Capture One colour boost

Looking for an instant boost? Try this three-step fix in Capture One

We’ve all been there. You’ve got a shot that’s fundamentally sound but lacks rich, strong colours or any kind of atmosphere. They can be tricky to fix and you can spend hours experimenting with settings that don’t seem to get you any closer – and you don’t want to resort to flashy and obvious effects filters.

Capture One Pro 11.1 review

So there’s a three-step technique that can transform these workaday images into something a whole lot more colourful. It doesn’t suit every shot, admittedly – it works best with images that have mixed light sources, or at least areas of different colours.

Capture One Colour Boost

This is my start shot. It was taken inside a cathedral where there was a mix of daylight and artificial light, and it’s this difference in lighting that I’m going to exploit.

01 Turn up the saturation

Capture One Colour Boost

The first step is very simple – I’ve pushed the Saturation slider up to maximum. In other image-editors this would be a mistake, since it would introduce all manner of artefacts and unpleasant effects, but Capture One is relatively subtle, so we can get away with it.

02 Change the white balance

Capture One Colour Boost

Next, I alter the Kelvin slider in the White Balance panel. This gives the neutral daylight a strong blue tone, but the artificial light on the right hand side stays a warm orange colour. You need to experiment with the Kelvin slider to get the best balance of colours, and it’s sometimes useful to adjust the Tint slider too, which changes the picture’s green-magenta tint.

03 Increase the contrast

Capture One Colour Boost

This is the last step. It intensifies the colours and gives the picture a little more drama. It doesn’t take much to make all the difference.

04 The finished picture

Capture One Colour Boost

This is quite a transformation compared to the original picture. The colours aren’t exactly realistic any more, but I don’t think that matters if you’ve managed to capture the mood you’re looking for.

See also

More Capture One tutorials

2 thoughts on “Looking for an instant boost? Try this three-step fix in Capture One

  1. Firstly thanks for your nice articles. I like to read your website.
    In this article I have found two mistakes in enclosed screen pictures. You wrote that you alter Kelvin slider during white balance, but on picture is changed only Tint slider from -0.1 to 7.2 and Kelvin slider has still the same value 5204. And on the last screen where you have increased contrast from 0 to 11 you have higlighted again saturation instead of contrast.

    Best regards,

  2. Firstly, if the steps you have mentioned is ‘correct’, then the final result looks quite artificial & done up…in fact the original picture was just right for the mood it had to convey, though a trifle flat according to me. Perhaps use of luminosity mask in Photoshop would have boosted the colour and the contrast in the arches and the stairs. BTW, I feel the stone stairs in the original photo has been rendered perfectly. A wee bit of contrast would have made it just right.

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