Color Mismatch After Export


Today’s Question: Since the last Lightroom Classic update, when I export a photo in any format, the colors of the exported image don’t “pop” and look washed out/faded in comparison to my image as viewed before export. Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated.

Tim’s Quick Answer: I suspect the issue you’re describing is being caused by an incorrect color profile, and possibly by using viewing software that is not taking the color profile into account.

More Detail: When you export a photo from Lightroom Classic you can choose which color profile should be used for the image. The options can be found on the Color Space popup in the File Settings section of the Export dialog in Lightroom Classic. For images that will be displayed digitally, such as on a computer display or smartphone, I recommend using the sRGB color profile.

The sRGB color space is well-suited for digital displays because the profile was actually originally created to encompass the range of colors that a typical monitor display was capable of reproducing. If you use a larger color space such as Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB, because that color space is likely beyond the capabilities of the display the image is being viewed on, the colors in the image will appear much more muted and possibly inaccurate.

In addition, if you’re using software that doesn’t support color management or has that support turned off, the colors will not be interpreted correctly. For a digital display if the source image is in the sRGB color space and viewed with software that isn’t using color management, the colors will probably remain relatively accurate. However, if an image that is in the Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB color space is viewed with software that doesn’t support color management, the colors will likely appear quite muted and possibly somewhat inaccurate.