Current task requires to embed input ICC profile as well as output (display) ICC profile such as Adobe RGB in an image. I tried to find a way to do this, for example, with exiftool in vain because the tool seemed to allow embedding single ICC profile.

Am I missing something or are we restricted to embed a single ICC profile per image?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Adobe RGB is not a display profile. A display profile will start with the name of your display [monitor] manufacturer... Dell, Apple, Samsung etc... & will be of zero value to anyone else. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 29, 2017 at 17:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it seems to be about image file formats with no particular relevance to photography. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 29, 2017 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm I totally disagree. I think both TIFF and ICC profiles are entirely relevant to digital photography today \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Sep 29, 2017 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ They can be, but I bet they aren't for the use case here. If the question can be updated to clarify the relevance, that's fine with me. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 29, 2017 at 20:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Paul What are you trying to do? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 30, 2017 at 0:45

2 Answers 2


Usually, there's no reason to embed more than more one profile. With an input image, you embed the input profile, so that your colour management system can work out what colours the numbers in the input data means.

No reason to embed a monitor or output profile - they're nothing to do with the image data, and if you move the image to a different system, you'd need to use a different monitor profile for viewing, or a different output profile for printing to a different printer or paper type.

Normally, the monitor profile is associated with the system you're viewing the image on - and you'd use that profile for all images you wanted to view on that monitor. (The monitor profile lets the colour management software figure out what values to send to the monitor to get a particular colour).

Similarly, the output profile lets the colour management software work out what ink values to send to the printer to get a particular colour. That varies with printer, ink, media and printer settings. Again, this is usually set by the printing software. If you're producing something like a CMYK file for conventional printing, then you might embed the output profile in the CMYK image. In this case, the colour management software could use the reverse cubes in profile to work out what colour the CMYK values in this file mean (for example, if you wanted to output the file on a different output device, where you'd need to go originalCMYK->colours->newCMYK using a different output profile).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I kind of agree with your stance, but sometimes a printing shop requires an image to embed an output ICC profile (e.g., sRGB or Adobe RGB) so their printer would know in which color space it need to output. I found that most of scanners embed sRGB ICC profile even if it was ICC-profiled with an input ICC profile. That was the reason for my question. Anyway, an embedded ICC profile per image seems to be true, Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Paul
    Sep 30, 2017 at 0:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect that embedding the sRGB or AdobeRGB is effectively using that as an input profile for the print shop (ie. the numbers mean these colours), rather than an output one. With the scanners, most probably write the file as sRGB to keep things simple for basic users not using colour management; in that case, if you have the input ICC profile it might make sense to replace the original sRGB embedded profile with your generated ICC input profile - but if the scanner is trying to produce sRGB, the two should be very close anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – JerryTheC
    Sep 30, 2017 at 15:08

I've tried learning about colour management and icc profiles but only really understand the basics. I have created some profiles for displays and printers.

When creating a printer profile with argyll - colprof for a specific printer / paper combination you can specify a source profile for the image to have before conversion. This handles the perceptual and saturation intent gamut mapping from the working colour space ie sRGB.icc to the printer space.

Is this what you are attempting? If so the argyll cms documentation will give more help than I can!


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.