As an event photographer, I’m constantly on the move, both around and between venues, and that means I bring home thousands of images, a selection of which will need particular attention during the editing process. In order to organise them in a comprehensive manner and into appropriate albums, sessions and folders, I rely on Capture One.
However, whenever I find myself in a situation whereby particular elements of a photograph require a deep dive, my weapon of choice is always Affinity Photo. In this article, I’ll go through how I make a round trip from one app to the other and explain why these are my two apps of choice.
Organisation is key when it comes to event photography, and there are a number of choices for photographers (including some emerging AI-based culling packages) that allow you to get started with developing your images digitally.
I choose Capture One as it works on the basis of Sessions, whereby I specify each by name and event type. Additionally, for the most part the app allows me to pre-edit my photos with styles I’ve put together over a number of years for specific scenarios (think LUTs applied on images but as a batch on a big number of images simultaneously). But when I come across a situation whereby I need more from the software and its tools, I look to Affinity Photo 2. It has just the right tools I need to finalise my editing with before I bring the images back to Capture One for batch exporting.
Let’s jump into the process of making the round trip between the two apps and cover some of the tips I’d recommend to follow.
After the initial culling and selecting process, I start with the basic adjustments to the file, which can be seen in its RAW format below. The idea at the wedding photo shoot for this particular photo of the bride was that we remove the groom from it and leave the veil floating in mid-air. This is an ideal situation where I’d use Affinity Photo’s excellent Inpainting Brush Tool.
In Capture One, I’ve converted the image to monochrome and then crushed shadows and blacks to create a more contrasting scene. At the same time, I’ve paid attention to the highlights as I didn’t want to clip them, which would otherwise have a deteriorating effect on the final print. When done, it’s time to edit this image further in Affinity Photo 2. This is done by right-clicking on the image in the browser (on the right) and selecting Edit with>Affinity Photo 2.
With the variant image ported to Affinity Photo 2, I start with creating a new Pixel Layer. Next, on the left toolbar, I select the Inpainting Brush Tool.
I then paint on the unwanted object using the tool allowing for the edges to stretch out somewhat. Again, this is for sampling purposes.
The effect achieved by using the Inpainting Brush Tool in Affinity Photo 2 is greatly superior to what I’ve found while using any other app’s Healing or Cloning tools. Furthermore, any fixes to problem areas can be easily re-applied.
“The effect achieved by using the Inpainting Brush Tool in Affinity Photo 2 is greatly superior to what I’ve found while using any other app’s Healing or Cloning tools.”
Now that I’m happy with the image, I can port it back to Capture One. To do so, from the top menu I select File>Save and make sure to select the Save with layers option on the pop-up window.
Back in Capture One, the TIFF image with changes applied is ready for either further editing or exporting with the batch of other images. The final image can be seen below.
Other tools I often use when switching to Affinity Photo 2 in my workflow are Blur filters. While I can, to some extent, use the Clarity setting and masking in Capture One, I find that Affinity Photo 2 gives me full creative control over the fine-tuning of any effect I want to achieve.
The effect I’m after for this image is Tilt Shift blur (often used to mimic scenes to appear smaller than they usually are in Landscape photography, say). I use it to bring the viewer’s attention closer to the subject I photograph. Let’s have a look at how this is done.
After making some basic adjustments in Capture One and moving the file using the points from the first example above, I start by duplicating the Background layer. Next, I navigate to the top Menu where I find Filters>Blur>Depth Of Field Blur. I usually work with the Radius and Vibrance sliders only, leaving Clarity at 0. These adjustments are always made by eye as every photograph is different, so there is no formula for a perfect number set here. Feel free to experiment with the settings and observe the effect previewing in real-time—yet another great feature I love in Affinity Photo 2.
I think the image looks great, but I feel I could bring the attention to the couple further. To do this, I’ll apply a vignette. I start with the Curves adjustment and pull the line on the graph down around the midtones area whilst observing the edges of the photograph becoming darker. I’m not worried about the couple being less lit at this stage, as this will be fixed in the next step.
I then navigate to the Brushes panel and select a Soft Round Brush, which I will use in black colour on the Curves layer to paint and hide the darkening effect of the adjustment and thus revealing more light onto the couple in the centre.
When I’m happy with the adjustments, I click Apply and save the file to be able to open it back again in Capture One. As an extra step, I also save the project file as an .afphoto file in case I need to jump into it again in the future. Here’s the final output with the Tilt Shift and the vignette effect applied.
The above are just a couple of examples of how two of my favourite photo editing apps work in tandem and what can be achieved with them. Now more than ever, with the new features and power available at our fingertips, I can’t wait to use them more and explore new ways of working whilst delivering results my clients will love and cherish for years to come.