I'm shooting raw and I'm on ubuntu. This happens mostly with pictures that have a lot of black or that are very dark. On my screen the picture looks fine (as intended) but when I upload it to 500px or flickr, a lot of detail is lost from the darker areas of the picture. However, if I save the image back to my computer and open it, it looks fine. An example would be this one where I can't see any detail in the sand when I open it in the browser, but after downloading it it looks fine.

[This happens both on Firefox and Chromium]

[It seems it also happens when I open the image with Firefox, even if it is on my computer]

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    What do you open the with on your computer? I suspect one of the S/W is color-profile aware and the other is not. Recent versions are Firefox are by default IIRC. – Itai Aug 9 '15 at 18:13
  • Darktable and shotwell viewer. – Matías Guzmán Naranjo Aug 9 '15 at 18:22
  • Never used any of these. Check if there is a setting to enable or disable color-management. Alternatively, try Geeqie which I know has that option. That way you can toggle it and see on which setting the images look the same. – Itai Aug 9 '15 at 18:34
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    You were right, when I tell geeqie to use color profiles the image shows up fine, without them it goes all dark. – Matías Guzmán Naranjo Aug 9 '15 at 19:46

What it looks like from your comments is that the software you are using is not taking into account your display and simply sending the image-data (either from the embedded JPEG or after RAW interpolation) as is. The result is that images look dark which just says that your display has a darker tone-curve than is usual.

Firefox and Chrome correct for this by converting the image-data from its color-space. As you already confirmed, Geeqie can do this too. If you calibrated your display to sRGB, this problem would occur less frequently since that is the most commonly-used color-space.


You need to calibrate your monitor with a piece of hardware if you haven't already.

See - What cheap colour calibrators are available for Linux?

Secondly you need to understand color spaces and gamut. What color space are you capturing images in? What color space are you post processing in? Are you converting to sRGB before uploading to the web? Do you have a color space aware browser? You need to do some research here and determine what works best for you. Likely working in sRGB throughout will give you the least issues.

  • But why do I see different things when the image is being displayed by the browser and when it is being displayed on any other image viewing software? – Matías Guzmán Naranjo Aug 9 '15 at 17:15

What color is the border/background on your screen when viewing the image in your editing program? What color is the border/background when viewing the image via a browser? Especially with darker images, the same exact file will look much darker surrounded by a light background than when surrounded by a dark one.

(For the full effect, view each of these images full screen)

White b/g

Black b/g

  • It can't be that. Two different editors, with the same black background produce different results. – Matías Guzmán Naranjo Aug 9 '15 at 19:25
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    Then in your case it is the difference in color management being used between the various applications you are using to view the image. On the other hand, this answer still stands since there will be others with the same question ("Why do some pictures look darker online than on my computer?") who are viewing the same image with varying backgrounds. – Michael C Aug 9 '15 at 19:31
  • There is also the distinct possibility that the version of the image you see when viewing it on a website such as 500px is more compressed than the version you get when you download it from that same website. – Michael C Aug 9 '15 at 19:37

It might be that there's an embedded profile and some of your software can handle it, while other software cannot. If you load the file from your hard drive into your browser, will it be displayed as when it is uploaded to the web, or does it look different?

Mostly a webpage will not change the information you post to it. Loading the image into your browser from your hard drive should give the same result as loading it from the web. If there's a different way of displaying it in your image viewer or your pp software, they simply use different display methods. It might be that your image software is aware of colour profiling, while your browser is not.

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