Technically Proficient Photographers – Lend Me your Ear!

I have recently become aware of a concerning issue with presenting my photographs in the digital medium and I am begging for someone to help me.  I have noticed that there are dramatic differences in color temperatures and overall contrasts depending on what web browser or photo viewing software is used to view my images.  Take this one for instance.  I primarily use Firefox for my web browser and using it the image looks exactly as I finished it in Photoshop, nice and warm with contrasts that make it pop a bit (trust me, that day was anything but warm with temps in the high teens).  If you have the means, view this image in Firefox and Internet Explorer.  Can you see the differences?  In IE, the temps are much cooler and the image is overall muddy with low contrasts.  I have also seen differences in software used to view JPEGS.  In “Windows Photo Viewer” the image is exactly as I processed, but in “Quick Time” it is just as I described in IE.  Most disturbingly, every mobile device (ipod, smartphone, etc…) in which I have viewed my images has also displayed them in this cooler, mushy form.

I am very much a novice in terms of working with file formats, image modes, color profiles and everything related.  I am hoping someone out there can help me with this as you can see this looks to be a major problem.  If you can give me some incite, I will be eternally grateful.  I will even offer up your choice of one of my daughters.  Well, I don’t have any real daughters, but we do have four cats, and they are quite cute I assure you.  😉

Here is some info about my settings and workflow in case it might help: Convert from RAW in LR3 (ProPhoto RGB, 16-bit), move to PS CS6, work in TIFF (RGB, 16-bit), save as JPEG.  I am reasonably comfortable that I am working on a well-calibrated, acceptable quality monitor on a Windows platform.

Thanks for anything you can provide!


“Warm Flight”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 400,  f/5.6, 1/1600 sec

8 thoughts on “Technically Proficient Photographers – Lend Me your Ear!

  1. I am not an expert but I have noticed some color temp differences on my photos on different formats. I suggest just so you know yours are right from the start, to get a color munki display to assure yourself. It helped assure me. I know this is an exact answer to your question but its all I got.

  2. I’m not sure if this is the exact same problem, but a few years ago I noticed that my photo colors looked very washed out and the contrast was diminished when I looked at them in other browsers/on other computers. The solution that worked for me was this:

    After I finished editing the photo in Photoshop go to Edit –> Convert to Profile.
    Then select sRGB IEC61966-2.1 as the Destination Space.

    I put that in an action and just click it each time I finish a photo.

    Here’s a link explaining sRGB:

    All that said, your photos seem fine to me….using Safari on a Mac here at home.

  3. I am not very technically proficient, but in case others don’t respond, another area to check is the colour profile used to create your jpeg. I believe it should be sRGB rather than Adobe RGB (1998) or others since some web browsers don’t have the capacity to deal with all the extra colour information. On a Mac running Safari your picture looks great (very nice work by the way) but on my iPhone it looks worse as you described.

  4. I agree with checking to make sure you are sticking with the sRGB color standard, and this is not getting switched during one of the times between applications. Also it may be worth trying to pass around a different file format, like a DNG file, between applications. That is if ProPhoto supports other formats.

    It is true that some browsers (applications in general actually) render images differently. However, I’ve only seen this occur when the image is saved using CMYK color scheme. For reasons beyond simple explanation, Safari (i.e. Apple and Quicktime) and Internet Explorer render CMYK color spaces differently. Even though you may not be using CMYK, I suspect this all could be related to the aforementioned sRGB/Adobe RGB issue.

    That said, doing a side-by-side comparison between FF 17 and IE 9 just now, I personally could not tell any difference between the photos within each browser. Sorry, I guess you know your image better than anyone else, but I just can’t see any difference.

    Also, viewing on different devices, like the iPhone as mentioned earlier, will most certainly show different colors and brightness levels. And, I know from experience with trying to match colors on a website, it’s pretty much impossible to keep any sort of consistency between devices. In the same way, you will be hard pressed to get a Mac laptop to display the same as your Windows computer.

  5. Bill, Ive had the same problem a few months back when I was taking an online course and I asked one of the instructors the same question…make sure you are processing in in either prophoto or adobe RGB1998 and then converting them to the sRGB to upload to any online site such as flickr. I use cs5 and I cant imagine cs6 is any different…edit> convert to profile> choose RGB in the destination box and then choose -working RGB- sRGB IEC61966-2.1 in the drop down menu……I hope this helps, it did for me. One tip, dont convert until youre ready to upload.

    Peace Phil

  6. To those who replied here and via other methods, thank you so very much! It looks like I have a good start at being able to solve this. I will try this out ASAP and hope this works.


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