Capture One Pro has some very good localised adjustment tools. You can create gradient filter effects and paint on manual adjustments, just as you can in Lightroom, but I think Capture One Pro’s system of adjustment layers and masks works a lot better.

Capture One adjustment tools

I’m going to show how simple and effective they can be with this picture of an ornamental candle. The base of the candle is lost in shadow, so I’m going to use the Capture One adjustment tools to create a realistic-looking pool of light underneath it.

01 Local Adjustments tool tab

Capture One adjustment tools

First, select the Local Adjustments tool tab (1). This is the one with the paintbrush icon. Now click the ‘+’ button in the bottom right corner of this panel (2) to create a new adjustment layer. This will appear in the adjustment layer list (3) where you can type in a name for the new layer. I’m calling mine ‘Pool of light’.

02 Mask tools

Capture One adjustment tools

Now click the mask button (circled) to display its pop-up menu. You can paint (‘draw’) and erase masks using a freeform brush tool – so I want the ‘Draw Mask’ option here.

03 Brush options

Capture One adjustment tools

To change the brush size, hardness and opacity, click the settings button (circled) next to the mask button. This displays a pop-up brush palette which disappears as soon as you’ve made your changes.

For this adjustment, I need a large brush with maximum opacity and minimum hardness.