FAQ | Color in Lightroom
Find answers to common questions asked about Color in Lightroom
In the Develop module, by default, Lightroom renders previews using the ProPhoto RGB color space. ProPhoto RGB contains all colors that digital cameras can capture, making it an excellent choice for editing images.
Library, Map, Book, and Print modules in Lightroom render colors in the Adobe RGB color space. The Adobe RGB gamut includes most colors that digital cameras can capture together with some printable colors (cyans and blues, in particular) that cannot be defined using the smaller, web-friendly sRGB color space.
Lightroom also uses Adobe RGB for:
- Rendering images in the second window. For more details, see Display the Library on a second monitor.
- Images printed in the Draft mode. To know more about the print settings, see Work with print job options and settings.
- Books sent to Blurb.com
Lightroom uses sRGB by default for:
- Slideshow and Web modules
- Images exported as JPEGs destined for the web and email
- Uploaded web galleries and PDF slideshows
- Images published to Facebook and other photo-sharing sites using the the Publish Services panel
- If you export books as PDF or JPEG from the Book module, you can choose sRGB or a different color profile.
To find related Help articles on these topics, refer to Lightroom User Guide.
When you import raw images into Lightroom, the first thumbnails you see are the embedded thumbnails in your images. Your camera automatically generates the thumbnails based only on your camera's settings; not Lightroom's default settings for camera calibration.
After importing images and applying Preview settings (whether you chose to generate "full-sized" previews upon import), Lightroom generates thumbnails and previews based on its default settings for camera calibration, in addition to any Develop module preset you may have selected to apply while importing images.
In the Basic panel of the Develop module, instead of using the default Adobe Color profile, select the appropriate Camera Matching profile for your camera model to approximate the look of how your camera processes the image.
Camera Matching profiles attempt to match the camera manufacturer’s color appearance under specific settings. Use Camera Matching profiles when you prefer the color rendering offered by your camera manufacturer’s software.
For more information, see Apply a profile to your image.
Lightroom is working in the expected manner when you see your raw images in color in the Develop module. Raw images are always captured in color, if the sensor in your camera is a color sensor. Raw image files contain the raw sensor data, which has all the color information embedded.
When you apply any in-camera settings such as monochrome or black-and-white while capturing images, those settings are useful only for JPEG images and not the raw image. The monochrome preview that you see on your camera's display screen is either the captured JPG file (if you shoot JPEG + RAW) or the JPEG preview thumbnail embedded in the raw image; your camera automatically generates these thumbnails based only on your camera's settings.
When you import raw images into Lightroom, the first thumbnails you see are the embedded thumbnails in your raw images.
You can convert your raw images to monochrome grayscale images in Lightroom using the Black & White Mix option in the B&W panel of the Develop module. Additionally, you can also choose to apply these develop settings to your images during import.
For related information, see the following help resources:
An advantage of shooting raw images is that the resulting capture is open to various renderings without any destruction of the original data. You can change and alter the image to make it look the way you want.
To know more about the public archival format for digital camera raw data, read Digital Negative (DNG).
The Library module and the second window use different color spaces and methods of rendering image previews than the Develop module. To speed up the curation process inside the Library module, pre-rendered image previews are displayed. These previews are lossy compressed 8-bit JPEGs in Adobe RGB. Depending on the photo, some loss of image details and color differences might happen.
Previews in the Library module and the second window are displayed using the Adobe RGB color space. In the Develop module, by default, Lightroom displays previews using the ProPhoto RGB color space.
These differences, sometimes, make images look different.
View your images in the Develop module at 1:1 zoom level or higher. Develop module previews are the most accurate at these zoom levels.
You can select an appropriate profile in the Basic panel of the Develop module. For more information, see Apply a profile to your image.
No; such a setting is not available at the moment.
Lightroom's Print module uses Adobe RGB color space to display image previews and when printing in the draft mode, the Develop module by default displays previews using the ProPhoto RGB color space, which is a large gamut that contains all the colors that digital cameras can capture. Printer devices use CMYK to describe colors.
Because of these varying color spaces, image colors often look different depending on where you view them. To reconcile the color differences before you actually print your Lightroom photos, use the Soft Proofing panel in the Develop module to preview how colors look under various color-managed printing conditions.
Make sure that your display monitor is calibrated. To know more, see Calibrate your monitor.
Soft-proof your photo in the Develop module
Soft-proofing in the Lightroom lets you evaluate how images appear when printed, and adjust them so that you can reduce surprising tone and color shifts in the printed output.
Profile: Use the ICC profile of the specific type of paper on which you want to print your photos. Lightroom translates the image's colors to the printer's color space, so the colors appear correctly in print. Usually, the ICC profiles for different paper types are installed together with your device's printer driver. If the ICC color profiles for specific paper combination are not installed on your computer, you can download them from your device manufacturer's website.
Lighroom does not automatically show the ICC color profiles installed on your computer. You need to manually select the individual profiles to appear in Lightroom. To do so:
- In the Profile pop-up menu, choose Other.
- In the Choose Profiles dialog box that appears, select the individual color profiles to appear in Lightroom.
Once added, these color profiles will now appear in the Profile pop-up menu of the Soft Proofing panel (Develop module) as well as the Print Job panel (Print module).
Look for the Destination Gamut Warning in the Proof Preview area. Adjust those colors in your photo that are outside your printer’s rendering capabilities, denoted with red highlights in the preview area.
For more details, see Soft-proof images.
Set color management settings in the Print module
Before your print your Lightroom photos, soft-proofing allows you to adjust colors in your photos that are outside your printer's rendering capabilities. To achieve accurate color when you print on a specific type of paper, ensure that you choose the same ICC color profile that you used while soft-proofing so that Lightroom converts your photos before sending them to the printer. In the Print module, the Profile setting is present under the Color Management area of the Print Job panel.
For detailed information about the print settings in the Print module, see Set print color management.
When you export or print photos from Lightroom, you can choose a camera profile or color space to determine how the colors you see in Lightroom will appear on the target device.
For example, you can export using sRGB if you’re going to share photos online. If you’re printing (other than Draft mode) the images, you can choose a custom color profile for your device.
- Soft-proofing in the Lightroom lets you evaluate how images appear when printed, and adjust them so that you can reduce surprising tone and color shifts. For details, see Soft-proof images.
- For detailed information on setting print color management, see Work with print job options and settings.
Many browsers are not color managed and display images in sRGB no matter what color profile they use.
In addition, some social networks apply aggressive compression when you upload images to them. Therefore, your images may have more artifacts or slight color shifts from how they look when first exported from Lightroom.
Photos taken with high ISO value in low-light conditions or less-sophisticated digital cameras can have noticeable noise. Image noise is extraneous visible artifacts that degrade image quality. Image noise includes luminance (grayscale) noise, which makes an image look grainy, and chroma (color) noise, which is usually visible as colored artifacts in the image.
In the Develop module, use the luminance and color noise reduction controls in the Details panel to remove image noise.
For detailed information, see the following Help resources:
- Video: Reduce image noise
- Article: Sharpening and noise reduction
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