I was intrigued by the idea of Capture One Sessions. This looked like the perfect analogue of my concept of a project. Sessions have a capture folder, a selects folder, an output folder, and a trash folder. Great! I can create a session, import all my candidates into the capture folder, cull them by moving the ones I want to process to the selects folder, and have the output folder bound into the same folder hierarchy.

Sounds good? Not so fast.

  • Importing files into a session copies the files. Not good if you want to maintain a single source of truth.
  • Picking files moves the files into the selects folder. Also not good, it destroys my carefully-constructed file hierarchy.
  • Capture One doesn’t have a separate Pick function that just sets a flag. It actually moves files around.
  • Capture One tech support suggested that I use the original source folders as “Session Favorites”. While this solves the first problem, using their “Move to Selects Folder” option really moves the underlying file, which is a deal-breaker

Well, maybe I should try using Variants instead, which is the Capture One analogue of Lightroom Virtual Copy. Almost. The problem with Variants is that they all stay together, forever. You can’t move variants around one at a time, you can’t put different Variants in different Albums; if you add one Variant to an album, all of the Variants of that image show up also. This completely breaks isolation. If I work on different variants for different projects, any collection containing one of those variants displays all of them, so I no longer have a way of determining which variant works with which project.

Unless you’re using Smart Albums. I believe you can “split” variants between different smart albums based on color label or rating. But that’s pretty limited. What I really want is to split them based on the parent collection (which project they belong to), but the only way to do that is to assign a color or rating to a project, which puts a pretty small cap on the number of projects I can have. So this is no good either.

What we really need here is a way to assign an extra piece of metadata to each variant that we want in a project, and only to that variant. As far as I can tell, all the metadata aside from color and rating is assigned to the image itself (i.e., the raw file).

Eagle hunters in Bayan-Ölgii

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