Color profiles in the photo. Article from the reader of Radozhiva

This article, especially for Radozhiva, has prepared Anastasia Khmelinina.

This brings up the profile settings menu in Abode PhotoShop

This brings up the profile settings menu in Abode PhotoShop


This articleor rather examples from it, prompted me to write a little material on color profiles.

As a little background, I’ll say that I’ve been an amateur photographer for more than 10 years, and only three years ago it became not just a hobby and a hobby, but the main job.

Being a printer, so to speak, I happened to see one of the most common, perhaps for someone very stupid, but incredibly common error not only among amateurs, but also among professionals.

This error is an incorrect definition of the color profile.

So, let's take the generally accepted concept of what a color profile is:

COLOR PROFILE - THIS IS A DATABASE DESCRIBING A COLOR INPUT OR OUTPUT DEVICE (MONITOR, PRINTER AND SO FURTHER).

This is the simplest and less clear definition of color profiles. That is, at the moment, the color profile is a certain standard that allows you to present data for input and output in digital and single form.

To make it even clearer: on all devices you will see the same picture in almost the same way (if you discard the nuances with matrices, calibration, etc.)

However, to place all the general technical information here, I think it makes no sense. All this is freely available.

The purpose of this article is as simple as possible to explain why you should always choose an RGB profile to work with your photos. I had this problem with the advent of a newer version of PS, when by default Adobe RGB was selected as the main profile in the program itself.

Photoshop will warn you about a profile mismatch.

Photoshop will warn you about a profile mismatch.

Unfortunately, at the time the hobby for digital photography began, this nuance slipped by, and for some reason the path “Use the built-in profile instead of the work one” was chosen.

What this has led in practice:

Sample Image

Sample Image

Sample Image

Sample Image

Frankly, it was completely not obvious to me until I had a chance to see the result on a mobile device. Since everything was cool, juicy and bright on my monitor.

By the way, this problem is difficult to detect on Apple devices, since the IPS matrix gives a very bright, albeit not so saturated color, even with the wrong color profile of the picture.

But after some time, when it became a labor activity, it became quite obvious that many people make exactly the same mistake.

The Radozhiv website for me became a map for choosing cameras, lenses, and just a training tool, but, unfortunately, I had to learn about color profiles by printing from more than a dozen frankly “green” photos. A lot of people, in a hurry to become a professional, listen to a lot of stupid tips, including the use of Adobe RGB, saying that both color is better and half-tone. This is partly true, but only where it is really needed, but in photography, even if it’s professional, it is not necessary at all.

Picking up a lens for her first Sony camera, and stumbled upon an article at the beginning, she was surprised at the comments that Sony's colors are terrible. There was experience with NEX, and this was definitely not observed there.

Having looked more closely, I can say for sure that the camera is not to blame, namely the color profile. And it doesn’t matter what brand the camera will be, the colors you get when viewing and printing will be green and pale as a forest grebe.

In the RAW converter (here it is Camera RAW) you can see in advance which profile is the main one.

In the RAW converter (here it is Camera RAW) you can see in advance which profile is the main one.

You can click on this value and set the profile used by the program:

Space choice

Space choice

As one of the clients once said: “They taught me that way in a photo school.” As a result, the person who prints such photographs (unless of course he cares about the quality of his service) changes color profiles in all photographs, and this takes more than one hour when it comes to several hundred or even thousands of photographs.

The age-old debate about the profile is very easy to solve - use RGB. In fact, this is a generally accepted standard that applies to almost all devices.

You will find more articles from readers of Radozhiva here.

Add a comment: anonym

Comments: 64, on the topic: Color profiles in photography. Article from the reader of Radozhiva

  • Coth

    We are waiting for the next article with a justification of how much force needs to be applied to push the shutter button down to the middle.
    For each color profile, its goals, the author probably does not know this, since he suggests using RGB, not even sRGB.
    Reminds a scene from the “Golden Calf”:
    - Are you a sound player? - he wrote on a piece of paper
    - Yes! - answered the deaf.
    So here: though I’m a photographer, I’m blind, I don’t see how the profile affects the color of the final product, tell me, you are a pro ...

    • Н

      99.9999 photos need to be taken in srbg, especially if you are a beginner. A parting word is useful. That no details are certainly not good.

    • anonym

      In general: the attempt counted, but the topic is not disclosed. Arguments are not enough. :)

    • Alexander

      Why juggle ...? Do you want to show yourself very smart here ... The author meant sRGB, is it really not clear that this is exactly what this is about ...? Adobe RGB (according to the statement of many “professionals” and the creators of this profile) needs to be used for printing with multi-color printers so that (according to their assurances) the colors are juicier and deeper ... In fact, the opposite is true, with AdobeRGB the colors are muted, in different programs are displayed in different ways and it’s not at all clear why it was invented if this profile is useless and all the same, everyone has been using sRGB for a long time ... Apparently the same marketing scam as many other things ...

      • SashOK

        Your koment - to the point!

      • Timur

        SRGB has the smallest color gamut, so it was chosen as universal for the network and household devices, since almost any matrix will reflect it relatively correctly. And photographic formats such as Adobe RGB, ProPhoto RGB and others have a wider coverage, which comes in handy when printing, as mentioned above, and in very rich photographs. But the problem is that not all monitors are capable of working with such profiles, and therefore without knowing it can only make it worse. So it is far from useless.

  • Valentine

    The article is important, but I would correct:
    1. Where it says use RGB, put sRGB, because Adobe RGB is also RGB, as it were.
    2. I would add about the cause of the error. An Adobe RGB profile has greater color gamut than sRGB. “More” in the eyes of a beginner means better, so they put it in the hope of seeing a better picture. In fact, using monitors and printers without Adobe RGB support, we simply lose some of the colors. Because of this, the picture looks ugly. Devices with support for Adobe RGB are used in the professional segment and are quite expensive, so a person who does not know exactly what it is should choose the sRGB profile.
    3. A link is given to the Minolta AF ZOOM 70-210mm article. It would be implied that the wrong profile was selected there. I don’t know from what facts you concluded: there can be many reasons for a dull picture. If you are not sure, it is better not to refer to the article, especially since your example in this article is convincing.
    PS sometimes have a different meaning in the “color profile” and “color space”, one could clarify.
    All in all, thanks for the work.

    • Boris

      I would also add about the mechanism for saving images in jpeg with one or another color space. Not everyone understands the essence of the transformations that occur.

  • anonym

    At the beginning of my passion for photography, I came across the same problem. It seems that in acr the colors of the norms and in Photoshop everything is fine and the output is completely different. Only then I realized that the color profiles should be set the same. By the way, photos in the AdobeRGB color space on some older devices may simply not be displayed

  • Novel

    Adobe RGB is not needed. In practice, the colors that Adobe RGB covers can only be found in clubs, laser shows, or in some kind of fierce fashion with phosphorescent paints applied to the body. Therefore, you can shoot in sRGB and process it. The now-trendy cinematic color is emulated with loots that are sharpened on the Rec709 - an even more limited color profile from the world of television. Moreover, 16 bits are almost never needed. With the exception of some very complex sky, in very contrasting images from 16 bits there is almost never any real benefit.

    • Boris

      This is not true. Adobe RGB really gives a greater color gamut even in ordinary life. It’s only important when seriously editing and printing the image on the appropriate equipment. And about 16 bits - it is also important when there is a serious processing (not only the sky - there are a lot of things where the gradient crashes at 8 bits and the correction is already 1-1,5 stops).

      • Novel

        How many serious processing and related equipment will you find among amateurs? So far, the bulk of the devices are sRGB. God forbid at least they came to 99, although cheap matrices are still under 70. You hang up the calibrator - the brightness is floating. Coverage of home printers or even typical photolabs is much less. The sense of the photo, which can be shown to the customer only on his wide gamut monitor? They are annoying techno-dreading and pixel-merit, which comments have sinned lately.

        • Boris

          As the phrase “Adobe RGB is not needed” it follows that it applies only to fans. No need to categorically assert nonsense. Wide color spaces are needed and used in professional color work. Lyulyateli do not need. So write specifically so “Adobe RGB lover does not need.”

  • Pokemon

    Some kind of lengthy and strange article that can hardly be called an article.
    It was as if a person was thinking about something when he wrote it. Or I thought one thing, I wanted the best, but in a hurry, and wrote as I wrote.
    Color and color work is a subject for a huge detailed article. First of all, it needs to be written for beginners.

    • NE

      It is rather a thought out loud ...

  • anonym

    Thanks to everyone, really sRGB.
    I would like to note right away that, yes, the note is not very informative, but it was not created with the aim of teaching something, since someone who knows why he will not be asked this or that profile in his work will be asked this question.
    Rather, this topic is raised for those who are still at the initial stage, just to warn about the inconsistency of the profiles, and the possible result. So you can lose customers, for example. There were also long-passionate people who were also mistaken, as a result of losing people at the initial stage of “building a photographer’s career”.
    I agree that many printing centers use Adobe RGB and ask people to process photos in this way before printing, but at the level of a consumer center where ordinary people print or for example wedding photographers we had enough sRGB, and despite the expensive equipment, it was all sharpened under sRGB.
    Sometimes people don’t care not only about color profiles, but also about the device’s settings, but they want everything beautifully and beautifully.
    In order not to be disappointed in photography at the initial level, this question will need to be studied. Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to convey my knowledge in such a way that it results in an article, not a couple of words.

    • Boris

      Thanks, author. You have done the right article. About negative comments - never mind, there have always been more than positive comments on this blog. And with the printing industry we have a problem - many printing centers are not corny calibrated, and even with the right color spaces and well-prepared images, the result is incomprehensible. This topic can be developed and developed ...

  • anonym

    Absolutely stupid article. How the author of the blog missed it is completely incomprehensible.
    So many letters and no justification for the topic. Sometimes it's better to chew than talk.
    We had to start with the fact that most, if not all, ordinary (read used by most ordinary people) photo labs have machines working in sRGB space. And therefore, if you bring a photo there in a different color space and even ask you not to do anything with them before printing, they will still be converted to sRGB, but without your participation and with a poorly predicted result. Everything. The practical side of the issue, which the article essentially broadcasts, is given completely in two sentences.

    • Boris

      Dear friend, please convert the gray photo from this article with the animal into sRGB space. So I brought you this photo for printing, stupidly converted to Adobe RGB. Can I see the result?

    • anonym

      If everything was the way you write, print operators would not be needed. All by itself would be magically converted, but, alas, this is unrealistic.

  • Michael

    Everything is interesting, but the profile is correctly called like sRGB, and RGB is the color space. It would be nice to fix

    • Novel

      Not quite right. RGB is a color model, not a color space. This is an additive color model representing each color as a triad of values. And now sRGB, Adobe RGB, ProPhoto RGB are the color spaces in this model with their color gamut and the unambiguous correspondence of each triad to any XYZ color.

      • Michael

        Yes, I put it wrong

  • Dmitriy

    Thanks! The information is useful to many beginners and just as a reminder. Sometimes when changing equipment it just flies out of my head to check which color space is set there by default.

  • Aries

    Only ADOBE RGB 1998 apply! the color gamut of 100% of a person’s vision, everything else is less ... not a true article.

    • zengarden

      To do this, you need, at a minimum, a well-calibrated monitor with AdobeRGB coverage for one hundred dollars of money; and then only if you are preparing materials for full color printing. Otherwise - not just useless, but stupid.

      • Aries

        anyone with a kinescope supports profiles exactly the best dell and pit - design

    • Novel

      Absolutely wrong! https://burn-media.ru/images/articles_pictures/0_2015/JULY/adobergb.jpg - this “horseshoe” in the figure is all the colors that are visible to the human eye. And two triangles are the corresponding coverage of sRGB and AdobeRGB spaces. The second captures more cyan and green, but in life these colors are not so common.

    • Artem

      aries - what will you do with photos on the site for example? present to all users with a calibrated monitor? the example in the article is still uninformative. there are examples when colors are generally seen differently. therefore, they wrote an article. for photos only sRGB. and let the pros do whatever

  • Aries

    and further!! only ADOBE 1998 SUPPORTS 48BITS ... ABOUT THIS TiFF RAW

  • Pokemon

    As an addition to the article - the color profile everywhere should be the same in the monitor settings (in the monitor itself), in fs, and in RAW converters (the same Nikon CNX), you also need to control that the same profile in the control panel on Windows.
    And probably everyone knows that the default sRGB setting in low-cost monitors (especially on TN matrices) is far from the truth. And on inexpensive laptops there are still miserable TN matrices with a resolution of 1366x768 or 1600x900, which in fact are 6-bit and photos cannot be processed on them.

  • Andrei Other

    Many letters, so many that it’s not clear.

  • SVRD

    Where is CMYK applied?

    • Michael

      Everywhere. All printing works in CMYK. There are exceptions, but this is exotic

      • anonym

        CMYK profile is only for printing (business cards, postcards, etc.) but not for photo printing.

      • Novel

        Not all. Perhaps color newspaper printing works directly with CMYK. Where there really is how much you will have in channel M, so many Magenta will sprinkle. Almost all printers and many inexpensive machines at the input receive RGB data and they themselves do not even convert it to CMYK, but to the amount of ink of each color, which must be sprinkled to get the desired color. So when you send your CMYK file for printing, Photoshop will give it to the driver as a set of RGB values.

        And CMYK itself is a color model. Subtractive, unlike RGB. And it already has several standards with different color gamut. How many inaccuracies and errors!

        • Michael

          Prysyet - this is essentially the transcoding using the driver. Almost all printers have CMYK cartridges, which means that they work according to this scheme.

    • Aries

      in printing houses all printed products are in this format

    • Aries

      all minilabs service center ADOBE 1998 PROFILE PREFER

      • Michael

        There is still such a thing, a printing machine and in it 4 cartridges - CMYK. And you can prefer anything, the printer driver will still convert

        • anonym

          In CMYK, it doesn’t matter what to use, because at the output you will not get a single semitone, nothing. So yes, you don’t bother (sarcasm)

        • anonym

          In CMYK you won’t get any halftones, nothing that is needed in the photo, because CMYK is not suitable for this, and yes, it will convert it to porridge.

          • Michael

            What are you saying?..

        • Novel

          Or 5. Or 6. Or 8. Or 4, but we use some kind of custom color, because our large print run is printed in black and pure green, for example. In order not to mix cyan and yellow. Because we have a million two-color flyers.

  • Sanya

    That article, that comments, only confused and did not show the light at the end of the information tunnel. A specific question: what should be in the profile on the camera, on the monitor in the display settings, in the lightroom and photoshop for editing photos with subsequent printing, in social networks and portfolios. Thanks.

    • Andrei Other

      furiously plus

    • Valentine

      In the camera, select sRGB. Monitor: the best option is IPS + calibration: no - it means we work this way, but we remove the improvers and stay closer to the factory settings, the tone is normal (neither cold nor warm), adjust the brightness to white so that it does not blind and details are visible on bright objects . In lightroom and photoshop, select sRGB. When saved in jpg - sRGB.

    • Michael

      sRGB, especially if you're not sure.

  • Valentine

    Here is a typical example of how the wrong space affected the result: http://velo-foto.ru/ccd-vs-cmos-d80-vs-d800/
    The author compared the D800 and the D80 (CMOS vs. CCD), where the D80 was torn to pieces by the colors of the D800. Probably everyone will agree with this. But after downloading the source, we see that the space on the D800 was set to Adobe RGB and on the preview or when opening without converting the space, they simply lost some of the color information. Having opened the source code in the native Capture NX-D with space conversion to sRGB (or the same in Photoshop), the situation, of course, is changing. The D800 doesn’t look so pale anymore, and taking into account other differences in the settings, it’s not so simple.
    Therefore, the author of this article is right - a mistake with space is made by both amateurs and more advanced users.

    • DmitryK

      I remember the same jamb was seen on photo_ru - there they compared the color of D4 and D750.
      In D4, the unfortunate author of the comparison set sRGB, and on D750 - AdobeRGB and posted jpg as a comparison in the discussion thread of the D750. Say, look what a bad color on the D750.
      The people got alarmed, and then they laughed at him ...

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  • anonym

    How much about everything and how little about something specific! Of course, it is necessary to ensure that the color profiles on the camera and in Photoshop are set the same, otherwise the work with color will be very unpredictable. “And the rest, a beautiful marquise ...” I have four printers in operation: three L-800 and one L-1800. Monitor- ASUS PRO ART 248. It allows manual profiling by 29 color parameters. So, gentlemen, the debaters, all four printers print the same file, regardless of the presence or absence of processing, in completely different ways. This is the individuality of the printers laid down by the manufacturer, the error in the output of colors in each device, even inside the production batch. This error cannot be corrected by any tricks, except for one: by individually adjusting the monitor parameters to the image that is visible in the working program. I’ve launched the fingerprint — I saw deviations in it after an hour — put the fingerprint on the screen and display the monitor settings so that the image on the monitor and the fingerprint visually coincided. This is a manual, individual calibration for EVERY printer. It is in this case that you will always have on the print what you see on the monitor. Any other reasoning is the fruit of the conclusions of inexperienced people in matters of PRACTICAL photography. I also professed in my youth, until I gained experience, often very far from theoretical reasoning. “In many experiences, many sorrows will abide.”

    • Novel

      In fact, normal printers calibrate printers, not monitors for each printer. If you have the same ink, make several profiles for different types of paper and use them everywhere. Plus a calibrated monitor. Naturally, their coverage is different, but at least there will be no walks along the central heating.

    • Novel

      Then, by the way, on a CALIBRATED monitor, you can turn on the profile of each printer in color proof mode and roughly look at what happens at the output. And you have all the upside down. Printers are also perfectly calibrated, they only need a spectrophotometer, it costs more. Print a template on your paper with the printer profile disabled, drag each plate along the ruler, it builds a new profile on the basis of the printed image, which you use later. Moreover, it will be an RGB profile. This is for those who believe that the printer works in CMYK. The printer works in RGB, it prints in ink in four colors (L800 and L1800 - in six).

      • zengarden

        I don’t think that they are interested in printing here. Those who do this, and so well know how to prepare materials (this is a whole school, mostly there are Yabloko).

    • Mayer

      Anonymous, firstly, jumped from the topic in which space to receive, process and save the image to the mismatch of printed results from different printers. One is not connected with the other. You can screw up when working with a picture by choosing the wrong space. And the fact that you have different printers print differently does not affect the state of affairs here. Secondly, I agree with Roman: printing devices must be calibrated and profiled to achieve colors that are closest to the standard. No monitor to tighten, namely printing devices. The monitor does not need to be smoothed out, it must also be calibrated. In general, you entered into a conversation with the appearance of an expert and a practitioner, but did not really say anything on the topic.

  • anonym

    Forgot to explain. Every graphic program, even Photoshop, of different versions, perceive and count the color very individually. Whether you follow the profiles or not, they still give out their understanding of color. That is why it is important to profile the monitor in the main work program; a file opened in an auxiliary program will appear to be changed in color.

  • Copyraster

    Oh, these copy pasteers, suck the problem out of the finger, then add 99% amateurism and the article is ready = $ 3 PROFIT!

  • Arkady Shapoval

    We brought in new content on the topic https://radojuva.com/2018/07/color-profile-space/

  • Instantlove

    The topic is not disclosed at all. Save to Adobe RGB - this is a child's mistake. The theme of color rendering is much deeper, so much so that I teach it to professional photographers. And there are hundreds of nuances.

    • DmitryK

      So write an article with Arkady here - it will be useful to all of us. And we will be glad for you that you have unique information. We will discuss it in the comments)

  • anonym

    Why the heck is everything so complicated. Is it really impossible to make one profile, good, that's all. So no, you have to make one think that the sages themselves can no longer understand.

    • Novel

      It is impossible. Technology is evolving. And profiles evolve with technology.

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