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Alright guys, ever work hours on a photo; adjusting lighting, getting hues just right, painstakingly brushing in your dodge and burns, only to post it on your media page and say "Hey, that's not what my photo looked like". Well then this is for you.  Today I'm deep diving color profiles and their effects on your photos.

Now, there are a lot of factors that will go into how your photo looks on any particular screen. Could be the resolution or color settings of the device, could be the platform you are viewing with, could be that you just have been editing for hours and your eyes are just over worked.  Now these you cant really control (minus the eye thing, get that checked out) especially if you have a wide base of consumers.  As much as we may want, we cant run around calibrating every screen our followers look at our work with.  What we can control is the color profile of our photos so that at least we give our consumers the best chance of seeing exactly what we want them to see.  So what exactly is a color profile?

So a color profile is essentially the amount of colors you are allowed to see and work in while working on your photos.  There are tons of these types of profiles,   ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB, sRGB, or even ones specific to certain printers.  Now each of these works with a different amount of colors.  ProPhoto for example can supposedly handle colors beyond human visibility.  sRGB however is a very standard profile and works with a far more limited amount of colors.  So knowing that why wouldn't use one with a massive amount of color ability?  the answer in my opinion, you would and you shouldn't at the same time.

Working in any of these profiles is actually fine. I personally work in Adobe RGB.  Its what my camera is set to and gives me a good range of color while not going overboard with it.  Its and excellent middle of the road but still gives me that control for really vibrant photos.  You can also work in ProPhoto with a massive color range, or you can use a more filtered down sRGB it doesn't matter.  What ever works best for your workflow and the software you are using.  The problems start rearing their ugly head once your done editing

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Yes editing in any profile is fine, whatever your tastes are.  Once you start saving your finished products and then posting them out in the world is where the problem is.  Lets use my process for example.  I do all my work in Adobe RGB color profile.  But if I were to take my photos and post them on say Instagram, my colors would change upon posting.  Why you ask? Well its because even though you may have worked in one profile, doesn't mean where you put you photo also works in that profile.

If you look at the photos on the left, you can see the top one looks faded, with less contrast and the colors are not as vibrant.  While the bottom has far more contrast and just looks better in general. Now they both received the exact same edits, and were both worked on in my Adobe RGB color profile. So what's the difference?  The top photo I exported without designating the color profile, the bottom, I converted into......sRGB!

Now you are probably asking, "Jeff, I thought you said sRGB has a much lower color scale? Why would you use the profile when you exported?!" As I mentioned early other programs may not recognize the profile you use.  ProPhoto RGB for example may just have more color range than a media platform can handle.  So when you post your photos there the program has to compensate and usually it doesn't do very well at that and so....your photos suffer. Here is the secret,  sRGB while is more limited in its color range, is compatible with almost every platform, print shop, and program out there. Now how do you keep the control of a wider color profile while being able to keep your results?  Simple      

Yes again work it whatever color profile you prefer.  Just once you are done, I would do 2 simple steps. These steps I should mention are Photoshop specific, though I'm sure most other edit programs would have a similar option.  First safe a file version with all your layers, I personally prefer TIFF.  This allows me to save all my layers and I can make non-destructive adjustments later to my original photo if I learn new techniques or just need to make some sort of change. The second thing I would do, is make a second export and when you do, convert to sRGB.  This is done by simply clicking a box in the bottom right corner of the Export panel.  What this does is saves the colors and work of your photo but in a way that sRGB can understand.  Essentially you get the best of both world, advanced color control and multi platform compatibility.  

So thats what I meant when I said you should and shouldn't limit to a single color profile.  Work in the profile that you prefer, but any shots you plan to share make sure to save a converted copy in the sRGB format.  Hope this was helpful or at least interesting.  If you guys have more to discuss or just want to share something feel free to comment down below.  Thanks everyone, snap on. 

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