Do your photos look darker or duller on the Web or your monitor than they do in Photoshop Elements? The color space of your photo may be the culprit. I noticed that my mixing bowls looked duller on the Web than they did in Photoshop Elements – I had assigned the wrong color space in Lightroom. Can you see the difference in brightness when I changed the color space to sRGB.
|Before – ProPhotoRGB||After – sRGB|
Matching Color Spaces
There are three major color spaces that are used by programs like Photoshop Elements and devices like monitors and printers to manage colors in images:
- sRGB – this color space used by monitors and Web browsers has the fewest colors. sRGB is also used by minilabs when printing photos.
- AdobeRGB – this color space has more colors than sRGB and is a good choice for printing on inkjet printers. However, AdobeRGB may look dull or dark on the Web.
- ProPhotoRGB – this color space generally contains all the colors in sRGB and AdobeRGB, and then more. It can show the widest range of colors in a photo. ProPhotoRGB will also look dull or dark on the Web.
The key to getting good color in a photo on the Web is to match the color space of your camera to the color space of Photoshop Elements. Then, when you have finished editing your photo, convert the color profile of the image to sRGB.
Camera Color Spaces
If you have a compact camera, your camera probably uses the sRGB color space by default. Few compact cameras offer a choice of color spaces, but you can check your camera’s menu system to see if AdobeRGB is available. If you have a DSLR, you may have a choice of using sRGB or AdobeRGB as a color space. Many DSLRs use sRGB as the default. Check your camera’s menu to set the color space.
Set Preferred Color Space in Photoshop Elements
To set the preferred color space in Photoshop Elements:
- From the Edit menu, select Color Settings.
- In the Color Settings dialogue, select the color setting you prefer. If you mostly share your photos on the Web, select Always optimize colors for computer screens.
Change Color Spaces
To change from one color space to another:
- From the Image menu, select Convert Color Profile.
- From the flyout menu, select the profile to which you want to convert.
You can work in either the sRGB or the AdobeRGB color space.
Make sure that your camera and Photoshop Elements are set to the same color space, either sRGB or AdobeRGB.
If you work in AdobeRGB and want to share your photo on the Web, convert the photo to sRGB before saving it.
The photos above show the difference in display between color spaces. The photo on the left was saved in the ProPhotoRGB color space in Adobe Lightroom and appeared slightly dull and dark on the screen. The photo on the right is the same photo converted to the sRGB color space.
This article is also available on the Alibony Web site.