While it’s true that the Adobe RGB (1998) color space is able to map a broader range of colors than the more common sRGB color space, it may not be the ideal working model for all types of photography. In particular, Adobe RGB (1998) is not well suited for those photographers using larger commercial labs to make prints and professional photo book for their clients as many of them (Zookbinders included) only support industry standard sRGB color. Additionally, the internet itself does not support Adobe RGB (1998). If you’ve ever wondered why your images look duller and less saturated in your online web galleries or on your blog than they look to you on your computer or in Photoshop, check your document profile. You may be uploading Adobe RGB (1998) files.

So how can you address this issue? To start, it is always good to shoot with the profile that will be used for the output. It gives you less ordering issues and a more streamlined and efficient process. But if you prefer to shoot with Adobe RGB for color optimization, you will want to convert images to sRGB  color if they are bound for the internet or your lab or book binder. This may be as simple as setting sRGB as your output option in Lightroom or whatever batch file processing program you use to edit raw images. Note that if in Photoshop, be sure to use the Convert to Profile…” command and NOT the “Assign Profile…”. The latter command will actually desaturate your colors much the same way a lab would print the piece if it were an sRGB only lab. When properly assigned, the profile change should not be very noticeable on your monitor if at all.

sRGB vs AdobeRGB Workspace for Print

sRGB vs AdobeRGB Workspace for Print


In conclusion:

  • Shoot in sRGB if web or commercial labs are the ultimate destination for your image files.
  • Opt for sRGB when saving/exporting from your batch processing program
  • Convert your files to sRGB (not assign) if in Photoshop

Keeping these in mind will create fewer ordering headaches and consistently yield the kind of print quality you expect.

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