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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Marianne said:

 

I know that AdobeRGB has a larger & richer color space in actuality, but I was commenting on how, after the AdobeRGB is rendered as sRGB, the original sRGB appears to have richer colors. Because of that, I'm wondering if it would be better to upload sRGB. 

 

If you have a limited number of bytes for an image, and you used it to fill a broader color space such as aRGB and, thereafter, you convert such information into a narrower color space such as sRGB, you are losing color information, actually. It would have been much better to save the photo in sRGB since the beginning, indeed.

That said, at least in my experience, there is not a single printer in the world capable of printing the full-color space, whether sRGB or aRGB. So don't worry about that...

Edited by riccarbi

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1 hour ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Same here. I did a direct download of all 3 which arrived in a zip file which I unzipped, but the 2nd and 3rd files show corruption (horizontal strips of missing data).

 

Mark

 

Yes sorry about that. You were all right.

Probably a case of correcting for worse. I don't have the originals with me so it will have to wait till next week.

Again my apologies.

 

wim

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, MDM said:

 

I don't think this is the issue as all it takes to convert to sRGB from AdobeRGB is a Lightroom export or Photoshop action and let it run. The real issue is the conversion of all images to sRGB and the subsequent removal of profiles as you are suggesting. 

 

Not so easy in Photoshop Elements though which I used to produce my 1st 2,000 or so images. I had to work in aRGB, save a jpg for Alamy, then convert to sRGB and then save again with a different name or in a different location. I believe some here still use PSE.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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I am using ProPhotoRGB colour space because it has the most colour of any of the spaces.

 

I started out with ColormatchRGB in 1992 and switched to AdobeRGB in 1998 when it became available. I have since switched to ProPhotoRGB.

 

sRGB was developed for the web where smaller files are more necessary and different viewers are looking at different monitors cellphones etc that colourwise are all over the map.

sRGB is ideal for shooting news, where small files for fast uploads are necessary and the media, either monitor of newsprint, cannot handle the extra colours available in aRGB anyway.

Studio advertising shots at the other end of the spectrum can benefit from ProPhotoRGB.

 

In an RGB file detail can come from two sources. One is from differences in lumination (black to white). The other source is from subtle differences in colour. sRGB may combine subtle differences in aRGB colour into one colour when you convert it to sRGB, and therefore you loose detail that may be in a aRGB file. If the file starts out as an sRGB then the subtle colour detail will not be there in the first place. Things like subtle similar colour mottling on a butterflies wings, or the way colours blend on clothing, shades of green in a leaf.

 

A quick test on a high end colour balanced monitor is output a aRGB TIFF from RAW. Open the aRGB Tiff in photoshop. While you are looking at the aRGB Tiff, convert it in photoshop to sRGB. The change will be apparent if you are looking at the image when it changes. Close the image without saving it. Now reload the original aRGB TIFF and convert it to sRGB but when you convert it, close your eyes so you do not see the change happening. The sRGB TIFF will look the same as your memory of the aRGB TIFF. It is that small a difference for most files

.

Now open the aRGB Tiff in photoshop, convert it to sRGB Tiff and again notice the change. Save the sRGB Tiff. Now convert the changed and saved sRGB TIFF back to aRGB TIFF in photoshop with your eyes open as it changes. You will not notice any change this time because when you saved the sRGB TIFF you lost the extra aRGB TIFF color information.

 

So upgrading a sRGB file to aRGB file will not add any new colour information. The upgraded aRGB file is just an sRGB file in aRGB clothing. It is an imposter. A sheep in wolf's clothing.

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Great explanation it words anyone can understand.

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Posted (edited)

Very good explanation that illustrates just how subtle the difference between sRGB and aRGB is. If you're not watching the screen as the image changes you won't spot it. That's not to say that the differences aren't more evident when converting to CMYK for top end print applications etc.

 

A couple of things I don't quite understand

 

You say that sRGB was developed for the web where smaller files are more necessary. Time-wise maybe correct, but in reality aRGB and sRGB (and the other format?) files tend to be the the same size. It's the difference between 8 bit and 16 bit that makes the big size difference, and of course the level of compression used when storing e.g. jpg versus tiff.

 

In an RGB colour space file I thought all image data is stored as R,G,B levels? If so, doesn't all the detail come from variations in those R, G, B levels?

 

I agree totally that converting an sRGB image to aRGB can't restore the lost information. So methinks it would be rather a shame if Alamy turns out to be converting your very carefully crafted aRGB files to sRGB and stripping the profile before delivering to customer? 

 

Personally I wouldn't describe sRGB converted to aRGB as a sheep in wolf's clothing, the difference IMHO isn't that large. Maybe more like a car with 1.6 litre engine carrying  2.0 litre badge? Anyway I'm not suggesting that Alamy might be doing exactly this, but they might be (accidentally?) swapping the engine in your 2.0 litre car for a 1.6 and removing the badge before selling (at least as far as PU downloads are concerned).

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Not so easy in Photoshop Elements though which I used to produce my 1st 2,000 or so images. I had to work in aRGB, save a jpg for Alamy, then convert to sRGB and then save again with a different name or in a different location. I believe some here still use PSE.

 

Personally I wouldn't describe sRGB converted to aRGB as a sheep in wolf's clothing, the difference IMHO isn't that large. Maybe more like a car with 1.6 litre engine carrying  2.0 litre badge?

 

I don't think there are too many serious photographers using PSE alone nowadays. Most are using Lightroom, Photoshop with ACR or another high end raw converter. So this argument is a bit irrelevant. Better to focus on the main issue which you have identified.

 

I would say you did the right thing using AdobeRGB anyway. Again common sense says to use the bigger colour space and work down from that if you need sRGB. Why throw away a huge amount of colour info when you don't have to. It does not slow things down on a computer and the file size difference is miniscule. As you say it is the bit depth that makes a massive difference in speed of workflow and file size. Your car analogy may not be accurate either as you can't really say until it comes to printing what you have lost in the conversion. It is impossible to say by eye how large the differences are and what the effect will be in a CMYK conversion as it depends on the image and the printing process.

Edited by MDM

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

So upgrading a sRGB file to aRGB file will not add any new colour information. The upgraded aRGB file is just an sRGB file in aRGB clothing. It is an imposter. A sheep in wolf's clothing.

 

That's true and I think it may possibly explain the direction in which these investigations seem to be heading - i.e. the buyers only receive images in the sRGB colour space, and quite likely without a colour profile. 

 

I suspect that Alamy standardise on one colour space on the delivery side and so it probably has to be sRGB as converting all the uploaded sRGB images to aRGB before download doesn't really make a lot of sense. It certainly wouldn't make any sense at all if they were converting to aRGB and stripping the profile as most systems would assume that the images were in sRGB and the colours would look very wrong. Of course it may be that they don't strip the profile on the more expensive download options but we don't know that at this stage.

 

I had a quick scan back through the thread and the vast majority of those who have made a contribution upload in aRGB so, if proven, this will be a surprise to them (us) at least.

 

It's a pity we can't really discuss other libraries, at least some of which I know work in sRGB alone, perhaps Alamy have quietly conformed to current industry standards or perhaps they've always worked this way despite in the past specifying aRGB for uploads.

 

It's been said that this subject has been discussed time and time again on here but if there is a thread that actually states how images are delivered to the buyer I've yet to find it. I'd like to see it though, could save a lot of time.

 

 

Edited by Harry Harrison

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7 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

So upgrading a sRGB file to aRGB file will not add any new colour information. The upgraded aRGB file is just an sRGB file in aRGB clothing. It is an imposter. A sheep in wolf's clothing.

 

By converting an aRGB to sRGB you'll actually lose color information. The math is quite simple; if you use the same amount of bytes, say 8 bit per channel, for a larger color space (aRGB is larger especially in the green/blue wavelength range) and then you convert the same data to a smaller color range you'll have to compress two different colors into one, sometimes. So two different greens will be forced to merge into one because there are not enough bytes to define both greens in sRGB as you did in aRGB. Converting from ProPhotoRGB to sRGB would be even worse since it has a larger color space than aRGB. 
A possible workaround is to save all your aRGB or ProPhotoRGB images at 16-bits per channel and then, when needed, converting them to 8-bit-channel sRGB, this way you won't lose (8-bit-channel) color information.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, riccarbi said:

A possible workaround is to save all your aRGB or ProPhotoRGB images at 16-bits per channel and then, when needed, converting them to 8-bit-channel sRGB, this way you won't lose (8-bit-channel) color information.

 

Or maybe even better, keep the RAW file with a record of the non-destructive edits stored in LR catalogue or xmp sidecars? Then export aRGB or sRGB jpgs as required. That will ensure  the best quality source is always available to go back to if needed, and you can benefit from updates to RAW convertors in future. I always keep the RAWs, but I recently swapped to doing all my processing in PS CC in sRGB colour space because I find it simpler and I don't believe producing aRGB files will have any effect on my sales (especially if it turns out Alamy converts to sRGB anyway).

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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Posted (edited)

OK I've just sent an email to Alamy Contributor Services explaining my findings.

 

1) Downloaded images have no embedded color profiles (that’s not good practice)

2) The aRGB image I uploaded appears to have been converted to sRGB before the profile was stripped.

 

I included details of the tests I've carried out and copies of the original files I uploaded to Alamy.

 

I'll let you know their response.

 

Mark

 

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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On 08/07/2019 at 17:31, Allan Bell said:

When I first started with Alamy the instructions were to upload images with aRGB colour space. When you upload those images and they go to processing I was given to understand that the images are converted to sRGB and into different differing file sizes dependent on final use by Alamy.

 

Mark,  I did mention that Alamy converted to sRGB in an earlier post.

 

Allan

 

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My situation is make 2 files of the same image for my archive. A 50 megapixel DNG raw file processed in ACR. Then output a 16 bit 50 megapixel TIFF ProPhotoRGB from the DNG and further tweak that TIFF in Photoshop. Save both images to the archive.

 

It is my understanding that ACR and Lightroom use ProPhotoRGB internally, when you are adjusting the image. That is why you can save a true ProPhotoRGB image.

 

With a ProPhotoRGB 16 bit 50 megapixel TIFF I can spin off any file at any quality level to meet the needs of any client. This ability to spin off and meet any clients quality needs is very important now and in the future.

 

For financial security make a file only one time to the best of your technical ability, and then spin off many times.

 

I once worked with a writer who at a time when writers could not make a living in Canada became a multi millionaire from doing excellent work and then spinning it off.

First he wrote the book, then he spun off an illustrated book version, then he did the one hour national TV show, then he did a 1/2 hour TV series each show a chapter from the book, Then  he did an 1/2 hour TV interview series of individuals he had met when doing the original book.

 

Do excellent work once then spin it off.
 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Mark,  I did mention that Alamy converted to sRGB in an earlier post.

 

Allan

 

 

Indeed,  but that was presumably over 10 years ago, and Alamy are recently quoted as saying the following.

 

On 06/07/2019 at 07:56, MariaJ said:

I wrote contributor relations at Alamy a couple months ago and asked about colour space.  I had always assumed they preferred Adobe RGB based on what I recall used to be in the information for contributors.  When I asked which one was now preferred, I received the following response:

 

"This is totally up to you and your own workflow, but we work with Adobe RGB and ignore any embedded ICC profiles when we process your images so before sending we recommend saving all images as Adobe RGB (1998)."

 

To my mind there's no logic in requesting an aRGB file and then converting (downgrading) it to sRGB. Unless maybe Alamy believe they can do a better job of converting from aRGB to sRGB than anyone else?

 

So I felt it was worth clarifying the latest position with Alamy, and I have now received this response (in blue) from Contributor Services.

 

Here are some interesting articles on Adobe RGB vs sRGB:

 

https://digital-photography-school.com/adobe-rgb-versus-srgb-color-space/

https://kenrockwell.com/tech/adobe-rgb.htm

 

Our take on this is that pretty much everything on the internet uses sRGB - when we display images on our website we have to convert to sRGB. And to keep a consistent customer experience from viewing thumbnails and previews to buying and downloading the sales file we stick with sRGB.

 

From the articles above there are no clear cut advantages in Adobe RGB when viewing on the web or printing. We accept that contributors will have their own preferred workflows and therefore for convenience will accept images using Adobe RGB and convert them sRGB.

 

So assuming this latest statement is correct, the answer as to whether to submit AdobeRGB or sRGB to Alamy is that contributors should submit whatever is most convenient for them and Alamy will convert images to sRGB and then strip the profile. 

 

I hope that's helpful.

 

I will ask Alamy to clarify whether this conversion happens on submission i.e. their database of our images contains only sRGB versions. If so they have no way of delivering (genuine) aRGB to clients even if they ask for them. Alternatively it's possible they store whatever we submit (sRGB and aRGB with complete with their profiles) and the conversion happens at the point of display or download.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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14 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Indeed,  but that was presumably over 10 years ago, and Alamy are recently quoted as saying the following.

 

 

To my mind there's no logic in requesting an aRGB file and then converting (downgrading) it to sRGB. Unless maybe Alamy believe they can do a better job of converting from aRGB to sRGB than anyone else?

 

So I felt it was worth clarifying the latest position with Alamy, and I have now received this response from Contributor Services.

 

Here are some interesting articles on Adobe RGB vs sRGB:

 

https://digital-photography-school.com/adobe-rgb-versus-srgb-color-space/

https://kenrockwell.com/tech/adobe-rgb.htm

 

Our take on this is that pretty much everything on the internet uses sRGB - when we display images on our website we have to convert to sRGB. And to keep a consistent customer experience from viewing thumbnails and previews to buying and downloading the sales file we stick with sRGB.

 

From the articles above there are no clear cut advantages in Adobe RGB when viewing on the web or printing. We accept that contributors will have their own preferred workflows and therefore for convenience will accept images using Adobe RGB and convert them sRGB.

 

So assuming this latest statement is correct, the answer as to whether to submit AdobeRGB or sRGB to Alamy is that contributors should submit whatever is most convenient for them and Alamy will convert to images to sRGB and then strip the profile. 

 

I hope that's helpful.

 

I will ask Alamy to clarify whether this conversion happens on submission i.e. their database of our images contains only sRGB versions. If so they have no way of delivering (genuine) aRGB to clients even if they ask for them. Alternatively it's possible they store whatever we submit (sRGB and aRGB with complete with their profiles and the conversion happens at the point of display or download.

 

Mark

 

Many thanks for the clarification Mark.😵

 

Allan

 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

So assuming this latest statement is correct, the answer as to whether to submit AdobeRGB or sRGB to Alamy is that contributors should submit whatever is most convenient for them and Alamy will convert to images to sRGB and then strip the profile. 

 

Very well done for getting a coherent reply, a great step up from the other statement that they were sending out. I still don't personally understand why they can't send them out with an sRGB profile but there we are.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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As I set this particular hare running with the original post and in light of the above clarification from Alamy as quoted by Mark (thank you) I'm struggling to see any benefit in continuing with aRGB.

 

You may recall I originally posted: -

 

"This morning I submitted an image to a large and reputable lab' who advised me that they have converted my colour profile to sRGB to avoid producing "undesirable results"? In fairness they may have converted previous images I have sent to them without my knowledge."

 

As all my Canon menus only require a quick flick of the colour space switch to convert all future new images to sRGB together with both the above revelations, is anyone else sufficiently wedded to aRGB that they would be reluctant to change? and if so could you explain why. Thanks

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5 minutes ago, Richard Tadman said:

As I set this particular hare running with the original post and in light of the above clarification from Alamy as quoted by Mark (thank you) I'm struggling to see any benefit in continuing with aRGB.

 

You may recall I originally posted: -

 

"This morning I submitted an image to a large and reputable lab' who advised me that they have converted my colour profile to sRGB to avoid producing "undesirable results"? In fairness they may have converted previous images I have sent to them without my knowledge."

 

As all my Canon menus only require a quick flick of the colour space switch to convert all future new images to sRGB together with both the above revelations, is anyone else sufficiently wedded to aRGB that they would be reluctant to change? and if so could you explain why. Thanks

Are you shooting JPEGs and not raws? If raws, then the camera setting is irrelevant, it is how you convert. If JPEGs, well that is another matter.

 

I would never use sRGB as my working space in Photoshop as you are throwing away a pile of colour information that can't be retrieved. You can go from AdobeRGB to sRGB but the reverse is meaningless. You don't know what you are missing as you can't see it for the most part (just like converting in 8 rather than 16 bit). It doesn't hurt to use AdobeRGB - it adds no time or weight of any significance to any image. For all the (selective) quotes about using sRGB being as good, there are many more experts advocating AdobeRGB or Pro Photo RGB. 

 

But if you are only shooting for Alamy, then it would appear to be possibly irrelevant. 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Richard Tadman said:

As I set this particular hare running with the original post and in light of the above clarification from Alamy as quoted by Mark (thank you) I'm struggling to see any benefit in continuing with aRGB.

 

You may recall I originally posted: -

 

"This morning I submitted an image to a large and reputable lab' who advised me that they have converted my colour profile to sRGB to avoid producing "undesirable results"? In fairness they may have converted previous images I have sent to them without my knowledge."

 

As all my Canon menus only require a quick flick of the colour space switch to convert all future new images to sRGB together with both the above revelations, is anyone else sufficiently wedded to aRGB that they would be reluctant to change? and if so could you explain why. Thanks

 

I swapped to sRGB earlier this year because I find it simplifies my workflow

  • Consistent colour rendering throughout
  • Consistent histograms throughout
  • End result (a single sRGB jpg file) is suitable for multiple libraries and matches what I saw on screen during editing without needing to "proof"
  • With the web-based libraries I use I don't believe that aRGB would give more sales because the difference between correctly rendered aRGB and sRGB images on screen is very small and if clients aren't using a colour managed browser/viewer then sRGB will render better/more accurately. 

But I DO keep the RAWs so I can generate any format I want in future, or if a client requests.

 

If I wasn't keeping the RAWs I'd be working in aRGB or higher and saving as 16 bit TIFFs.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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23 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

I swapped to sRGB earlier this year because I find it simplifies my workflow

  • Consistent colour rendering throughout
  • Consistent histograms throughout
  • End result (a single sRGB jpg file) is suitable for multiple libraries and matches what I saw on screen during editing without needing to "proof"
  • With the libraries I use I don't believe that aRGB would give more sales because the difference between correctly rendered aRGB and sRGB images on screen is very small and if they aren't using a colour managed browser/viewer then sRGB will render more accurately. 

 

But I DO keep the RAWs so I can generate any format I want in future, or if a client requests.

 

If I wasn't keeping the RAWs I'd be working in aRGB or higher and saving as 16 bit TIFFs.

 

Mark

 

But if you do any pixel editing in Photoshop, then you would have to do it all over again. Also if you are working in Lightroom you are using a huge colour space very close to Pro Photo RGB in the develop module so the histograms and colour rendering are not going to be consistent.

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MDM - No; I only ever shoot in RAW and currently aRGB never jpegs, but this thread has made me doubt the "practical" benefits of aRGB v sRGB although as you will see from my original posts, those more knowledgeable than me still advocate aRGB as do you. I guess I'm struggling to see the real as opposed to the theoretical difference.
For the record I keep all my RAW files 'as shot' and save processed 16 bit TIFFS. I also use Bridge CC and PS CC for editing.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, MDM said:

 

But if you do any pixel editing in Photoshop, then you would have to do it all over again. Also if you are working in Lightroom you are using a huge colour space very close to Pro Photo RGB in the develop module so the histograms and colour rendering are not going to be consistent.

 

I no longer use LR in my workflow (I hate having to import images into a LR catalogue which doesn't automatically update when I move files using file manager or any other app). The change in histogram is also a pain (carefully adjust tonal range in LR only to find it shifts when exporting to aRGB or sRGB).

 

But I do use PS CC with inbuilt ACR. You're right about pixel editing, but in reality I very rarely revisit an image, and if I do I often find it's one I did a while ago and my standards have changed or improved so it's worth starting from scratch again. I may move away from PS CC before too long as I don't like the Adobe subscription model and other tools are almost good enough to do what I need (Affinity, On1, Acdsee, Pictorial and RawPower are all improving steadily).  I'd swap back to PSE if it had auto CA removal.

 

So keeping the RAWs and a default sRGB workflow work best for me at the moment.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for getting the info Mark.

 

My feeling is to keep working in AdobeRGB. I have three reasons.

The first is that I send files to editorial clients who print them (presumably in CMYK so it gives them more info to tweak and it's the color profile they request).

Second, to future-proof them as there will be printers that can print that gamut at some point - in fact, one fine art printer I use requests aRGB files (presumably because they can make a better print). It's the same reason I shoot in RAW. I remember reworking some images I took in 2007 in Edinburgh (in RAW with a 6MP camera) where I had knocked the +/- wheel without realizing it and ended up with a bunch of images that were way too dark but had amazing clouds and sky. I hadn't tossed the rejected RAW file and years later as LR got better I was able to recover the shadows even though they were over a stop too dark. If you keep RAW files you can rework them of course, but if you have aRGB you won't have to as printing gets better.

Third, as monitors get better and better and can see more color gradations they may well be required by stock sites just as low res images for the web used to be 500px across and now they usually want at least 1200px - Even on my laptop, a MacBookPro Retina screen, I can see the clipping when I convert certain images especially in the red/pink/magenta family (bright pinks and reds can look painfully bright in a generic sRGB space unless you tweak them, whereas they are gorgeous and true to life in aRGB).  If I compare the way my screen can render the colors in an image seen on the web to an older PC, I realize how much better screens have gotten and this is a laptop, not a high end stand-alone monitor. So, at some point all agencies will probably want AdobeRGB and perhaps even ProPhotoRGB at some point. 

 

Other than with certain reds and greens, in most cases, Alamy's conversion won't make much difference, so I don't see a reason to create two versions unless I'm sending something to a printer who requires them. My images seem to be rendered properly, although I know that the setting on my screen even when I'm on the web show a much broader gamut than a generic PC but I figure those with a generic PC screen buying images for their businesses aren't as discerning as the photo editor or art director with a high end monitor, the kind of client I'd like to be aiming for. 

 

Discouraged that Alamy, who have licensed my images to some high end publishers - both book and magazine - are now sending out sRGB. But I'm not going to add to my workflow. 

Edited by Marianne

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I sought further clarification from Alamy as to whether the conversion from sRGB occurs when they receive our images, or only when they are supplied for download or display. I also asked why the profiles are stripped. This is the reply I have received.

 

We convert on submission, we don’t store any aRGB profiles. We’ve always worked in this way and there has been no customer demand for an aRGB file. In the past, it may have been preferable to process using aRGB but in reality, as a contributor it’s down to your preference. The images will be displayed on Alamy as sRGB.

 

We provide the images to the end user with the profile stripped because this is the most compatible and efficient way to do so. Software that supports colour profiles will assume that images without an embedded profile are in the sRGB profile. Software that doesn't support colour profiles will use monitor's profile, which is most likely to be sRGB as well in most cases.

 

I queried this reply, as I felt sure that when I first joined Alamy (in 2010) Alamy asked for AdobeRGB format submissions and the SizeChecker application (NB. not an Alamy application) also gives a profile warning if the profile isn't AdobeRGB. I've just had a phonecall from James Allsworth at Alamy who confirmed that the answer in blue above is correct and has been at least since 2005 when he joined Alamy. 

 

So there's the definitive answer which James said he was happy for me to post here. (Thanks James)

 

Mark

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47 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

So there's the definitive answer which James said he was happy for me to post here.

 

Excellent, a long thread and a lot of work for you, but worth it.

 

I don't want to sound churlish but if they'd posted that statement publicly to all contributors when they joined up none of this would have been necessary. Commercially sensitive? Surely not.

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