Synching Capture One Catalogues

09 Aug 2018 ∞

Everyone has an opinion on photo DAM systems. Some people use, the Finder, Aperture (RIP), or even Lightroom. For me it's a Capture One catalogue.

I store the catalogue bundle on my Mac Pro's internal SSD and keep the RAWs on an external drive for a balance of speed and storage space. My workflow involves importing photos, making adjustments, processing, and then importing into Photos. This works well, but I do miss out on some of the niceties of a fully cloud-based system like making adjustments away from my desk or editing photos from a trip on the couch.

Catalogue Synching

Capture One catalogues are designed to work offline, storing all of the image metadata, adjustments, and previews internally. Even if Capture One can't find the original RAW files the full suite of adjustments are available.

Synching the catalogue itself is straightforward. All you need to do is move it to your cloud file system of choice and wait for it to upload (and download).

There are two limitations to using a catalogue from multiple computers:

  1. You can't process images
  2. You have to close the catalogue before opening on another computer

RAW Files

If you store your RAW files on an external drive you can take advantage of the fact that Capture One doesn't care if the drive is physically connected to the computer or mounted as, say, a network share.

By setting up File Sharing from System Preferences you can mount the external drive and Capture One will bring the files back online.

Bonus: Remote RAW Files

If you're looking to take your library on the road there's one final step needed: remote access from outside your network.

I set up a VPN on my router to give me full network access. You could also use Back to My Mac or anything else that provides remote file system access.

One thing to bear in mind is Capture One will render new previews when you make adjustments if the RAW file is online. Unless you're on a fast connection I would leave the files offline until you need to process.