Working color space

Started Apr 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
joey_B Veteran Member • Posts: 3,080
Re: Working color space

10sj03 wrote:

Thanks for your reply. I think I follow your logics and they make sense. When I attended a photography class a while ago, the instructor recommended us to set camera to Adobe RBG and shoot raw. He also said to set Lightroom working color space to ProPhoto. His views are to set to the largest color space available.

A good instructor would have told you 'why'... First to set right a misconception, sRGB doesn't 'fit' into CMYK (a printers profile), but it overlaps a great deal. Some blues can't be printed but can be displayed, some lighter colors and yellows can be printed but not be viewed. If you want complete control over all of those colors, you would use a working space that encompasses them all. That's ProPhoto, talking RGB-system, or you could work in a totally different color SYSTEM, like L*ab.

My question is if my monitor can only display sRBG, would it be the limiting factor because I won't be able to edit what I can't see on screen due to the limited sRGB space?

It will be limiting if you don't know what kind of clipping occurs when colors are not-viewable. Also you have to be very aware on how colors are 'translated' from one device (camera)with sRGB through ProPhoto to a CMYK device (your printer)If you are editing colors that you can't see, you might be suprised about the printing output. But if you are aware of that, and use the soft-proofing function in PS with the gamut mismatch warning on, you can have a good idea where the colors you see don't match the colors you print. You can use that to your advantage.

For a beginner, it would make more sense to work in sRGB (because that is the defacto 'unmanaged' standard for most people), and try to get a translation to CMYK as good as possible. You are cutting out 2 additional translation steps that way. When you get further into photography, you can delve into color management, and set up the system another way.

As to what I want to do with finish image - both print by lab and for the web. For the web I change it to sRGB as a final step.

That is possible. Make sure to choose the rendering intent that fits you most. Especially when using giant spaces like ProPhoto the translation to a smaller space like sRGB might become an issue. You can read up on this on

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