Capture One's Clarity tool; what it can do and how to use it

Capture One Clarity
(Image credit: Paul Reiffer)

Welcome to this series on pro editing secrets for Capture One software. For this instalment, we’re taking a close look at Capture One’s Clarity tool, which can add real mid-tone contrast without pushing your shadows and highlights off the scale.

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This series on Capture One has been specially commissioned from globetrotting pro photographer and editing expert Paul Reiffer.

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  1. Classic: this is the original type of clarity that was first introduced in Capture One 5 (yes, a long time ago!). It’s one of the most subtle contrast changes, with no extreme shift in colour or saturation, but when overdone it could deliver a “cartoony” feel with halos around stronger contrast areas such as light trails against a dark background.
  2. Neutral: offers the heaviest level of contrast change, but doesn’t affect colours or saturation to any noticeable extent. It’s more forgiving than Classic on strong contrast points, and works very well when boosting architecture shots while keeping colours that are true to life.
  3. Punch: probably the most noticeable form of clarity enhancement available within Capture One, combining the heavy contrast change of Neutral but with an additional saturation increase. It can look very unrealistic if pushed too far, but has the most immediate impact out of all the styles.
  4. Natural: the culmination of many years’ worth of tweaking and improvement of all these styles, delivering a mix of mild contrast enhancements, protected highlights and a slight (perceived) boost to colours. The result is pleasing, but sometimes not quite strong enough to make enough of a difference in extreme cases.
Get Capture One Pro 22: $299 or $179/year

Get Capture One Pro 22: $299 or $179/year
Capture One Pro is available either for a single one-off license fee on a paid-monthly subscription or an annual subscription which offers a big saving over the monthly option. 

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Paul Reiffer
Professional photographer

Paul Reiffer is an award-winning photographer and landscape artist. As a global ambassador for both Phase One and Capture One, he specialises in grand vistas, electrifying cityscapes and iconic views. His images have been published all around the world in well-known books, newspapers and magazines as well as supporting global travel and hospitality brands to reach and excite their audiences. His technical expertise is regularly called upon for industry insights, and through his luxury workshop programme as well as online channels, he’s carved out a unique style of teaching that is now appreciated by thousands worldwide. Shooting with ultra-high-resolution Phase One cameras, his work is used commercially by interior designers and clients ranging from National Geographic to British Airways, Marriott, Land Rover and many more.