Organising & Tracking Exports in Capture One
Lightroom has, in Publish Services, a simple but very powerful tool for exporting and maintaining selections of images on remote sites. A Publish Service maintains a collection of images to be published, dividing the collection into images waiting to be published, images already published and images waiting to be removed. An image is waiting to be published if it hasn’t yet been uploaded to the site or if it’s been changed in Lightroom. An image is marked as published if the version on the server is up to date. Images are marked to be deleted by simply removing them from the Service collection. Hitting the Publish button uploads any new or modified images to the server and removes any that have been marked for delete, keeping the images on the remote server synced with the Service collection.
Publish Services, although powerful, don’t work for everything. They require that a remote server is capable of handling the data being sent to it by the Service, which many don’t, and for certain types of site – for example sites like Instagram or Twitter that don’t allow existing images to be replaced – the method simply isn’t suitable.
I like things organised and structured and it bothered me for a long time that I couldn’t easily keep track of what I’d posted to social network sites so I sat down one day and cobbled together something to make life easier. It was simple, robust and it worked very well.
Recently I switched from Lightroom to Capture One and during the process of rebuilding tools to fit around the new software I wrangled the system into Capture One. It differs in some details from the Lightroom version but the method is broadly the same. It uses keywords and smart folders to track what I want to post, what has been posted and to where.
I use the system mostly for posting to social networks; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As well as tracking what’s posted and what isn’t, it maintains a pool of candidate images that I’d like to post in the future; I can flip through a catalog, tag any images I think might be suitable. I try to post something every couple of days or so and I can browse the pool for something suitable when I do.
When I want to post any given image to a site I export it, using a recipe tailored to that site and into a folder structure I use for social posting, tag it with a keyword matching the site name – Facebook, Instagram, etc. Once exported I post the image. Sometimes I’ll post by hand but in some cases, Twitter, for example, I’ve figured out how to have Capture One hand images over to an app which does the posting automatically. I’ll talk more about that process in another post.
For each export destination I maintain a keyword, which is usually the name of the export destination, and two Smart Folders, also in a hierarchy. The keyword is used to tag images that have been exported and posted to the destination. In addition I keep another keyword that I use to tag candidate images that I’d like to export at some time in the future; a kind of pool of likely export images. The hierarchy isn’t strictly necessary but it helps keep things tidy. It also helps greatly if you want to set up categories for export types; say, social networks, blogs, clients, etc.
To get things going, first I create a keyword structure:
Keeping things tidy is the Exports parent keyword. The first thing you see under that is ‘1.Pool’. This is my candidates pool; it’s the keyword I use to tag images I that I might want to export using this system. I use a ‘1.’ prefix because the keyword list can only be displayed alphabetically and I want to keep it at the top of the list where I can easily distinguish it from the rest.
The remaining keywords are named for the sites I’m going to be posting images to. These are social networking sites but they can be pretty much any end point you like; client names, for example. Every time an image is exported to a location tag it with its matching keyword. This gives us our tracking method.
Next the smart albums. The Pool album has only one rule; it contains all images that have the ‘1.Pool’ keyword.
And then for each export destination we a group containgin two smart albums. The first will show all images in the Pool that have been posted, the second shows all images in the Pool that haven’t been posted. So two rules for each album:
Tag any images you’d like to set aside for export with the 1.Pool tag. When you export to a destination, add the appropriate keyword to the exported image and it will move from the Not Posted folder into the Posted folder. Using the Pool folder you can browse through images you’ve earlier reserved for export. Use the Posted and Not Posted folder to get a clear overview of what has and what hasn’t been exported.
Two minor niggles, and it’s largely up to Phase One to pick up the ball on these; I’m still occasionally forgeting to tag images after export and that’s annoying. If export recipes had an option to add keywords to images post export, this would go away. And, a minor thing, I’d really like to be able to set up hotkeys for tags so I don’t have to keep switchting over to the Metadata tool every time I want to mark images.
And that’s basically it. Please do ask if anything’s not clear. All suggestions very much welcome