.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the importer to Sessions (and Catalog) users, particularly for those that are time-pressured and working with a high volume of images, is the ability to automate the organization of images into sub-folders by their metadata. By adopting Capture One’s location tokens the importer can automatically sort images into dynamically named sub-folders. If you want to organize imported images by vertical and horizontal orientation, for example, simply select the Orientation token in the Sub Folder field and every imported image will be sorted into two sub-folders, named Landscape and Portrait. For more information on tokens, see Using Tokens in Dialogs.

When you regularly use sub-folders to manage complex shoots over the day, however, it may be better to set up fixed sub-folders in advance and save them as a template, which you can use for each new Session.

It isn’t recommended to use the importer to access images on a local or external drive, like a Catalog. Doing so will copy the images and you will thus end up having duplicates of them. As the Library in a Session works like a regular file browser using the importer isn’t always crucial either, like it is in a Catalog. You can drag and drop images into system folders instead using the Finder or Explorer instead. If the Session is open already, you’ll see the images populate the Browser.

The import dialog can also be used to offer a quick back-up to an external drive, add copyright data and include a caption. Capture One will not alter image file names when left to the default setting, but you can rename then using text or tokens or a combination of the two. Like the location tokens, naming tokens automatically create text directly from the image metadata, saving you time on repetitive jobs.

It can also be used to apply groups of image adjustments with Styles or individual adjustments with Presets, which can be as diverse as your IPTC metadata for contact, content details, a complex set of keywords, or a simple +1 exposure compensation.

Finally, if you’re a retoucher importing a set of EIP files and you’re using the Import dialog, remember to add a check-mark to Include Existing Adjustments. If not, none of the accompanying files (adjustments, variants, ICC and LCC profiles, etc.) will be enabled and you’ll see the file as captured with just the default settings applied.

Importing images from external media

Capture One’s importer dialog allows you to import all the images from a memory card, connected camera, flash disk or portable external drive, or you can import selected images instead. Note that you can only import images from a connected camera’s memory card if it supports the Mass storage protocol. Not all cameras support this feature, but some Nikon models do as an example.

Although you can choose to store source images on a dedicated external drive, when working in a Session, it is best to store them on your local disk first, then move them off when you’ve finished with all of the adjustments and edits.

  1. Open the importer by choosing one of the following options:
    • From the main menu choose File > Import Images...
    • Click on the Import icon in the Toolbar.
    • Drag a volume or folder of images into the Capture One image browser.
    • Connect your card reader to your computer.
  2. The Import Images dialog (i.e., the importer) opens. When a card reader has been connected or when a folder has been dragged into the Capture One image browser, the contents of that folder are displayed as thumbnails in the importer’s browser.
  3. If the importer’s browser isn’t displaying your images, go to the Import From tool, click on the Source fly-out menu, select Choose Folder... and navigate to the relevant folder you want to import. Make sure that the Include Subfolders check box is selected in the Import From tool. This option is useful for locating all the images on a memory card.
  4. Enable Exclude Duplicates to prevent duplication of images already imported into your current Session.               
  5. When you want to select specific images to import, adopt the usual shift-click to select contiguous images, or Cmd+click (Mac), Ctrl+click (Windows) to select individual images. When you want to reset the image selection, click on the background between thumbnails.
  6. From the Destination fly-out, select the Capture Folder. This option is the standard folder to import files to when using Sessions. It maintains the standard Sessions structure of Capture, Selects, Output and Trash subfolders.
  7. In the optional Sub Folder field, add a subfolder or a series of hierarchical subfolders. Select this only if you want to organize the imported images into subfolders within the parent Capture Folder. (See below for more information.)        
  8. From the Sample Path field, verify the path is pointing to the chosen folder for import.        
  9. In the Space Left field, verify the capacity left on the volume or drive is enough to store the new images.
  10. Select options for backing-up, naming images, copyright and adjustments as desired. (For more detailed information, see below.)
  11. Press Import All or Import X Images for selected images, if no further options are required. (Note you can always add adjustments later, of course, and easily add copyright info and rename files.)

Excluding duplicates

Capture One can determine if a source image or a movie file is a duplicate of another already in the Session. This feature is particularly useful when importing from memory cards that haven’t been erased or formatted between use. Previously imported images remaining on the card can now be excluded from the import process, thereby preventing unnecessary duplication. After enabling the feature in the importer dialog window, images are individually scanned in the importer’s browser prior to import. Images that match key metadata in the Session database are removed from the importer’s browser and excluded from the import. 

If you bypass the import dialog and use the drag-and-drop method to import files directly into a Session sub-folder, then Capture One can’t recognize potential duplicates. Capture One also can’t identify duplicate images when file extensions have been modified. Note that, if the option to pack RAW files as EIP on import is altered frequently (from the application preferences), there is the possibility that images may be duplicated if reimported at a later date. When importing an adjusted image with the settings file (e.g., when copying images from a folder that have already been worked on in Capture One) into a Session and the Include Existing Adjustments option is enabled in the importer, the image is considered a duplicate.

  1. Open the import dialog window.
  2. In the Import From panel, select Exclude Duplicates. This option can be left enabled for future use.

Creating an additional folder structure

When you created a new Session you will have already generated a Session folder with a series of sub-folders - Capture, Selects, Output and Trash. However, the importer offers the option to create additional sub-folders, as simple or as complex as your needs dictate.

In addition, you can combine this with Capture One’s dynamic locations feature. By leveraging Capture One’s database access to the image metadata, the importer’s Location Sub Folder Tokens enable it to automatically create, organize and name folders of images when downloading.

By adopting just one token, for example the Orientation token, you can use the feature to organize images into portrait and landscape sub-folders of the parent Capture folder. However, you can use the two features together to create and organize images into just about any folder structure. You can also save these folders as user presets and switch between them, as and when you need.

The Location Sub Folder Tokens are also available in the Export dialog, so you can semi-automate the naming and organizing of folders when it is time to share a selection of images.

When the Import To Sub Folder field contains only text or the Import Date token, Capture One will automatically create a Session Favorite in the Library to aid subsequent navigation. If any other tokens are used that may result in files being stored in separate sub-folders, an Album will be created instead.

  1. Open the importer and, from the Source fly-out menu, select the images to import.
  2. In the Import To tool, click on the Destination fly-out menu and select from one of the following options:
    • Capture Folder - this option is the standard folder to import files to when using Sessions. Select this when you want to further segregate images in this folder.
    • Session Folder - this is the highest folder in the session hierarchy. Choose this option when you want to customize the standard session structure (i.e., using the Sub Folder option below will add another parent folder initially, however hierarchical sub-folders can also be created).
    • Selected Folder - a previously created folder, selected in the Library tool. Choose this option, for example, when importing images into a previously customized session.
    • Choose Folder... - use this option to navigate to a new folder, such as an existing folder hierarchy in an image library, or a folder on an external drive, and click Set as Import Folder. Note, recently used folders appear as shortcuts.
  3. To verify the folder location, click on the adjacent arrow. A warning icon may be displayed instead if a valid folder has not already been selected in the Library.
  4. To create a single sub-folder within the folder selected above, add a descriptive name in the Sub Folder text field, then move to step 8.
  5. To create and organize images in multiple sub-folders based on metadata, click on the () icon next to the Sub Folder text field to open the Location Sub Folder Tokens dialog and select the appropriate tokens available in the list. 
  6. Text and tokens may be used together in the Sub Folder text field or the dialog’s Format text box and saved as a user preset. (Click on Save User Preset…. Add a name and select Save.)
  7. When creating hierarchical sub-folders, add a forward/backward slash (Mac/Windows) without spaces in between each new folder name or token used. Each forward/backward slash adds a sub-folder to the preceding text entry or token.
  8. When using the Location Sub Folder Tokens dialog, click OK in to accept the naming/folder structure format.
  9. In the Sample Path field, verify the path is pointing to the chosen folder for import.
  10. Continue with options for backing-up, file-naming, copyright and adjustments, as desired.

Backing up images on import

A simultaneous copy of the imported images can be made from the Backup To tool in the importer. For example, importing images from a memory card can be downloaded (i.e. copied) to the Pictures/My Pictures (Mac/Windows) folder on your laptop, and simultaneously backed up (i.e., copied again) to a connected portable external drive.

Warning! While this is a useful option for a temporary backup, it should not replace your principal backup strategy.

  1. In the Backup To dialog, select the Backup Enabled option.
  2. From the Location fly-out menu, choose Select folder… and navigate to your chosen location, such as an external drive, ideally, and select either an existing folder or create and name a new folder from the dialog.
  3. Images will be duplicated to the selected backup folder on import.

Naming images on import

When left to the default setting Capture One will leave the original file names unchanged. However, you can rename the images using text or tokens, or any combination of the two. There is a wide range of naming tokens available, organized by type for easy reference, and there are a number of built-in presets for commonly used naming conventions. You can easily create your own presets as well. For more information on naming and renaming, see File Naming.

  1. Go to the Naming dialog.
  2. In the Format field, verify previous image naming entries (Capture One adopts the last used, and this may not be relevant now). To maintain the original image file names only, verify that the Image Name token is in place.
  3. To rename images, add text or combination of text and tokens in the Format field. (If you know the token names already, start typing in the Format field to reveal a list and select the relevant name.) Alternatively, click on the adjacent action button (... icon) to choose from the range of tokens. The Naming Format dialog window opens.
  4. Select the desired naming choice by dragging or double-clicking on the tokens in the flat list, or select from the organized Group list, or a built-in combination from the Presets fly-out menu. Any combination of text and tokens can be saved as a user preset.
  5. When the Job Name token is selected, the Job Name field in the Naming tool becomes active. Use this option to add a relevant name, such as a job reference or name, your name, or the company name, for example.
  6. Click OK to accept the changes. The Naming Format dialog closes and adds the chosen combination to the Naming tool's Format field.
  7. Add relevant text in the Job Name field, see step 5.
  8. In the Sample field, verify that name is in the desired format.
  9. After pressing Import or Import All, any changes made will be applied to the images as they're imported.

Adding copyright and a description on import

Use the Metadata tool to fill in copyright information and a description or caption, if desired. The tool remembers data, so adding copyright information doesn’t have to be re-entered for each import. You can leave the two fields blank if you’re unsure how the images will be used, as both can be added after import.

Adding adjustments on import

You can add image adjustments when importing. Although it is limited to the automatic adjustments found in the main toolbar, you can also apply Styles and Presets which can be extensively customized for your particular workflow. For example, you can use this feature to apply keywords or IPTC metadata, such as copyright and rights usage terms, if they’ve been saved previously as a User Style or Preset.

When importing images that have been worked on previously in Capture One, the Include Existing Adjustments option should be selected so that any previously made adjustments and settings can be applied. It can be left permanently selected, just in case.

  1. In the Adjustments tool, check mark the Auto Adjust option to apply on import the automatic adjustments selected from the Toolbar. (Note this option may slow down the import process.)
  2. Presets and/or styles can also be applied to images during import. Select the relevant options from the Styles fly-out menu.
  3. Select the Include Existing Adjustments check box if you are importing files that have already been worked on in Capture One. This option imports and applies all adjustments and settings (i.e., ratings, keywords, copyright info., and any other metadata) associated with each image file.
  4. Selected adjustments will be applied on import.

Importing quickly

The Library tool in a Session works like a typical file browser enabling you to view images when opening folders, unlike the Library tool in a Catalog, which requires the use of the importer before being able to do so. Therefore, when you want to import images quickly without fuss, simply drag and drop the files into the Session’s Capture sub-folder from another Finder or Explorer window. When doing so from a memory card or an external drive, images are copied. When the images are in a local folder, they are moved.

  1. Navigate to a folder of images on your system, either local or external such as a memory card. When importing images from a memory card or an external drive, images are copied. When the folder is local, images are moved.
  2. Open the folder and select the images.
  3. Drag and drop the images into the open Session’s Capture sub-folder in the Finder or Explorer window. The Session’s Browser populates with images.    
  4. Images are now ready for sorting and editing.