Lightroom Mobile: Color science, color space problems exporting/editing/sharing across Lightroom ecosystem

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Hello, I’m not sure if I’m the only one with this problems, any tips or help would be much appreciated.

#1. Color space: Lightroom mobile you cannot choose what color space you can edit images in (sRGB,adobe rgb,prophoto) and thats a problem because when exporting or sharing image they look completely different. Here’s example: picture #1 below you can see in Lightroom iOS app how picture looks while editing, picture #2 when it’s shared with other people and opened on web browser, as you can see the colors look nothing like they meant to while edited, so whoever downloads the image will get wrong images.
I know that mobile app now supports exporting settings and you can choose color space at the export but images look different after they have been exported.
I want the images to look exactly the same when I share them with the customers, because most people won’t understand what color space is and how to choose right one, they just want to hit download button and get what they asked

#2 Lightroom ecosystem: between all 3 Lightroom (Cc,mobile,classic) there’s a difference in color science, color space, color management and picture profiles.
Even when I set all the settings the same, for example set color space sRGB in Lightroom CC when I open Lightroom classic same image and same settings the image look different.
With my monitor calibrated and set to color space to sRGB

#3 Camera matched Picture profile: I don’t know if it’s the camera that I use but when I import images on a PC into Lightroom CC, after they are uploaded into the cloud and I open same images in Lightroom mobile, it says Profile is missing. Picture #3 below.
When I hit continue it changes profile to adobe color, which is flat color adobe look and that’s not what I want to edit in, I want to edit picture that looks same as when I took it with my camera.
I currently shoot with canon eos r
And that’s a problem again with the ecosystem which adobe claims we can access same pro quality on mobile.

I hope adobe reads this and try to fix it, and if someone has Solution to my problems please let me know. Thanks everyone and happy holidays!

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Sam Binary

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Posted 6 months ago

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Edmund Gall

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Happy Holidays, Sam! I don't have all the answers, so just sharing the bit I know. Colour space discussions can get very technical very quickly, so to keep it short, I'll be leaving out quite a lot. I recommend you do some reading on your own to understand how today's tech handles colour, and what it takes to have a fully colour managed workflow during photo editing.

NOTE: I'm writing the following based on my recollection of what I've read over several years, so some of it might be wrong. If any reader spots an error, please let us know. Cheers!

#1. I'm not sure what colour space LR Mobile edits in. LR Classic edits in ProPhoto RGB by non-configurable default and we choose which colour space is attached to versions of any photo created during the export stage; I'm presuming all versions of LR do the same. This is not a bug, and there are very good reasons to operate this way. See here for a simplified overview: https://digital-photography-school.com/everything-need-know-lightroom-colour-space/

Several things have to be aligned for an image to look the same on two different devices. For starters, those devices need to be properly colour calibrated and both be able to display the same colour space gamut. Most users do NOT have calibrated devices – especially mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. In fact, even if calibrated, different models of the same device might display differently because they physically do not display the same colour space gamut, e.g. shown with iPads: https://ipadforphotographers.com/tag/color-management/

This is the main reason why all users won't be able to see exactly what you see. It has nothing to do with LR.

Apart from the device, the viewing application can also cause issues. The standard colour space for web viewing is a much smaller colour space, sRGB: this is not configurable either. I recall some web browsers are better at portraying colour than others, but the reason escapes me. Thus, the way a complex photo processing app displays a photo may be different to that used by the viewing app (e.g. web browser).

Finally, other factors (e.g. ambient lighting, border/frame colour) can affect how a photo's colours look. This does not even touch on the fact that each human interprets colour differently. So having any expectation of exact colour rendering in all circumstances by all users needs heavy management (and is still impossible). LR is just one aspect of the chain, and is not (usually) the root cause of the differences.

#2 & 3. Colour profile and picture profile are two different things. I'm leaving it to others to answer how to handle the "Missing Profile" error message. I'm interested in the answer as I get that for any photos I process on LR Classic with custom picture profiles (eg. produced using the ColorChecker Passport) when I open them in LR Mobile on my tablet.

However, regarding your statement: "When I hit continue it changes profile to adobe color, which is flat color adobe look and that’s not what I want to edit in, I want to edit picture that looks same as when I took it with my camera."

I'm not familiar with the Canon EOS-R, but if you're expecting the image to look the same on the back of the camera and on your iPad, it won't for pretty much the same reasons as given above (even if both devices had the same Picture Profile). Most Canon cameras display a JPEG version of what was captured (even if you shoot raw): so that viewing image (as opposed to the actual image file) will have sRGB attached in-camera (or Adobe RGB, I think, depending on how you configured your camera – others can correct me if this is wrong). Raw photos have no colour space attached. If you pull a raw image (i.e. CR3) file into LR, LR applies ProPhoto RGB to display & edit the photo. However, your monitor (even if calibrated), will display a subset of that extremely large ProPhoto RGB colour space: so the image on your computer/mobile device won't look like it does on the back of your EOS-R. In fact, raw images tend to look very flat colour-wise compared to their viewing versions displayed on the back of the camera they were created on.

And, frankly, it's okay that it does. If your client is a photo editor, chances are they will understand this and be able to judge accordingly (including take steps to have proper viewing tech, etc. if required). If your client is the general public, they won't notice or care that the shade of red displayed by LR Mobile is different to that displayed by their web browser when viewing the image on lightroom.adobe.com.

Hope this helps...

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Sam Binary

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Thanks, very well written I’ll be looking into it more.
But the last part about raw images I understand how RAW files work and don’t expect them to look the same as back of my camera , my problem is when I’m done editing raw file I expect jpeg to look the same after export as I edited them. And as you mentioned they won’t because each device is made differently but if i open same images or export them on same device that I edited them on dont you expect them to look same?
(Edited)
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Philippe Coudé du Foresto

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if i open same images or export them on same device that I edited them on dont you expect them to look same?
It depends of the application used to display the image. If the application is not color managed (like Photo in Windows), it won't take in account the profile of your monitor.
Worst, if your photo has been exported with Adobe RGB 98, the application will ignore this info and display the photo as if it was encoded in sRGB, resulting in a pale image.
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Philippe Coudé du Foresto

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Raw photos have no colour space attached
They can't have one, because RAW are not an image. Colour space is used to describe a colour within an an image, so the value stored in the image file (jpeg, tiff, etc.) can be used to print or display a color.
But RAW files are not image file. In short, they are files containing electrical values issued by the different photosite of the sensor. Then, you need a special process (generally called derawtisation),
to interpret these electrical values and generate an image. It's during this process, since you will create colour values, that you need to use a colour spaces.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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(Edited)
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Sam Binary

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Thank you for linking those topics I’m going to try some of the tips from them as well.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Make sure to click on the 'Me To' and 'Follow' buttons at those posts.

I'm really surprised more people haven't complained about these color management issues. It may be an indication that "serious" photographers simply aren't using these LR "Cloud" apps or have and abandoned them because of these and other issues. At one of my posts on this issue a color management expert replied "Not sure I fully understand what's wrong. What is the "LR Web App"? I guess that sums it up!
(Edited)