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I am using a MacBook Pro (2011) and edited a photo from camera raw into photoshop. The color space is set to sRGB within photoshop. I used Lightroom to export to JPEG while ensuring that the color space remains sRGB. I uploaded the photo to Facebook and 500px, both seem to very close to what I view in Photoshop. I also viewed on a PC monitor (calibrated) and it looks correct. I viewed the same image on my iPhone 4s from 500px app, the colors are washed out.

image in question: http://500px.com/photo/88610085

However, I tried uploading it to Shutterfly so I could order a large print but the colors are washed out and the whole image is way darker than what I see on my computer. I understand the limitations of the web browsers, hence the choice to use sRGB, but I am seeing too many inconsistencies. I spoke with Shutterfly support and they suggested that I make my photo brighter than what I see on my monitor and convert to Adobe RGB. This seems a waste of time and a blind shot of hitting the target.

This is not the first time I have encountered this problem. So, is there a "fool-proof" color space that I can use for web? What about print?


  • the Tech Support have a point there. Adobe RGB is able to handle a higher differential scale than does sRGB. This makes the prints vibrant and more pleasing to the eye as most Pro Printers now use Adobe RGB. However, monitors can only display about 75% of the Adobe RGB colour space whereas, sRGB is able to display about 95%. Increasing the Brightness will not display more of the colour space, but give you a Faux representation of what to expect. As you say, a "blind shot”… Adobe RGB is definately the better format for Print – Abdul Quraishi Nov 4 '14 at 16:31
  • @edita: Please split your question to two separate questions. E.g. strip the "Additional question" part and post it as a new question. (Be warned though that that question itself is off-topic here by definition, but you might get some responses.) – TFuto Nov 4 '14 at 17:12
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    @TFuto thank you for your feedback. I removed the second question. – edita Nov 4 '14 at 19:49
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I would highly recommend that you read Jeffrey Friedl's article on color spaces and photography.

He links to a thread on dpreview which may have some bearing on your issue with Shutterfly. It seems that many photo sharing sites strip the color-space information from photos...

enter image description here

  • Thank you for this. I will try his recommendation and exif tool to ensure I'm doing it correct and see if it helps. @ezmopho – edita Nov 4 '14 at 19:50
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This is not the first time I have encountered this problem. So, is there a "fool-proof" color space that I can use for web? What about print?

The sRGB is the most foolproof. But even with that you will see minor inconsistencies on the web due to many factors. With printing, larger profiles would provide some minor benefits, but it is best to stay with sRGB if you did not do any reading on color management.

However, I tried uploading it to Shutterfly so I could order a large print but the colors are washed out and the whole image is way darker than what I see on my computer.

Printed images are only as bright as the paper. If the white on your display is brighter than paper, the same image will look darker in print. Some people recommend keeping display brightness around 100 cd/m2. I check my images against pure white background, it gives me an idea how bright they are and if they are not too dark for printing.

I viewed the same image on my iPhone 4s from 500px app, the colors are washed out.

Yes, I can see that too with your image on my Apple phone as well. It looks like the reds are washed out in the sky and in the foreground. It is interesting, but since the Apple mobile devices do not support color management and we don't know what is the web site doing with the images, I don't think it is worth further research - people see what they are used to see on that device and it will look normal to them.

  • I agree with "MireKE" regarding sRGB, if you are not up to speed with colour management it is best to stick with sRGB. Adobe RGB will definitely give a better print result, but it does have an extended workflow that needs to be understood. Regarding the web, sRGB it is. There is also truth behind the photo paper brightness, similar to it used to be with film; 2 PhotoLabs never gave the same result. – Abdul Quraishi Nov 4 '14 at 18:43

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