Colour space is one of the most confusing topics in digital photography. Every day I see questions popping up on social media about them. The most common one being something along the lines of “Why does the colour on Facebook not look like it did in Photoshop?”
Well, here to demystify colour spaces and talk about LAB, Adobe RGB 1998, ProPhotoRGB and sRGB is Aaron Nace from Phlearn. He breaks down the differences between them, tips on how to choose which colour space to work in and which to use when exporting your final images.
- 0:57 Brief Background on Colour Spaces
- 1:37 Common Colour Spaces
- 3:04 Colour Space Uses
- 4:32 Colour Settings in Photoshop
- 9:32 Assigning Colour Profiles to RAW
- 12:50 Colour Settings from Lightroom to Photoshop
- 14:08 Colour Settings for Export from Lightroom
Aaron begins by offering some basic background on colour spaces and how much we can see with our eyes – which is somewhere between 2-8 million colours. He then quickly moves onto LAB colour, and how the popular colour spaces (sRGB, Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB) fit within it.
But why do we have different colour spaces? Well, it all boils down to how many and which colours different devices can display. Not all screen technology is created equally, as we’re reminded each time a new TV, monitor, phone or tablet is released. So colour profiles allow some level of consistency (in theory, at least – the reality is often quite different) to display the most natural range of colours to the viewer.
Despite being the smallest colour profile, sRGB is typically the profile of choice for most devices. Because there are fewer colours, it’s easier to display the results properly. It’s the profile that web browsers use (at least by default) as well as most mobile device operating systems and apps.
So, if you just want to see consistency throughout devices and a basic answer to “Which one should I use?” without delving too deep into it, then the answer is sRGB. Just keep it simple and use sRGB for everything.
But if you want to know why you might want to choose Adobe RGB, ProPhoto RGB or one of the many other colours spaces out there, then you’ll have to watch the video above.
Aaron shows some demonstrations, dispels some myths, and talks about how to set up different colour spaces as well as how to convert them.