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Not really so DAM mysterious! Capture One Workflow #1's picture
September 2, 2015 - 8:39pm

C1is different from Aperture - here is one way to deal with it.

Camera to PC

  • Take the photographs - obviously ;-)
  • remove card from camera - (C1 will want to Tether if you try to connect your camera directly to your PC) - connect card reader to PC with C1 already running.
  • A new window will pop up titled Import Images. You can also click on the downward pointing arrow icon(top left) to start the Import process.
  • Side Panel lets you set where to IMPORT TO - Choose Folder (e,g, external HD) I am choosing to make my files Referenced rather than stored within C1 on my PC itself. This will be space effective. 
  • Click Import all - or select only the thumbs that you want. (e.g. you may have 50 older images still on your camera card that have already been uploaded. C1 does not know to prevent duplicate uploads).


  • It should really be called Db-DAM. The Digital Assets to be Managed (photos) are going to be Referenced in a DataBase but not the image files themselves.
  • The images have been stored on our external HD and the Import window has closed. So where are the images?
  • Still in the LIBRARY tab, go down to Folders. Listed there are the folders on the external HD that contain the RAW files.
  • Select the appropriate folder, and watch the thumbnails show up. Now get to work on improving the image.

Moving Stuff Around

  • If you unplug your external HD an icon will indicate that the RAW files ore offline. You can still edit the images in C1. You are actually working on the Preview images but the adjustments are being written to the C1 database.
  • Now you may need the originals on your PC (as opposed to lugging around an external drive). With your image thumbnails in view, click on the LIBRARY tab. Right under Folders, you will see Catelog. Currently, there are no images in the Catelog since they are all on the external HD. Select the Thumbnails you need and Drag them onto the Catelog heading. (No you can not drag the folder, just the thumbs!)
  • Notice that Catelog now has a number after it indicating the number of images you dragged there, and the thumbs have disappeared from the current window. If you click on Catelog, you will once again see the images therein.
  • Once back in the shop, you can drag the thumbs from the Catelog and put them back on your external HD. Keep in mind, all the adjustments have been recorded in the Database and the Database is keeping track of where the RAW are currently living.

Overall Setup

  • By using an External Hard Drive to keep my RAW files, I have virtually unlimited storage available. My PC just has to keep track of where the images are and what adjustments have been made via the C1 engine. Additionally, I can keep a huge library of images (Online and Offline) at my fingertips without their bulk of bytes actually being on the PC.
  • C1 also allows you to make User Collections to sort your photos. For example, some of my Scenic photos have really interesting sky and cloud formations. So I can drag my thumbnail into the Sky collection AND the Scenic collection to make it easy to find these particular shots. The images themselves are not duplicated. The use of Key-wording is not very convenient in C1, but the ability to sort into User Collections can be really useful.
  • Similarly, you can create Smart Albums that automatically hold 3 star rated images, or red dot images. There are a bunch of criteria you can customise.
  • Since these collections will only span a single Catelog, some thought should be given to what photos are in the Catelog. By using Referenced setup (using external HD) you can keep a ton of images handy in your Catelog without maxing out your PC’s storage drive.

Hard Drives Will Fail !!!

  • It is just a matter of time. Drives go sour!
  • Back up your drives to other drives.
  • So Drive 1 craps out - no chance of recovering data!
  • Plug in Drive 2 (the backup). Go down to the Folders where the Offline symbol is showing. Right click on the line and select from the drop down menu “Locate„,” C1 will re-find your files in the new location and all is well.
  • Also remember to backup your C1 Catelog file - the database - on a regular basis. If you totally lose the Catelog file, all your adjustments etc. will be gone, but you will still have your RAW files on other drives.
  • Give some thought to using good, meaningful names for your file folders. We are no longer restricted to 8 dot 3 naming (yah I’m an old fart). 
  • One suggestion for dates in file folder name is YYYYMMDD_subject. This means you can always sort by yearmonthday and your file system will keep things in chronological order.


  • It took me a while to get comfortable with the C1 DAM, but it now makes sense to me. Experiment with a small sample of your work until you can be sure that precious stuff does not get lost! Import a few non-critical images, move them around, see how the program reacts.
  • Then get on with making great images.
  • BTW - PhaseOne has some excellent tutorials online that cover this subject very well. Sometimes, you just have to read another version before it all comes clear. Hope this works for you.

Bill Booth

GD Rothenberg's picture
by GD Rothenberg
March 15, 2016 - 7:31pm

Great article!  I’m pondering a move to C1 but have a couple of newby questions.  I’m thinking of going from Aperture’s managed to C1 referenced.  When you advise choosing good , meaningful names for file folders you lost me.  If you start a referenced library do you create folders and subfolders by date/topic, or do you simply throw all the images into a folder?  In other words, if I come back from a vacation with a memory card full of images do I create a folder with a name like ”France-2016-03” and then transfer the images into it?  If so, I presume that means you have a separate folder for each import, labeled by date and event.  Second question: if you do referenced C1 can you still view those images in Aperture without undue effort?  Many thanks


GD Rothenberg

MikeA's picture
by MikeA
March 15, 2016 - 7:59pm

Let me answer that, since I have been down that exact road you are looking at right now.

I had (still have) an Aperture library which was in fully managed mode for 10 years running. Before I moved to C1, I moved all my images out of the Aperture managed library into a referenced folder structure by using the “Relocate Masters” function inside Aperture. The single reason for this was that I don’t trust, that Aperture 3.6 will run forever without any issues in future OS X versions, so I wanted to take advantage of this useful feature as long as it was available to me.

Aperture moved all my RAW files into a folder structure which was basically set up like this:

Aperture Masters > Year (of shooting) > Month (of shooting)

The Aperture library itself remained untouched and works just like before, it just refers now to the masters outside its own package file.

Next step was to import this whole structure into C1 using the build in Aperture-Importer. C1 reads the Aperture library with all the folders, metadata etc. and connects the master files from the new folders and puts it all into a new catalog. The “Aperture Masters” folder then has been switched to “read only” in the finder, because no new images will be put into it.

For my new work going forward I set up a new folder called “Capture One Masters”. All my new images from the day of migration forward are going into this folder as referenced files. C1 could also go the “managed” route like Aperture did, but from my experience, the whole application and the database are still a little buggy and have issues from time to time, so I don’t - yet - trust the application to manage my files like I did with Aperture.

In C1 I have set up an Import preset which will mirror the exact same folder structure inside this new folder, meaning all RAW’s are automatically put by C1 into Capture One Masters > Year > Month (by reading the EXIF dates from the files). It basically works the same way like in Aperture all those years: I put in my CF card into the card reader, hit the Importer button in C1 and it is all taken care of.

I don’t believe in using anything else besides simple EXIF dates in setting up folders, because everything else (content, projects, client names, event names etc.) should be set up as metadata inside your DAM database, whatever that may be.

GD Rothenberg's picture
by GD Rothenberg
March 15, 2016 - 8:35pm

Great and very helpful response.  One or two followups.  You said the original Aperture managed Library is untouched and works like it did before.  Does that mean you have effectively doubled the space required to store your images since you have moved copies of the Raws to a referenced library?

By background, I have roughly 200 GB of photos and am unlikely to grow that by more than 20-30GBs/year.  I have plenty of unused internal HD space in my 1 TB computer.  Can I/should I reference files on my internal HD? I invariably read that people have referenced files on external HDs.  I understand they choose to do so because of their large libraries.  But is that required?  (Note:  I back up all my files to Time Machine, Back 
Blaze and an external hard drive.)

GD Rothenberg

MikeA's picture
by MikeA
March 15, 2016 - 9:03pm

To your first question: no, this has not doubled the space, because the “Relocate masters” function does exactly that: it relocates (moves) the RAW files to a new location on your HD, it does not copy them. So after this exercise, my Aperture library shrunk roughly by the same amount the new folders grew in size, because it now only holds the metadata, database, previews etc. and not the originals anymore. It was a 420 Gig library before that, btw.

To your second question: sooner or later you will have to move them anyway to an external location, because at some point your internal HD will become too full and OS X will slow down as a result. All it takes is a shiny new camera body which takes RAW files which are much larger than the one you are shooting with right now. So you could continue using your internal HD, but I would really think about an external HD. It also spreads the risk of HD failure. If your internal drive goes down, you would loose everything at once (OS X, your catalog and the masters) and recovering that from a backup could be a monster nailbiting job. Even when I used Aperture, I always had the library on a separate SATA drive (I have a Mac Pro) and had just OS X and applications on my internal SSD. Right now I also have the C1 catalog on the SSD, because it performs better this way.'s picture
March 15, 2016 - 9:30pm

Further to MikeA’s reply, the whole idea is to have a Folder or Folders full of RAW images, preferably on an external HDD (Hard Disk Drive). C1 then REFERS to the RAW files and makes “improvements” - exposure, saturation, masks etc. These adjustments are recorded in the C1 database - the RAW files are not altered. When you try C1, the first thing you need to do is IMPORT the RAW files you want to adjust in C1. This IMPORT does not move the files, it just refers to them.

So far I have found the results with C1 are excellent, better than our beloved Aperture. Additionally, I am using AffinityPhoto for stuff that would previously been handled with Photoshop. C1 provides for “round-tripping” with AffinityPhoto. 

As usual with a new program, you need to start small, play around, and use images that you can live without if you accidentily screw up! Go play!

Bill Booth

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