Images Appear Washed Out

Oh boy, now you've done it, asking such a *BIG* question! To understand this you need to have a little background in the idea of COLOR MANAGEMENT (Colour Management in the Queen's English). Note this well, for it is a phrase that will surely haunt your reveries. (If you want to skip to “The Simplest Solution to your Color Woes,” as long as you understand that it will not be as complete, scroll to the bottom now…)

Essentially Color Management is the process of keeping the color in your images looking the way you want it no matter how you show it — whether this be in Photoshop or somewhere on the web, such as your OPP website.

The way that this is accomplished is by the correct use of COLOR PROFILES.

All the info you'll need to understand Color Profiling for the web is contained at the website in the link below. This is the most useful page EVER for understanding this very complex system. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless Mr. Ballard for maintaining this site:


Here's some other info you may need to make sure that you are managing your images' color correctly:

Mac Color and Gamma Settings for the Web:


The next important step is to determine whether or not you are using a Color Managed web browser. You can see a list of color managed and non-color managed browsers at Mr. Ballard's page, here. Scroll down until you see the box on the right with tan text:


Now comes the good part, where we tell you how to get your images all fixed up right purdy.

If you are using a Color Managed browser:

Images shown on your OPP site will appear color accurate, provided that you use the sRGB Color Profile in Photoshop. Most images from your digital camera will already be sRGB, but if you're not sure or need to change the profile you can do so in Photoshop by going to Edit –> Convert to Profile, and choosing sRGB as the Destination Space (it's okay if there are some extra characters after the sRGB part). Make sure not to use “Assign Profile,” you need to convert it.

If you are using a non-Color Managed browser:

All your images will appear stripped of their color profile. However, it is still advisable to follow the instructions for color managed browsers (above) and use/convert to an sRGB profile — as others who view your site may have color managed browsers. Additionally, sRGB is generally thought of as the nearest equivalent to unmanaged color. In an unmanaged browser your images may look a teensy bit “washed out,” but such is the nature of the internet. We wish and hope that the magical interweb gurus will solve this problem someday, but we don't hold out much hope.

The biggest mistake you can make for color on the web is to use Adobe RGB (1998) as your image's color profile. This is the standard profile for images you will print, but it looks baaaad on the web. I repeat DO NOT USE Adobe RGB (1998) as your profile. If you have people in your photos, this profile will make them all look as though they quaffed a chalice of tequila and spent a long night worshiping at the porcelain throne.

The Simplest Solution to your Color Woes:

For all your images, in Photoshop, go to Edit –> Convert to Profile, and choose sRGB as the “Destination Space.” Then just re-save and re-upload them. If you're okay with or like “Public” images, setting this in your Control Panel's Large and Small Image settings will help even more.

This will not be a 100% fix, as that requires the complete understanding and compliance with of the Color Management process (as described above) but it will probably help a lot!

See Also

help/cp/images-appear-washed-out.txt · Last modified: 2012/12/13 16:43 by debbie