When it comes to digital photography, Colour Spacing is very important. The color profile you choose defines the entire image.
You may not think it’s important, but there are definite advantages to choosing one over the other.
This article will take you through all the differences between sRGB vs Adobe RGB.
What Is Colour Spacing?
You may have come across color spacing on your Nikon or Canon DSLR camera. Chances are you didn’t change anything and didn’t know what either of them meant.
Basically, color space is a range of colors that are represented in a photograph. JPEGs contain up to 16.7 million colors, although no color spaces use that many.
Different ccolorspaces allow you to utilise the complete range of those 16.7 million possibilities. The difference is found in what we consider wider and narrower color spacing.
sRGB Vs. Adobe RGB
In digital photography, there are two main types of colour spaces, sRGB mode and AdobeRGB. You have the option of using both inside your camera’s settings.
You also have the option of converting your images later during post-production. We are going to look at each of them so you can figure out which one you should use.
The Difference Between sRGB and AdobeRGB?
Bascially, AdobeRGB is the best color space. It is supposed to cover 35% more colour ranges than sRGB is able to. This means it is the best for photography.
So…is it? Not exactly.
The problem here is that the world works with sRGB much more than it does with the AdobeRGB colour space.
sRGB came first, and quickly became the industry standard. Everything is built around this colour profile; the internet, applications, video games – everything.
Even the monitor you use to read this article works on an sRGB colour space, as it only covers around 76% of the Adobe colors spectrum. You will find this by calibrating your monitor.
If you take your AdobeRGB image and upload it to the internet, the browser will change it to sRGB mode. And it will do a terrible job of it.
So, if everything runs in sRGB, why should we use AdobeRGB? You can of course use sRGB all the time for anything web based.
But you will lose colours when it comes to printing.
Printers, unlike all other technology, has started to adapt to the AdobeRGB colour space. It allows your images to hold onto more colours, making them more vibrant than your monitor will show you.
Even if the image looks different than what you see before printing it, we recommend this as the best way. Better to have stronger images in your hands and duller images on the screen.
If you photograph in AdobeRGB, you can convert your images to the sRGB colour space at any time. However, you can’t do the reverse. You won’t be able to add more colours into your images in this manner.
If you’re not printing your images and only keep them on social media, stay with sRGB. This is the way to ensure your images look the best and most accurate compared to what your monitor tells you.
If you are printing your images, change the in-camera colour space setting to AdobeRGB. You can convert it and have an sRGB version for all the online stuff. It will add a few steps, but they aren’t complicated.
There is a very quick way to tell if your image is using the sRGB or AdobeRGB colour profile.
Adobe RGB images start with an underscore, such as _MG_0543.jpg. Pictures captured in the sRGB color space start with the letter I, as in IMG_0543.jpg
Pros and Cons
As we mentioned before, AdobeRGB has a wider range of colours. It provides a more vibrant look to your images and offers the best option for printing.
The biggest benefit is that images with the AdobeRGB color space can be converted to sRGB mode for any web purposes.
As far as drawbacks go, this method complicates your workflow somewhat. It also will not display correctly for web without being converted.
The benefit of working with the sRGB mode colour space is that it is simplified. You don’t need to change anything or think about it during printing or editing.
It displays on the web exactly how you see it on the monitor. It will work well for prints, giving you an exact copy.
The biggest drawback is you cannot convert these to Adobe colors at a later date. It is much better to have archival digital images as AdobeRGB and convert to sRGB when you need it.
Just as AdobeRGB has a wider range of colours, the sRGB color space has narrower.
How to Change the Colour Space In-Camera
To change the colour space for Canon cameras, follow these steps:
- Go to Menu
- Locate the menu with the camera icon
- Here you will see the Color space option
- Click on it using the Set button
- Choose the one you want and press set again
To change the colour space for Nikon cameras, follow these steps:
- Go to the Menu
- Locate the Shooting Menu and highlight the Color space option
- Press OK
- Select Adobe RGB and press OK again
How to Convert Your Images
Simply go into Edit>Preferences>External Editing and adjust your color space to sRGB under the Edit to Photoshop section.
This technique is the better one. It’ll automatically convert all images you export to Photoshop to sRGB, without any color loss in the web format.
This also allows you to keep both an AdobeRGB and sRGB version.
Edit>Convert To Profile and change your destination space to the sRGB mode after editing your image. This is a huge pain to do every time you save an image. The best way is to create an action for this process.
If you fail to convert your images will result in dull and unflattering colors and tones.
If you are working with internet-based images, sharing on websites and social media platforms, keep the sRGB colour space. There is no point making your workflow more complicated.
All web-based media uses the sRGB profile, down to the monitors that the viewers will use to see your images.
If you want to print your images, then opt for the AdobeRGB color space. this will give your images the biggest colour range.
For me, it makes sense to shoot in Adobe colors and convert to sRGB when I need to. This allows me to get the best from printing and online images.
Using only sRGB mode wouldn’t allow me to convert back to the Adobe RGB color space.