Friday, July 24, 2009

My image looks great on my pc but became washed out/pale once uploaded to the web!

If your image looks great on your pc but pale/washed out once uploaded to the web, it's most likely that you've used adobeRGB color profile instead of the more web friendly sRGB. This simple SLR Macro photography tip / Photoshop tutorial / tip will make a great difference in how your images look when posted to the web.

There's been a lot of discussions on sRGB vs adobeRGB so if you wish to know more about these, just google. I've listed a couple here and here:

Example #1:
Notice the sRGB version has more punchy colors whereas the aRGB version has duller/pale colors? You won't notice any difference though if you are using Firefox 3.5 or Safari in Mac. In fact, the colors might look even nicer as aRGB has wider gamut than sRGB, only it won't display well on non color-managed browsers.

hover srgbhover aRGB

Example #2:
butterfly sRGBbutterfly aRGB

Example #3
jasmine sRGBjasmine aRGB

Sorry for the small images but i want them to appear side by side for easier comparison. You can always click on the image to view the bigger versions.

If you use ACR, make sure you set the color profile to sRGB (red arrow)
acr color profile

If you use DPP or Capture NX, make sure you set the color profile in your camera to sRGB. It does not matter though if you shoot in RAW and use ACR for your RAW conversion as ACR will ignore your in-camera settings.

NOTE: If you're using Firefox3.5 or Safari on a Mac most likely you won't have any problems as both color profiles will display properly. However, you should still convert your images to sRGB though because majority of the viewers can only view sRGB correctly.

All macro images shot with a 40D, Canon MP-E65 1X-5X Macro Lens and Canon MT-24EX Twin Flash

It is also important that you have your monitor/display calibrated at least once a month. I use Spyder2Express to do it.


  1. woww.. great info.. didn't actually notice about that until u compare it.

    but I some problems when viewing RAW image (NEF)
    compared ACR and nikon View NX, ACR seems not render the NEF correctly as what i've see in the camera LCD. the image seems more dull/not vivid. but no problems when viewing on View NX.

    Thanks for the sharing

  2. That's because ACR won't recognize any in-camera setting like Capture NX does. Say if you set the image to Vivid, it will appear vivid in your camera LCD and also in Capture NX, but only as standard in ACR. It shouldn't matter anyway because the whole point of shooting raw is that we get to decide to PP the image our way :)

  3. Hey Kurt thanks for pointing me to this very useful information on your blog.

    As you noticed via my Flickr account (melieli) I was saving images as adobeRGB which you noticed made my images looked washed out when viewing in certain browsers.

    I have taken your advice and will be saving in sRGB from now on.
    I'm using ACR to process my images as its quick and convenient and easy for me.

    Is there a setting that will allow me to automatically change all future images to save under sRGB or do I have to change it for each individual image that is processed?

    Thanks in advance Kurt.

    Warm Regards

  4. Hi Mel, I too use ACR to process all my RAW images. I only have to select sRGB once and it'll be set that way for all others, except maybe when you update your ACR version which might reset it back to adobeRGB or other weird profiles.

    To set it, check out the hoverfly image above..the red arrow!

  5. Cool I have noticed that it has stayed that way since setting it. Thanks again.



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