I received a batch of images from a photographer and I wanted to reduce the dimensions of a couple, so I opened them up in Photoshop. They looked fine - the color was good, but when I went to save for web, the preview was brownish...like much of the color is sucked out and the image is darkened and lifeless.

I've been using Photoshop for web development and light editing for over a decade, but I'm not sure what is causing this. Perhaps some setting photographers use that I'm unfamiliar with?

In the photo below you can see the original (within Photoshop) above, and the "Save for Web" preview in the forefront.

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Color settings can be viewed below:

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This is most likely due to a color space (gamut) change when saving for web. Photoshop is a fully color managed application, and uses ICM to manage color rendition and conversion. Most other applications, including many web browsers (most of the browsers in use today) do not support color management. Web browsers and operating systems tend to assume that the gamut used for an image is sRGB. When using the "Save for Web" feature of Photoshop, it saves the images as untagged, which are then displayed with whatever color profile the software displaying them uses as a default (which is usually sRGB).

If your original image uses a wider gamut (such as AdobeRGB), you will want to convert to sRGB first. It is usually best to duplicate the image, convert to sRGB, then save for web. If you do that, the image should appear correctly in all programs, including those that support ICM.

  • The color settings indicate the photo is already sRGB. I've updated the original question to include a screenshot of the color settings.
    – Sampson
    Dec 3 '10 at 3:37
  • 3
    The color settings simply show your configured defaults. They do not show the currently applied color profile that is attached to the image you are working on. Use the "Convert to Profile" option instead. At the top of that window, it will show your source color space, and allow you to convert to sRGB.
    – jrista
    Dec 3 '10 at 4:16
  • 1
    That was it, @jrista. Thank you for the assistance.
    – Sampson
    Dec 3 '10 at 5:54
  • @Jonathan: Welcome. :)
    – jrista
    Dec 4 '10 at 1:00

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