What color profile to embed in the image?

This material is specially for Radozhiva prepared Alexander Onishchenko (facebook).

What color profile to embed in the image?

What color profile to embed in the image?

Hello everyone, I'm with you, Alexander Onishchenko.

The two previous posts focused on Lightroom Classic, but the light didn't come together like a wedge on Lightroom. Therefore, today I will write on a topic that is relevant for all amateur photographers, no matter how they process their masterpieces - about which color profile should be introduced into the image.

In any field of knowledge, there are a number of questions that everyone knows about, but few understand. In digital photography, this is, for example, everything related to the color profiles of images. And this despite the fact that there are many discussions on the topic at photoforums, and almost everyone knows their names: sRGB, AdobeRGB, ProPhotoRGB, etc. This knowledge, as a rule, is not supported by understanding, and for this reason it is not very useful.

I will describe a real case that confirms what I have written. A graduate of my online course A to Z RAW Processing in Adobe Lightroom Classic approached me with a question. Her client, who received the ordered frames, printed them out. The prints, she said, came out “dull and green”. A print test in another lab gave similar results.

My student was perplexed, because in both Lightroom and Photoshop, the footage looked great.

I asked her to send me one of these frames in the form in which it was transmitted to the client.

Having received it, I opened it in Adobe Photoshop (Fig. 2). This was the end of the investigation, since I immediately saw that the photo contains a ProPhoto RGB color profile (places where this can be seen are highlighted with red arrows):

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

What happened? In the classroom, I briefly, in simple terms, tell students about digital profiles and situations when they are important.

The end recommendation is: “At your current level of understanding and with your current skills, SRGB is always the smartest choice. You will almost never lose anything, but you are guaranteed to avoid incomprehensible and unpleasant situations for you. "

My student knew this, but she overlooked and gave the client the ordered frames in ProPhoto RGB. She went to print in an inexpensive lab that completely ignores the color profile of the image, assuming by default that the picture is in SRGB.

This is precisely the reason for the distortions during printing: the printing device prints a picture with an embedded, wide-gamut ProPhoto RGB, assuming that the picture is in a noticeably narrower sRGB.

Both Photoshop and Lightroom have an advanced Color Management System, so the picture looks right in them, putting you to sleep. A "stupid" printer does not forgive this error.

It's always better to see once than hear 100 times. or read it, and Photoshop allows you to visualize this situation. In fig. 3 shows how an image will look (printed) in ProPhoto RGB if the printer ignores the color profile:

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

Unfortunately, mistakes like this happen quite often. Graduates of various photography schools bring me their laptops for calibration, and I see that most of them convert frames in Lightroom, embedding them in the resulting JPGs and ProPhoto RGB profiles. Why? - there are two reasons: Adobe set ProPhoto RGB with the default output profile, and the teachers ignored the topic of profiles altogether. And the combination of 8-bit JPG and ProPhoto RGB with its gigantic coverage is a direct road not only to green boys, but also to posterization.

Finally, two cues:

1. When shooting in RAW format, it doesn't matter which profile (SRGB or Adobe RGB) is set in your camera. Because RAW does not contain color in the usual sense. In this case, the required profile is set at the time of RAW conversion, i.e. in the converter.

2. Almost always (and for beginners - always) the optimal profile is SRGB, which should be set in the settings of both the RAW converter and Photoshop.

Good staff and teachers!

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Comments: 22, on the topic: What color profile to embed in the image?

  • Andrei

    Lord, what kind of game is written, photoshop or lightroom, or any other image processing program does not write the name of the format and color profile in the file name by default ... 🤦‍♂️ And the whole subject could fit into 2 sentences without this water and not even write an article at all, or paint everything in detail with everything inside and out. More and more game on joy, with such success there is still an article from such experts and a formal reply.

    • Alexander

      1. Thoughts about recording or not recording “in the file name” exist only in your head. The programs convert the image to one or another profile (Convert to profile), and embed it into the image (embed color profile).

      • Andrei

        Reread my comment 10 times so that it finally becomes clear for you 🤦‍♂️

    • Alexander

      2. This information can then be read by various “browsers and viewers”. The example below shows this information rendered in Adobe Bridge:

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      I read with interest what you have painted "with everyone inside and out." Where can I do this?

      • "Joe"

        Actually, there is a completely official help from Adobe, where everything is described in detail.
        The Color Management section has several subsections on all major topics.
        https://helpx.adobe.com/ru/photoshop/using/understanding-color-management.html

        • Alexander Onishchenko

          I have carefully read the section "Color management when printing documents" on your link.
          Interestingly, could you bi, based on the information contained in it, give effective advice when the described situation arises?
          If “yes” - please, quote the appropriate fragment of the help.

  • Victor

    Thanks to Alexander for the article. All of us once started and did not know something, but here everything is simple and accessible, just for beginners.

    In my opinion, the information is quite important, given that (for example) jpeg out-of-camera usually goes in adobe rgb, which causes confusion for people when they view their own photos posted on the network without changing the color profile.

    Those who condemn should be taken calmly, they have been and will be))

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      And many more questions related to image profiles arise for those who first start working with a monitor that has an extended color gamut. I went through it myself.

      • Seladir

        In recent years, the segment of inexpensive monitors has gone mad in the form of a triumph of marketing over common sense. Monitors overlap sRGB up to 110% or more and this is presented as something good. At the same time, if there is an emulation of exact sRGB, then with a fixed brightness. As a result, on such a monitor, everything will be oversaturated and even for amateur work with photos it is not suitable. As a result, you need to either look for older models, or already take something noticeably more expensive, where such nonsense is not practiced.

        • Vitaly

          It is much easier to calibrate a monitor that has a margin of coverage for the sRGB space than something old (or new but cheap) that doesn't completely.
          Often, such monitors cannot be calibrated in any way, all the same, some colors will be displayed completely incorrectly.

  • Zheka

    Useful information, for example, an instagram profile needs to be implemented. There is also a nuance that if you reduce the image, you need to sharpen it and make sure that the dpi does not change

    • Andrei

      Well done, saved Alexander from writing a couple of three more useless articles. 👍😉🤣

      • Zheka

        Why did everyone take these articles? A person writes business, share advice, someone may find it useful. And then everyone is pretending to be Mario Testino, but in fact there are houses and me and my cat with a preset

        • Andrei

          There are 1kk and a couple of such articles on the Internet at every step, people even write videos on YouTube with all this. Already like digital spam)

          • Zheka

            So everything is everywhere - both about Nikon lenses and about helios, if such an approach then there is just no original content, about everything, somewhere, something can be found in the grid

  • Igor

    Oh yeah! How familiar to me. I once ran into such a rake and got green faces :))
    True, not when printing, but when viewing in other applications. I had to look for the reason myself and look for information on the forums.
    The article is useful. Everything is written in simple language for which it is valuable.
    Thank you.

  • Alexander

    Hello everyone! Thank you for this article, it seems that I am not a beginner (a simple amateur) and I rarely print a photo, but I somehow did not think about such important points, it is not in vain that they say: “Live and learn”. Thanks again for the article!

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Please. Glad if it was helpful.

  • Alexey

    The desired article. And about sharing and dpi when decreasing, can you tell in more detail? And then I am already old, I can not always quickly find information.

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      The other day I was planning what to write about in the near future. Sharp theme was present, but not in the foreground.
      Alexey, try to specify as much as possible what exactly connected with the sharp under the WEB causes you difficulties, which does not work out, so that it becomes clearer to me.

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