Island Earth Creative Retouching Island Earth Creative Retouching

Sci Fi Images with a new process

I was asked to take photographs and provide edited images for Steve Oram’s publicity materials. Steve is a Science Fiction author who works with scientists and future-tech people to write short stories that creates debate about future potentials. He wrote a book called Quantum Confessions that was launched at the King and Queen pub, Foley Street, Fitzrovia in West London. You can learn more about Steve and view his musings at or visit his Twitter feed @OramStephen.

The photographs have been created using my newly improved workflow. I recently changed my post production workflow from Adobe’s Lightroom / Photoshop to Capture One Pro / Photoshop. Which may not mean a lot to most people but for those who are interested the following is a brief explanation and an overview of the workflow.

Adobe now has a subscription based system to use their latest software, so Photographers get Photoshop and Lightroom, weirdly you get two versions of Lightroom one that syncs the images to their 2gb cloud so you always have access to your images independent of your device. The other is based on the last paid version CS6 called Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. So, which do you use? First of all I should explain Lightroom is basically a catalogue for images that have been imported from a camra or supplied images on a hard drive that has basic editing capabilities mainly for colour, levels and limited masking functionality. The idea is you then take your images in to Photoshop for more complex edits such as cut-outs and composition.

I initially tried the cloud version but realised that I have more than 2gb of images and you obviously have to pay more for the 20gb of cloud space they offer. With this in mind and the fact that I don’t really need to work this way I looked at the Classic version, which sort of worked in a way that I was used to, but I started to notice the way it processed RAW files from the camera were not brilliant especially from my Fujifilm-XPro1 camera, which led me to two options using a third party software called Irident X-Transformer to process Fujifilm files before they came in to Lightroom, which had negligible results in terms of quality or totally change over to Capture One. Capture One is a software that has a one off payment with a 30 day free trial. I thought what’s to lose!

I soon realised the way Capture One processes the image on import is much better than Lightroom, one Norwegian photographer Eivind Røhne called it “Capture One Magic”. There are quite a few similarities to Lightroom but more differences in that it is more sophisticated in the edits you can perform, for me Adobe should have made Lightroom more like Capture One. With Capture One you can push your edits further with colour grading until you need to go in to Photoshop to do specific retouching techniques beyond Capture Ones functionality. In fact I only needed to go in to Photoshop for one of Steve’s images to retouch some trailing cables and clean up the old fireplace he was sat next to.

One aspect I did like about Lightroom is the ease of cataloguing images. Capture One does it in a similar way and you can even import Lightroom catalogues. Capture One also uses Sessions where you essentially create a mini catalogue with folders with your images on a local drive for current projects and once the images have been edited and finished they are then transferred to a catalogue including adjustments for archive usually on an external drive. Once I got my head around the change in workflow it works really well, especially working on a fast SSD drive and not over the network where my catalogue of images are stored.

I did start out saying this was going to be a brief overview but it ended up being a longer article than I anticipated, however I hope you have come away with a better understanding of one approach a retoucher has to editing their images in terms of the process. Essentially for me Capture One is where the colour grading happens and Photoshop is where the serious editing of the image takes over (If you need to go that far).


Steve Oram – Reading Steve Oram – Socialising Steve Oram – Book Signing  Steve Oram – Socialising

Steve Oram – Book Signing

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