When I edit an image in the raw converter in CS6 the colours look correct, but when I open the file to edit the colours change. Why is that?

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    \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of Why does my Lightroom preview change after loading? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 20:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know the other question was about Lightroom, but the answer is the same. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 20:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's not how I'm reading it at all, so I'm asking for clarification. Are you saying that the image looks different in Adobe Camera Raw than it does in Photoshop after you press Open Image? (That would have absolutely nothing to do with the preview.) \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 2:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good point, it's unclear from the question whether this is a preview-vs-edit difference which is normal, or a problem (such as a misconfiguration) when editing something from that file. A screenshot of the appearance when editing might be helpful. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 2:28

1 Answer 1


The image in the preview comes from an embedded JPEG inside the raw file which was generated by the camera, while the image you see when you open the raw file is generated based on the raw data.

The raw image data is captured from the camera at a point before the contrast and color settings are applied.

Every manufacturer's camera comes with embedded color profiles and contrast curves which dictate how colors and contrast will look when converting from the raw image data into a full color image, as is done when the camera generates its own JPEG image or the embedded JPEG inside a raw file. These color profiles have subtle differences between manufacturers, for example some of them emphasising skin tones or blue colors, and others taking a more "natural" approach vs wanting their own characteristic "look". Even the "normal" contrast setting can vary between camera manufacturers, each trying to get their images to look the best.

When using third-party raw editors to generate an image from the same raw data, that third-party raw editor probably doesn't use exactly the same color profile that your camera manufacturer does. It also won't necessarily honor the same contrast curve (or contrast setting) that you selected in-camera. Thus, the image will look different: brighter, darker, less or more contrasty, or individual colors emphasized or de-emphasized.

If you use raw editing software by the same manufacturer as your camera, you may be able to use the same color and contrast settings that are baked into your camera, ensuring a good result. However, just because something looks "the same as in camera" doesn't mean it looks better - ultimately, a raw editor will give you greater control over color and contrast than your camera's built-in settings will, resulting in greater scope to modify the final product.

  • \$\begingroup\$ this should be accepted as Answer ! Good Job :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ the problem occurs when i edit a picture in raw then ckick on open image, the picture then looks diffrent \$\endgroup\$
    – C Edwards
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ "when i edit a picture in raw then ckick on open image" - what software are you editing it in, and what software are you opening it in and what format is it on disk? It's likely to still be basically the same explanation - different software will use different color profiles and contrast curves to each other as well as not matching your camera's. But it could be some other things such as unusual color management setup in a piece of software. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:38

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