The majority of the contents in this guide apply to both StudioPlus Spectra AND myStratus Desktop.
In most cases, instructions referring to "Spectra" also apply to myStratus Desktop.


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Group Capture

NOTE: This feature is available in the Professional and Enterprise versions of both Spectra and myStratus Desktop.

The purpose of the Group Capture feature is to rapidly associate images with your database and then process those images, saving you countless hours of manual processing. The feature is designed to be used when shooting a large number of people, such as at a school, dance, or other organization. However, the feature can also be used when shooting just one client at a time.

Group Capture Overview

Group Capture is only available when your camera is tethered to your computer. When using Group Capture, you have three options for associating captured images with your data:

  1. Find an existing session using the Session Search feature. Perhaps sessions were created using the Bulk Scheduling feature. See also: Bulk Scheduling

  2. Find an existing client using the Client Search feature. The software will automatically create the session record for you. Perhaps clients were created using the Client Import Wizard. See also: Importing Clients

  3. Enter a new client’s basic information, like name and address, and the software will automatically create the client and session records for you on-the-fly.

The Group Capture utility is designed to automate many tasks during the shooting process, including:

  • Immediately preview images as they are shot.

  • Delete bad images you don’t want.

  • Copy the hi-res or raw files to the appropriate image folder.

  • Rename the image files.

  • Create JPG previews of the hi-res images for sales presentations.

  • Add metadata keywords to the images.

Many of these tasks are completed behind the scenes, without you ever seeing it! Group Capture is a very powerful tool that allows you to automate much of your digital workflow, saving you countless hours of manual labor.

Using Group Capture

Step 1 - Start Group Capture

Use one of the following options to start the Group Capture utility:

  • Select Group Capture from the Spectra Tools menu.
  • Or, from the Workflow hub, click Group Capture on the ribbon.

  • Or, open a specific session and click Group Capture on the Action tab of the ribbon. With this option, Group Capture will be launched with this specific session already selected.

Step 2 - Choose Import Options

When you first start Group Capture, you will be prompted to set up your Import Options. To return to the Import Options page later, click Menu in the upper-right corner of the Group Capture window and then select Options.

  1. Hot Folder Tab - Choose the following:

    • Source Folder - Select the folder where the camera will save the images. The Group Capture utility does not interface directly with your camera. Rather, you will need to tether your camera to your computer and open your camera software. In your camera software you can select the folder where you want your images saved. Select this same folder in the Import Options Source Folder field. You can choose to Include Subfolders if your camera software creates subfolders. You can also choose to Overwrite files with the same name. Otherwise, you will get a warning message if Group Capture encounters a duplicate file.

    • Defaults for New Sessions - Set any defaults for new sessions. If you have not already created session records for the clients you will be capturing, you will need to set these defaults. If you use the Client Search or New Client options, it will use these defaults to create the new session: Date, Type, Status, Photographer, Organization, and Graduation Year.

    • Final Action Items - Choose actions to be taken once the session has been captured. You can choose Automatically Advance Session Status.


    The Group Capture feature requires session numbers to be assigned to sessions at the time of booking. If you use Group Capture to create new session records, go to Maintenance > Preferences > Company (Studio) Preferences > Sessions and select the option to assign the session number at the time of booking.

  3. Copy Images Tab - Choose the following:

    • Copy To - If you are shooting hi-res JPG, choose the "Hi-Res" folder. If you're shooting Raw, choose the "Raw" folder. If you're shooting Raw + JPG, choose both folders and set the file extensions for each in the Only Copy Files with extension box.

    • Rename Options - If you want the images to be renamed when they are copied, choose the Rename All Copies option. Then set the Renumber Copies Starting at box to the starting number. If you want an image prefix, select the Prefix image name with session number box.

Spectra is not a raw conversion software. If you're capturing only raw images, the software will create a JPEG preview of the image, but it may not be properly white balanced or color corrected.
  1. Create Previews Tab - Use this tab to set the options for any JPG previews (used for the sales presentation). If you choose not to create previews, Group Capture will only copy the images. You will then need to manually create preview files.
    • Resize Images - We strongly recommend you choose to resize your preview images. For sales presentations, set the pixel count to 1000-1200, depending on the screen resolution and size of your sales presentation monitor.

    • JPEG Compression - Set the Quality to 80-100 and DPI to 72. The only time you should increase the DPI higher than 72 is when you want to print higher quality proof or contact sheets from the software. In that case do not increase the DPI above 150.

    • Defaults - Set the default Crop if you want the software to pre-crop the preview files. In this case it will center the crop on the image, but the crop can be changed in Digital Workflow or Sales Presentation. By selecting the Auto Rotate Images option, the software will use the camera settings to determine if images should be rotated. Your camera should then be set to auto-rotate when capturing.

    • Adjustments - Choose a preset to apply to each image preview. See also: Adjusting Images in Spectra and myStratus

  1. Metadata Tab - Select options on this tab if you want to add metadata keywords to the images as they are captured. The metadata is only added to the preview file's keyword property. There are a number of pre-set values, such as Photographer, Assistant, Session Type, Organization, and Graduation Year.

    You can also create your own properties. Click Edit List to edit your metadata options. Then click Add New Category to create a new category. Click on the new item and type in the name. Then click Add New Item to create the keywords for this category. The categories can either allow multiple items, or be set to allow just one by setting the Allow Multi Select option appropriately.

  2. Click OK to save the Import Options.

Step 3 - Select a Session

Next, you'll need to select the session you want to associate your first batch of images with. If you have already selected a session by launching Group Capture from an open session, you don't need to search. Otherwise, go to Session Search to search by session, Client Search to search by existing client, or New Client to create a new client (and session). You can also scan a Spectra client or session bar code to automatically select the appropriate session.

  • Session Search - Search by session number, session date, session status, client's last name (enter their entire last name), organization, or graduation year. Click Search to find the records. Then double-click the desired session to select it.

  • Client Search - Search by client number, first name, last name, organization, or graduation year. Click Search to find the records. Then double-click the desired client to select it. Once the client has been selected, the software will automatically create a session based on your Import Option defaults.

  • New Client - If the client has not been entered into the software, you can enter them now. Include first name, last name, address, home phone, and email. Click Save. A client and a session will be created based on your Import Option defaults.

Once you've selected the session, the client's information will appear in the Current Client Information area. The session is now ready to be captured.

Step 4 - Capture Images

You are now ready to begin capturing images.

  • As you begin shooting, images will appear on the left side of the Group Capture page. You will see a thumbnail for each image captured image. A green status bar beneath an image shows that the image is being processed (copied, renamed, preview being created, etc.).

  • Each image will appear in the center of the Group Capture screen as it is being captured. Click on a different thumbnail at any time to move that one to the center.

  • Select a thumbnail and click Delete in the upper-left corner if you do not want to keep an image. Note: Deleting the image will delete all copies of this image permanently.

  • When finished capturing images for a client/session, complete the processing by clicking Done or by selecting another record.

Additional  Options

Under the Menu in the upper-right corner of the Group Capture page, you have a number of other options.

  1. View Client - Open the client for the currently selected session.

  2. View Session - Open the currently selected session.

  3. Print - Print the client and session information for the currently selected session.

  4. Close Group Capture - Exit Group Capture.

See also

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