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Here is what I did today:

  1. Calibrated my monitor with the xrite i1Display Studio.
  2. Decided to switch to a default non calibrated profile for now.
  3. Started Lightroom and edited a photo.
  4. Noticed that something is off with the contrast.
  5. Thought it has something to do with the color profile so I restarted my PC (Win10) and reopened Lightroom and resetted my monitor color profiles.
  6. The images in Lightroom and Photoshop show too much contrast. The exported image shows the correct amount of contrast in Irfanview and in my browser. I validated this with old photos where I knew what the contrast level is.

Know comes the strange part. If I show the before/after side by side in Lightroom the contrast in the "after" photo is correct. When I go out of the comparison view, the contrast increases. I can upload some screenshots later.

Specs:

  • Windows 10
  • Lightroom Classic v9.4 (also happened in v10)
  • RAW images from a Sony A7SII

TL;DR Lightroom shows too much contrast when in normal develop view (might be called loupe view) but shows correct contrast in before/after comparison.

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  • What colour space is your camera set at? Adobe RGB or sRGB? Also, have you tried sRGB for capture, sRGB as colour Management in LR Develop Module and sRGB colour Profile on your display? – Abdul N Quraishi Dec 8 '20 at 1:26
  • I haven't tried that. I don't know what the Sony was set to. It was a rental and I didn't check the color space. The monitor was set to sRGB and Lightroom exported to sRGB. That's all I know. – Nexonus Dec 8 '20 at 20:25
  • Loupe view may be displaying the in-camera generated JPEG preview that is attached to raw files. – Michael C Dec 9 '20 at 20:44
  • I guess in the develop module it should show the edited image. – Nexonus Dec 10 '20 at 18:48
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After another restart the problem fixed itself. But I found an interesting article in the Adobe forums that might be related and help someone:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-classic/lightroom-export-issues-colour-saturation/td-p/10086489?page=1

Apparently the monitor profiles can be bad and Lightroom respects the profile so it might show the image with the profile and the other applications show it without.

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  • 1
    It's not that the profile was 'bad', it's that you applied it in the wrong place. Interestingly, if somewhat disappointingly, even the 'correct' answer on your link fails to explain why it was wrong to do it that way. Very poor answer, even if correct. – Tetsujin Dec 9 '20 at 9:26
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Use the X-Rite software to apply your calibrated profile to your display at system-level, not inside any app.
On Windows, reboot & make sure the profile was correctly applied. If you have more than one display, triple check. Windows is not good at profile handling especially with multiple monitors.
On Mac just continue, it will work as expected.

Never set Photoshop's 'Colour Settings" profile to your monitor's profile.
This is not the way it's intended to work. The monitor profile is applied between Photoshop & your screen, not inside Photoshop.

Set your working space to the one you most often need at export (then don't use it until export - though this is dependant on the next paragraph.)

If your monitor is capable of only sRGB then you will get the best workflow if you also set your camera to sRGB, rather than Adobe RGB* or even ProRes or P3 (which very very few monitors can support).
You then set Photoshop to not change profile at import - same colour settings page as for above. Set Preserve Embedded Profiles.

So, if your screen is sRGB & your photo is & remains sRGB, then you also need no conversion at export. If your display is capable of Adobe RGB & your camera saves in Adobe RGB, then at export you then export as sRGB for web or general screen use & keep your original un-converted. (Exporting for print is a different matter, ask your printer what they require.)

Every conversion gives potential for error - as you have already discovered.
Keeping your profile unchanged all the way through the entire process leaves less margin for error.

*There is great temptation to have your camera save pictures at the "best" colour setting it can; however, if your monitor cannot display this, you will never see exactly what you are editing. sRGB is a very safe default. All displays aim to cover sRGB… even if they don't quite manage it, or are badly calibrated by the factory or their owners - but that is entirely outside your control. So aim for safe.

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  • Thanks for your detailed answer! I just wonder why the contrast was correct if I show the image in before/after view and it wasn't correct when I go back to the normal develop view. I thought the profile should be the same for the whole application. Side note I did add the profile to the Windows system and not only to Lightroom. – Nexonus Dec 10 '20 at 18:50
  • I don't know, tbh. Basically, if you set your monitor profile as your working space then it goes through that profile twice, once in Photoshop & once again at system-level - which is really going to mess things up. – Tetsujin Dec 10 '20 at 18:56

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