Since Adobe RGB is a wider color gamut, most photographers prefer to work in that color space. Yet most digital cameras by default, are set to work in the sRGB color space. I am often asked if converting sRGB files to Adobe RGB files is a good idea. The answer is “It doesn’t matter.”

You can do it for convenience – i.e., your output workflow depends on it. But once the image has the color space “baked in,” it neither improves or harms it to change it.

The time to set your color space is when you capture or convert. If you shoot JPGs, capture in the color space you want to work in. Set that color space as your default color space on your camera. (Read your manual to learn how to set your individual camera.)

If you shoot RAW, it doesn’t matter what color space your camera is set to work in. You can make the final decision when you convert the RAW file.

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. So if you shoot exclusively in RAW, are you using ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB when exporting to your jpeg? Is it depending on the use of the photo (ex: printing or web usage)? I’m doing some microstock photography, is it better to export in ProPhoto for that?

    It might not be the place to ask that, sorry.

  2. So if you shoot exclusively in RAW, are you using ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB when exporting to your jpeg? Is it depending on the use of the photo (ex: printing or web usage)? I’m doing some microstock photography, is it better to export in ProPhoto for that?

    It might not be the place to ask that, sorry.

  3. @Eric while I know it’s popular, I don’t use ProPhoto that often. I don’t have a monitor or printer that supports it. If I am shooting a job for someone who DOES have a printer who supports it, I go with ProPhoto. All other images are Adobe RGB for me.

    But please let’s try to keep this thread tied to the original post. We’ll be doing an entire show on color management this summer.

  4. @Eric while I know it’s popular, I don’t use ProPhoto that often. I don’t have a monitor or printer that supports it. If I am shooting a job for someone who DOES have a printer who supports it, I go with ProPhoto. All other images are Adobe RGB for me.

    But please let’s try to keep this thread tied to the original post. We’ll be doing an entire show on color management this summer.

  5. But should you save the color space that the lab wants? The pro lab I go to asks for sRGB, so that’s what I shoot in usually.

    If people prefer Adobe RGB, why do labs ask for images as the other CS? Just curious.

  6. My pro photo lab also requires images to be in the sRGB color space. My workflow involves shooting RAW, organizing and processing in Aperture 2 and then exporting to whatever color space is required. For instance, when printing in-house to my Epson or Canon printers I use the aRGB 1998 color space as it has a wider gamut. But when I export for my lab partners I use the sRGB color space. To be honest, I can’t really tell a difference when printed in either color space to a lab printer, but they feel it’s necessary, so I follow suit. But on my inkjets it usually looks best using Adobe RGB.

  7. It’s great that this is coming up right now here on TWIP. I had the “issue” that my pictures looked different on flickr once I’d uploaded them, everything was very washed out. I thought it was flickr mangling my pictures but it’s actually my browser. Camino and Firefox 2.0 apparently don’t process color space the same way that Safari does. When I see my pictures, or any other person’s pictures through Safari, they look the same as when I download the picture and view it with Preview or Lightroom or anything else.

    I don’t understand if there is a way to get them to display the same across all browsers, not taking into consideration different color profiles, monitor settings and other variables. Oh, and yes, I AM converting to sRGB when I export.

  8. It’s great that this is coming up right now here on TWIP. I had the “issue” that my pictures looked different on flickr once I’d uploaded them, everything was very washed out. I thought it was flickr mangling my pictures but it’s actually my browser. Camino and Firefox 2.0 apparently don’t process color space the same way that Safari does. When I see my pictures, or any other person’s pictures through Safari, they look the same as when I download the picture and view it with Preview or Lightroom or anything else.

    I don’t understand if there is a way to get them to display the same across all browsers, not taking into consideration different color profiles, monitor settings and other variables. Oh, and yes, I AM converting to sRGB when I export.

  9. I found out by accident, that if you shoot jpg, it’s a good idea to do test shots to see what your camera does with the different colorspaces. In my XT 350, Adobe 1998 jpgs are desaturated and color inaccurate – the blue of skies have almost a slate cast, and greens are muddy.
    Granted I don’t shoot jpg anymore, but for those who do, it’s worth doing a comparison to see which output they prefer.

  10. I found out by accident, that if you shoot jpg, it’s a good idea to do test shots to see what your camera does with the different colorspaces. In my XT 350, Adobe 1998 jpgs are desaturated and color inaccurate – the blue of skies have almost a slate cast, and greens are muddy.
    Granted I don’t shoot jpg anymore, but for those who do, it’s worth doing a comparison to see which output they prefer.

  11. Scott,

    Very cool that you guys are covering Colour Management, there are so many photographers that don’t have a handle on this…..Kinda like a painter that doesn’t know his colour wheel. One thing…..Good luck giving it good coverage in one hour …Maybe tap Alex’s and Fred’s mouth shut for that segment lol, they seem to be the trouble makes on the show :P

  12. i am using ACA Color Picker to do color space Converting.

    http://www.acasystems.com/en/color-picker/faqs.htm

  13. i am using ACA Color Picker to do color space Converting.

    http://www.acasystems.com/en/color-picker/faqs.htm

Comments are closed.

About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

Category

Shooting

Tags