sRGB vs. ProPhoto RGB… a lesson on digital frustration.
I’ve been going to a bunch of workshops over the past year and in each workshop they discuss editing your photos and the best color space to work in with your images. The workshop facilitators always mention that ProPhoto RBG is the best color space to work with and they taught us how to change the capture format in our cameras to ProPhoto RBG and to work in this color space while editing. What I didn’t pick up on while at these workshops is that when exporting these photos for the public or to upload onto the internet, all photographs should be exported to the sRGB format. So for the past few months I’ve been exported photos to ProPhoto RGB and not realizing that anything was wrong. On my computer screen everything looked perfect and I didn’t think anything of it! It wasn’t until I looked at my blog from another computer that I noticed my colors looked funky! Very muted and blue, and I thought “What is going on!!?” I had no idea if it was just the color calibration of that particular computer or what was going on so I started doing some research. I quickly found the answer to my problem and here is my very basic general understanding of the situation.
The Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB color space are much larger then sRGB making the colors that show up truer to life and more vibrant. Basically this means that the ProPhoto RGB picks up on more colors! The downside to this is that not every computer screen or photo-printer is calibrated to this color space and the certain colors don’t show up, are muted or are just slightly off. Also, most web formats aren’t calibrated for this color space and uploaded pictures are altered and look strange (this happens to me when I upload for project 365!). So when I uploaded pictures to the blog and viewed them on my computer they looked great but when I looked at them on my work Dell they looked awful and not what I originally intended. So what’s the fix? Welp what I learned from some bloggers and my Complete Guide to Digital Photography book is that in order to maintain color quality on any screen and web format, it’s important to export to the standard color space which is sRGB. That way the pictures will look the same on different screens (as long as they are not calibrated incorrectly) and when uploaded to the web. 🙂
So all frustration aside, my frustration is over and I’m glad I learned my lesson. Here’s an example or what I am talking about. (I screen shotted the ProPhoto picture from a web upload so you can see my frustration)
Here’s what the photograph should look like.(see the first photograph, definitely not the second 🙂 )
The above photograph which was exported in ProPhoto RGB looked normal to me until I uploaded it to the web.
All I can say is, Wow, what a difference. Needless to say, I’m going back through and checking/ fixing my other blog posts to make sure anyone looking at home can see what I originally intended you to see. 🙂