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Color Managing Photos


I know there is a lot of confusion out there as to just what an ICC profile does. You can read as much as you want to about what is in a profile and how to use the, but until you actually see it with your eyes, it is hard to understand what everything means.

To start this off, I thought we would take a look at RGB profiles. RGB profiles are used by digital cameras, scanners, and your monitors. When you take a digital picture or scan a print, an RGB profile comes into play. The two most commonly used profiles are sRGB and Adobe RGB (1998). The sRGB color space is the default color space for Windows. Adobe RGB (1998) is the generic profile that Photoshop uses (in the US or North American Prepress Defaults).

Below is two copies of the same image. There is only one difference; the embedded profiles. The image on the left has the sRGB color space embedded, and on the right the Adobe RGB (1998) space.

Just changing the RGB profile of the image makes a difference in color. So when you are working in Photoshop on the pictures, beware! If you spend hours working on color, and then change your profile, all of you hard work is lost.

Also be warned- when you convert to CMYK, if you choose a different source space than the one you were working in, you can get drastically different color.

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