Color Space and WordPress

August 29, 2014

Regular readers of this blog may recognize the above image from a previous post. However, you have not seen the original photo that caused me such problems when writing that post. Below you will see two versions of the same photo. The first is the original jpeg conversion from an Olympus Raw file. The second is a slightly different conversion. The only difference between the two is the color space.

I noticed I was getting strange color shifts in my jpegs when I uploaded them to my blog, and I couldn’t figure out why. The shift tended to add a greenish tint to everything and this was especially problematic with portraits. Nobody wants a green tint in their skin tones.

Interestingly, these tones only appeared when the photo was displayed in WordPress. When looking at the photo in Lightroom, Photoshop, or Apple Preview there was no color shift. Moreover, when I clicked on the photos to enlarge them, they displayed in the browser (not in WordPress) and the color shift problem also disappeared. I knew this couldn’t be a problem with my monitor, although I confess I’ve never calibrated my 27″ iMac.

I had been ignoring this obvious problem for a while, but I finally found time to do a little searching on the internet and found some posts that indicated that WordPress needs the sRGB colorspace to accurately display photos. My original conversions were into the default ProPhoto RGB space from the Raw files. I converted to sRGB and voilà, problem solved.

Rebekah

Rebekah – ProPhoto RGB Color Space

Rebekah

Rebekah – sRGB Color Space

If you “Save for Web” in Photoshop you probably won’t have this problem; however, I always “Save as” to the jpeg format in order to preserve the EXIF data for social media platforms. Using the “Save as” function also preserves the color space settings.

If you are having this issue, all you need to do is add one additional step to your processing before saving your jpeg files. Just go to Edit | Convert to Profile and select sRGB as the destination space. It’s that simple. Happy blogging!

Equipment Used

Olympus OM-D E-M1

Olympus HLD-7 Grip

Olympus 45/1.8 Lens

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