Capture One Mobile Efficient Workflow

One of the most popular posts on this site covers the topic of how to use Capture One with a simple and efficient workflow. It’s now been viewed more than 100,000 times and has garnered the most positive feedback. It also spawned a great thread on

Recently, on a weekend trip to Tokyo, I had to minimize my carry-on and decided to leave the MacBook Air M2 at home and instead took only the iPad. I still however had a duty to produce finished images to share with my friends travelling with me. 

Therefore, I decided to take the plunge and finally gave Capture One Mobile a fair shake. I was surprised at how easy and seamless the experience was and so I’d like to share a step-by-step guide with you in the hopes that it encourages you to give it a try as well.

The below guide is based on using an 11” 4th generation iPad Pro, Sony A7R5 and GFX100 II. Capture One Mobile is rapidly iterating, so this guide is based on Capture One for iPad 2.3.5. Newer versions may have changed features or user interface elements.

Ingesting Images

This was perhaps the area that I thought would be the most complicated because of iOS’s cumbersome file system, however Capture One has found a way to work within its confines that’s convenient and easy. 

  1. Either use a memory card reader or in the case of the Sony A7R5, directly connect the USB-C cable to the iPad and place the camera in USB card reader mode. 
  2. Open Capture One Mobile and click the  folder icon
  3. Select the camera or memory card from the list. 
  4. Select the images you want to import and then click Import. One interface improvement Capture One can make is to allow filtering at this stage; I was not able to filter only the RAW images at ingestion and had to import both RAW and JPEG.
  5. Once the images are imported, you will see them under the Latest Import section.

Organizing Images

  1. Go to the Latest Import section.
  2. If you want to edit only RAW images, filter for RAW and any other parameters that will help you find the right images such as date filters. 
  1. Select those images and click Add to and create a New Album for those images.
  1. Please do not delete the images from the Latest Import section as this will also delete the images from the new album you just created.

Editing Images

There are three features currently missing in Capture One Mobile that I use on almost every image: 1. Layers, 2. Levels Tool, and 3. AI-Rotate/Keystone. As of the current version, we must work around these limitations or leave some editing for the desktop computer. 

The Levels Tool is easier to work around by using the Black and White tools, and rotation/keystone can be done manually, however layers is something that must be left to either Affinity Photo 2 on iOS or Capture One on the desktop. 

While on the go, we want to have quick results so “Styles” are a great way to get to an excellent result without a lot of effort. I personally use RNI Films, however Capture One has a number of compelling styles packages available for sale.

The interface of Capture One Mobile is different than the desktop, but there are some hidden gems that will help you become efficient very quickly. I’m not a fan of the default settings for the wheel; it’s counterintuitive in that turning clockwise reduces the intensity of the tool and it takes too many turns to reach the destination. 

I much prefer to use the tool itself or as Capture One calls it, “Quick Edit”. To use Quick Edit, you click on the tool and drag up or down. This will increase or decrease the intensity of that tool. To make this work even better, if you’re right-handed, you can move the tools to the right in Settings (accessible by clicking the three dots on the top-right). 

Before beginning, I suggest you confirm the following Settings:

Long-click on  magic wand and select: Exposure, High Dynamic Range

Settings > Appearance > Tools Right: On
Settings > Appearance > Shadows: On (with a low threshold of 1-3)
Settings > Gestures & Shortcuts > Gestures > Quick Edit Scroll Direction – Natural: On
Settings > Gestures & Shortcuts > Gestures > Wheel Scroll Direction – Natural: On

Suggested Image Editing Workflow

  1. Styles. Using the  Style tool, select a style that suits the image. You can also add styles you’ve purchased on the desktop to iOS by following the guide from Capture One’s website. For the images in Tokyo, I chose Film F400 under the Film & Cine Looks section.
  1. Composition. Using the  Shape tool, adjust the composition so that any further adjustments made will be accurately reflected in the histogram. Adjust the image size, rotation and keystone. 
  1. Black & White or Colour. Under the  Adjust tool, use the B&W tool to select whether you want the image to be black & white. If you turn B&W on, several additional settings will appear to adjust the intensity of the colours that influence the black & white conversion. 
  1. White Balance. Under the  Adjust tool, use the White Balance tool and either adjust the Kelvin and Tint manually, or use the  picker tool to identify the brightest, non-clipped neutral part of the image.
  1. Auto-adjust or manual adjustments. You can either use the Auto-adjust magic wand or manually make the remaining adjustments. 
  • For Auto-adjust, click the  magic wand, which if using the settings recommended above, will update exposure, highlight and shadow. I typically prefer a contrasty image and will usually dial down some of the shadows that auto-adjust implements.  
  • For manual, under the  Adjust tool, select the Exposure tool and adjust exposure, contrast, brightness and saturation, and under the HDR tool, adjust the highlight and shadow.  
  1. Refinement. I don’t typically bother with the Refine tool unless the image is going to be printed, however if the image needs it, you can further refine it by adding ClarityDehazing, or adjusting specific colours under the  Adjust tool. SharpeningNoise ReductionFilm Grain and Moire reduction can also be implemented from the  Refine tool.

That’s all there is to it. Six simple steps on a super portable iPad can get you excellent results that you can share with friends, post online, or give to a client. I will typically use the Copy Adjustments function to copy and paste the same settings to similar images.

Here’s what the example image used above looks like before and after. With some proficiency, an edit like this can be done in a few minutes. If you copy and paste adjustments, you can easily edit hundreds of similar images in minutes, and all from a super portable iPad.  

Before/After Editing


You can either export the single image by clicking on the  Share/Export button up top from the image you’re editing, or by doing them as a batch. I prefer to export as a batch so that I can grab a coffee while it churns away. I will typically export Full Scale with around 80% quality, or a 2048px long edge with around 50% quality for posting online.

Transferring images to the Desktop Workflow

This was perhaps the area that I expected things to be the most complicated, however in actuality, it turned out to be very easy. To transfer the images to your desktop workflow, you can follow these steps:

  1. Select the images that you want to transfer. Using star filters helps a lot here as I typically will use five stars for images ready for export or print.
  1. Click the  Export button.
  1. Select EIP under Format.
  1. Click Export.
  1. Select Save to Files and save it to an attached USB SSD drive, or if you have a stable Wifi connection, you can also Airdrop the files to your desktop. I prefer to save to a USB drive for speed, reliability and so that I have the option to easily move the files to my NAS and skip the desktop altogether.
  1. Create a Capture One Session on your desktop/NAS and move the files from the USB SSD to the Capture folder.
  1. Open the Session, select all the EIP files, right-click on any file and choose Unpack EIP.

That’s it. It looks like a lot of steps, but after you’ve done it one time, it will become second nature. An alternative is to use the cloud function in Capture One Mobile. You activate this by creating an album and then clicking the three dots and selecting Save to Cloud. To import those images to your desktop, you’d create a new session on the desktop and then select Import from Cloud from the File menu.

I understand that Capture One is working on a full-fledged cloud-based model that will synch the files automatically across mobile and desktop (it’s currently limited to 1,000 images and requires manual importing to transfer to the desktop workflow). However, with large images from modern high-resolution cameras, I still think the hard-wired approach above has significant speed benefits.


When I decided to take the iPad as my only photo-editing device, I expected to be severely limited in what I could do. I was however pleasantly surprised at how far Capture One Mobile has come, and I understand that the team is working hard to bring it forward even more in 2024. 

Therefore, I think Capture One Mobile deserves a good, hard look by its desktop fans. You may also be pleasantly surprised at how capable it has become. I haven’t even talked about the tethering capabilities which is a whole other world of amazing, but that’s a topic for another day.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or share any advice on better approaches to efficiently using Capture One Mobile.     

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