Lightroom Classic: Exported images differ from Lightroom - color management

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I love Lightroom and the whole Adobe suite and think you guys are doing a great job.  This is just a feature I wanted to suggest that would make my life (and probably lots other people struggling to find a balance for their images across a variety of screens and devices) a whole lot easier.

If you guys could add the ability to select color profiles to be used in Lightroom it would be a huge help.  I know Lightroom is "color independent" and I assume it is very accurate.  I have calibrated my monitor with a Spyder Pro and done everything I can to make sure my screen is accurate.  My exported images look much darker and more saturated in Windows Photo Viewer or a web browser.  I am exporting as sRGB for the web, but even when I soft proof for sRGB it does not appear how it will export.  I know what I see is correctly calibrated, but when my clients or others see my images on the web un-calibrated, that is 95% of the viewers of my images and that is the opinion I care about. I am not worried about "accuracy" as someone on a forum might argue that "their screen is right and everyone else is wrong".  I'd prefer to be able to put out images that are technically not accurate but will display the way I want them to when viewed by clients on the majority of devices.

If we could either apply different color profiles to Lightroom or, even better, have a settings window to apply tweaks in Lightroom to somewhat calibrate our viewing experience within Lightroom that would be a huge help.  Then we could hold up a phone next to the screen, tweak it to match our phone screen and save that as a profile in Lightroom.  That would allow us to easily and quickly check to see what the image will look like on that phone from that point on, before exporting.  I currently have to over brighten my images to get them to come out bright enough for other devices, but it is a guessing game until I export and test it out.  That makes my work a very slow, trial and error process.  I can check the images on the same monitor I am editing on, I just currently have to check them outside of Lightroom to get a better idea of what it will look like on other devices.

Another possible solution would be some form of preview or proofing mode that would allow for that like you can do with printers and paper types.  Hopefully this idea is helpful and I am not wasting your time.  I appreciate all that you guys do.


Thank you!
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Scott Milholland

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Posted 6 months ago

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Tim McMahon

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If you are exporting your files in the sRGB colour space then you are doing the best you can for display on other users' random screens on the web.  You have no control over and no way of knowing whether people viewing your images have well calibrated/profiled monitors. As far as colour is concerned sRGB is the best compromise.

The brightness is a different issue, which usually comes up in the context of 'my prints are too dark'.  (See this http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml)

Nevertheless, if it is your experience that your exported images most look too dark on a random selection of other screens I would suspect your own editing environment.  My guess is that your own monitor is set too bright, your initial editing will be setting exposures, brightness and contrast to compensate, with the effect that when the exported images are viewed on other screens they appear too dark.  With due respect to your Spyder Pro, which may indeed make a good colour profile for your screen, one of its starting points for building the profile is the brightness you have set.  If your monitor is too bright then the output will always look darker on another device with more normal brightness settings.
I'd start by lowering the brightness on your monitor, and re-profiling.

Just my 2¢



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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"My exported images look much darker and more saturated in Windows Photo Viewer"

Windows Photo Viewer is not color-managed and ignores the profile assigned to your display by the Spyder. Thus, it isn't accurately showing how the photo will appear on other displays. 

To see an accurate rendering of the colors, use a color-managed viewer such as Irfanview (you need to enable color-management) or a browser like Chrome. (Edge is not fully color-managed.)