Converting versus Embedding Profile


Today’s Question: Is converting photos to the sRGB color space the same as embedding the profile in the image. If so, how do you do that?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Converting the image causes changes in the RGB color values based on the definitions in the destination profile. Embedding a profile ensures that software supporting color management will understand how to interpret the color values in the image. These can be two separate processes, although in Lightroom they are combined into a single process.

More Detail: In Lightroom the process of converting an image to a specific profile is accomplished during the export process, and therefore involves both converting and embedding in a single step. In the Export dialog you simply choose an option from the Color Space popup in the File Settings section, and the images you export will be converted to the selected profile and that profile will be embedded in the resulting files.

In Photoshop the process generally involves two steps. First you can convert an image to any desired profile with the Convert to Profile dialog, which can be accessed by choosing Edit > Convert to Profile from the menu. To embed the current profile in a saved image you can turn on the “Embed Color Profile” checkbox in the Save As dialog.