sessions explained

Sessions Explained

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When you start with Capture One Pro, you get the question to either use (or create) a session or a catalog. This is a choice between library types and using either one is mandatory. This tutorial blog will explain what a session is and when you might prefer it over a catalog. Please note I have a similar blog on the catalog. Get ready for Sessions Explained and leave your doubts behind!

sessions explained

Sessions Explained

Capture One has been working with sessions from day one. It stems from the time that digital backs needed a computer connected to view and store their images. Tethering was the only way to go. No memory card or LCD display where available back then. Before we jump into more detail on sessions, please note that you can browse and open your disk folder as well with a Capture One session, while leaving the session stuff behind. Read more on that under System Folders below.

sessions explained

Shoot To A Session

Imagine you have a shoot and you setup some folders on your disk beforehand. One folder named after the shoot (subject, customer, date) as parent folder, and a few subfolders for the incoming captures, the selected images, the trashed and the processed images.

To summarise, one main folder with four subfolders. The main folder has an unique and sensible name. The subfolders have a name that express their function. Got that? Than you just made a session in your head. Congrats! How do you feel?

Capture One Does It For You

With Capture One Pro you create a session by providing a unique and sensible name and click OK. You give the main folder a unique name. Capture One Pro automatically creates the subsequent subfolders in a blink of an eye. Start shooting, or import your images from a card if you like.

sessions explained

These four subfolders have the same name in each session: Capture, Selects, Output, Trash. The Capture One Library tool lists them as Session Folders.


From Folder to Function

You now understand the basics of a session: one unique main folder with four subfolders. These four subfolders have identical names in each session, as are their related function within Capture One.

Capture One places incoming images in the Capture folder, selected images in the Selects folder, processed or exported images in the Output folder, and trashed images in the Trash folder.

sessions explained

Four functions, four folders. Please note that the system trash is not used. Also note that as each session has it own set of session folders, each has its own trash folder.

System Folders

You wanna break free! Have it your own way! No problem. Especially for the I-never-use-sessions kind of guy, a session is the way to go. Contradiction? Keep on reading.

sessions explained

Open or create a session, any session will do. Next, in the Library tool browse your folders under the System Folders heading. Done.

Is Sessions Right For Me?

Working with sessions is the right way to go if you like to browse your system folders. Period. You can not do that from a catalog. Sessions are also great when you do not need Capture One to organise your collection of images. You perhaps do not need it at all or have other software for that purpose.
Be aware however, that a session works best from your local harddrive or SSD because even very brief disconnects may corrupt your session. Also for performance reasons a local drive is preferred. Since the previews and settings from Capture One are stored in a subfolder of the image folder, Capture One needs indisputable disk access. This settings-in-subfolder thing can be a reason to use session, or prefer the catalog.

Sessions Explained or Want More?

Maybe this blog got you covered. Great. Maybe you noticed that we skipped some interesting topics like Session Albums and Session Favorites, among others. These topics and more will be explained in a succeeding blog named Sessions Continued. To be continued!

Before We End

I hope you enjoyed reading the blog and will get more out of your images with Capture One Pro! Do you like the blog, and like to save 10% on Capture One Pro as well? Visit our Ambassador page for the voucher code.

Ambassador-EN-banner-rectangleNext, link directly to Phase One where you can buy Capture One Pro with the voucher code. Like to try first? Download and run a trial for 30 days. Free and fully featured!

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment. Like us on Facebook or subscribe to stay informed about new blogs and special offerings.

Best Regards,

Image Alchemist

5 replies
  1. namita
    namita says:

    Thanks for explaining what a session is. It was really helpful. I have a doubt, please help. In capture one 8 (trial), i created a session. If i right click on capture folder, it has an option.. New inside “capture folder”.. why cant i access that option.

    • Image Alchemist
      Image Alchemist says:

      Hi Namita, I assume you are on Windows. I think this is a bug. The option should allow you to create a new folder. A workaround is: right-click on Capture Folder, select ‘Show in System Folders’. From the System Folders (below in Library) you can right-click on the same folder and create a new sub folfder.

  2. Hollis Nolan
    Hollis Nolan says:

    Is there any advantage to setting the preview images to write to a separate disk than where the images are stored? Say if I had a PCIE SSD with my OS on it, and a sata SSD for mass data storage.

    • Image Alchemist
      Image Alchemist says:

      Hi Hollis,
      As far as session are concerned, there is no option to store previews in another location then in a subfolder to your image folder.
      Best, Paul Steunebrink / Image Alchemist


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