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Color space issue in Lightroom 2...
Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 5:05 AM on 03.10.10
->> Hey all,

I was trying to work more with Lightroom 2, so I can get used to the program and I found a little issue that popped up for me.

I was editing some RAW landscape photos from Yosemite & Zion national parks from my 40D and once I had them done, I exported them out of Lightroom 2 (that's where I did all the work at, including importing them) into a separate file folder. I saved them as ProPhoto RGB JPG's at about 80%. They looked fine.

I then uploaded them to my site. I use Coppermine gallery to make my photo galleries, so it creates the thumbnails. Well, once the files were uploaded into the gallery, I looked at the thumbnails and they looked pretty darn bland. Like they lost a ton of their color/saturation. However, if I clicked on the thumbnail, the full sized image looked fine, like it did prior to upload.

Now, all my other images on the site I've corrected in PS-CS3, but with an AdobeRGB color space and it appears I don't have this issue with those thumbnails.

So, I opened the ProPhoto RGB image in PS-CS3 and then looked at the assign color space option. If I clicked on sRGB, it DRASTICALLY reduced the color/saturation of the photo and then it looked like my thumbnail on my site. So, I'm guessing, for some reason, the Coppermine gallery is making the thumbnails into sRGB color space files.

However, here is my issue. Since Lightroom 2 ONLY works in the ProPhoto RGB color space, how the heck do I "adjust" my photos for sRGB? Does this mean I can't use Lightroom 2 to do any adjusting? If so, what's the point of having it? I know I can export the files as an sRGB color space on the export menu, but if the colors are way to drab upon export (because I only see vibrant colors when actually working with the file while in Lightroom 2's ProPhoto RGB color space), then how do you compensate for that?

I'm more worried about when I shoot sports because I'll be ingesting with PhotoMechanic and then moving the files over to Lightroom 2 for color correction. I originally set up PhotoMechanic to use ProPhoto RGB, but now I'm paranoid because the files won't look right on the web or to my media company when I do my adjustments and send them the files. I don't want them to look at the files and go WTF?! So, I'm putting everything back to AdobeRGB for the time being, but I can't do that with Lightroom 2, as there is no setting for the working color space.

Any ideas on this? When I save the files in PhotoMechanic (say under AdobeRGB) and then bring them into Lightroom 2, will that help because it already has the embedded AdobeRGB profile? But then again, my 1D MK2N already embeds the AdobeRGB profile as well, so maybe that won't help. :-(


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John Vanacore, Photographer
North Haven | CT | | Posted: 7:35 AM on 03.10.10
->> Mat,
If i understand your dilema here, you can adjust your export colorspace and file format in the preferences
Edit>Preferences>External Editing Tab

There are drop down menus in which include ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB(1998 and sRGB.

I hope this helps.

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Jon Wright, Photographer
Wayzata | MN | USA | Posted: 8:53 AM on 03.10.10
->> Adobe RGB has a wider color gamut than SRGB. I don't know if that is part of the problem, but it is a fact.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 9:18 AM on 03.10.10
->> Conversion and "assigning" are two different things.

If you had a book printed in French and wanted it in English, you'd want to do a translation. So you'd go through the book and come up with equivalent english words and write them down. That's what "conversion" does for you - it does a pixel-by-pixel color translation between the source and destination colorspace.

"Assigning" a colorspace is usually the wrong thing to do. All "assigning" a colorspace does is change the information in the header of the file to say it's a new colorspace - no alteration of the color information happens. It's the equivalent of taking your French book and changing the cover to say it's written in English.

Prophoto RGB and AdobeRGB are great colorspaces for editing, but you ALWAYS have to CONVERT to sRGB before you save your jpegs for the web. Anything else will give you inconsistent results. I usually work in 16-bit Prophoto RGB and save the file as a PSD as a master edited version. When I want to make a jpeg, I convert the file to 8-bit sRGB and export as a jpeg (without saving over the original PSD).
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Michael Schwarz, Photographer
Decatur | GA | USA | Posted: 11:53 AM on 03.10.10
->> You should be exporting your images out of Lightroom as sRGB files if they are going to the web.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 1:09 PM on 03.10.10
->> Ooops, I did forget to mention that I knew Lightroom 2 could export in sRGB. However, I did export it in ProPhoto RGB. My bad on that. I didn't know it needed 16 bit to work best and wouldn't work as an 8 bit jpg. :-( Brain damage on my part on that one.

Here is my question...more to the point though (sorry, I was really tired last night and rambled, but tried to give all the info)...

If I'm adjusting the photo in Lightroom 2's ProPhoto RGB working space and like the look/color of the image and then I export it in the sRGB color space (as suggested), will the exported image look any different when viewed outside of Lightroom 2 since it's now sRGB?

I don't want to have it look great in Lightroom 2, export it as sRGB, then look at it on the net and have it look like crap because it's now sRGB and not match what I saw in Lightroom 2 because Lightroom 2 uses ProPhoto RGB for a working color space.

Ya, I think that's what I meant to say originally. LOL :D

Thanks for everyone's info/input. :-)

Oh and as for the conversion vs assigning, I totally understand. I was just trying to look at the differences on the screen. I actually didn't try and do that assigning to see if it worked. However, I can understand what you're saying and it makes sense. I definitely wouldn't do that again to keep the image. Much better to totally convert. :-) Thanks!

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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 6:05 PM on 03.10.10
->> Also, I understand exporting as sRGB for the web, but what if you are sending your files to your media/newswire client? Then what color space do you save/export in? :-)
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Thread Title: Color space issue in Lightroom 2...
Thread Started By: Mat Gdowski
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