Why is better to work in Adobe RGB (1998) instead of sRGB IEC1961-2.1

When one work for the Web there are two options to choose for color profile: Adobe RGB (1998) then to convert to sRGB IEC1961-2.1 or to work directly in sRGB IEC1961-2.1. Better way is to work in Adobe RGB (1998). I have tested more then 20 images for this conclusion.

I tested all my images uniformly applying exact same adjustments: Auto for Curves correction, Increase Contrast 1 in Levels adjustment and +20 for Saturation in Hue/Saturation panel always working with one copy of the image in Adobe RGB (1998) then converting it to sRGB IEC1961-2.1 before saving. With another copy I worked in sRGB IEC1961-2.1. Off course I saved images with exact same settings: as JPEG with high quality 8 from both dialogs: Save As and Save for Web & Devices. Which dialog is better? Save for Web & Devices because gives preview, preview in Browser and more control over file size.

As you can see in comparison below image with which I worked in Adobe RGB (1998) displays more saturated colors and less brighter, take a look at sky for example. Why is that? In my opinion this comes because sRGB color profile tends to keep colors in safe area (as anything else in this World this color profile like safe area) while this profile is forced to display all possible colors when converting images from larger profile. It is easy to fix brightness but increasing saturation when working in sRGB won’t help and will lead you to oversaturated colors.

Note: images are oversaturated to be more obvious what's happening with colors.

In terms of file size images converted from Adobe RGB (1998) have slightly bigger size but there is nothing to worry about, it is something about 0.5% differing from one image to another.

Photoshop / About color
Photoshop / Color modes
Photoshop / Converting between color modes


  1. Interesting - it could also be interesting to see similar test working in Prophoto and then converting to sRGB for print (most labs use sRGB) and for web ??


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