Do you value good-looking photos with bright and authentic colors after printing? With a sufficient knowledge of color profiles, it’s easy for you to produce high-quality photos. But what are these profiles anyway? How do they improve print results and what does color space have to do with it? You can get an overview of the topic in our guide.

What are color profiles?

As a user of photography, you’ve probably noticed that colors can differ significantly based on the type of medium they’re seen on. On a smartphone they may be intensely bright, but on a tablet they look plain (or vice versa). The differences often occur even on similar devices. For example, two different laptop models or PC monitors can each give the photos their own color note. Color profiles are responsible for this.

Color profiles (also known as ICC profiles) are the way devices reproduce colors. In many cases, the reproduction of colors does not match the prints. This is a problem because, as a dedicated photographer, you probably want to see what the final product will actually look like after printing. So if you want to edit a photo, you can’t avoid dealing with this issue.

The set of colors, hues, and brightness levels is called a color space. The term is often applied to printers. But you can also talk about color spaces on a monitor.

Replace the color profile for a better display

A color profile is easy to replace on your work device. This saves you work and is much more likely to give you the results you want. Keep in mind: It’s all about how it looks on the device, not the actual photo quality. This means that a color profile does not necessarily affect the photo. That’s why colors on prints sometimes differ so significantly from how they appear on the final device.

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What are the profiles?

There are many color profiles you can use. But it is often enough to familiarize yourself with the three most important ones: CMYK, sRGB, and Adobe RGB. Chances are you’ll use them throughout your photography career.


The CMYK color profile is a good choice when working on prints (such as brochures or business cards). It uses the four colors cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow (yellow), and key (black). Although it’s only a handful of colors, you can create many different shades by mixing them.


If you’re working on a web presentation or print, sRGB is a good choice. The colors have a slight paleness, but you can rely on an authentic color result with strong contrasts. It’s also compatible with many printers and monitors.

Adobe RGB:

The Adobe RGB color profile is also suitable for editing photos. It is comparable to sRGB, but is characterized by many more colors. Especially on the screen it looks good. However, the colors appear somewhat weaker after the printing process.

How can the profiles improve the print result?

There are several ways to improve print results. One simple method is to get canvas color profiles. Connect them to the file that contains your photo and synchronize the data. This will make the colors on the device look like they do after printing. Another possibility starts directly on the device or monitor. By calibrating it correctly, you can also ensure authentic color results.

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