Keeping Your Color Consistent Between Lightroom and Photoshop

Yesterday at my seminar in Tampa a woman came up to me with a color consistency problem when she took an image directly from Lightroom over to Photoshop (using the “Edit in Photoshop” shortcut — Command-E on Mac or Ctr-E on Windows) and so today I thought I’d show briefly where the preferences are to make sure your image looks the same as you move between the two programs.


If you go to Lightroom’s Preferences (found under the Lightroom menu on a Mac, or the Edit menu on Windows), and then click on the External Editing tab up top to get to the preferences for how your images go over to Photoshop.

Lightroom’s native color mode is ProPhoto RGB, so to keep your color consistent between Lightroom and Photoshop, you’ll either want to:

(a) Change Photoshop’s color mode to match Lightroom’s, so both are using ProPhoto RGB, or…

(b) If you have chosen a different color space in Photoshop (let’s say, for example you only post your images to the Web, so you’ve chosen sRGB), then you want to change the External Editing Preferences color space to match it (so, you’d choose sRGB in the Color Space preferences shown above).

That’s the basics of it right there — either of the two choices above can be right depending on your workflow and where your final output normal is (to print, where I’d go with ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB or to the Web, where sRGB would be your most likely best choice).

If you’re wondering where you set your Color Space in Photoshop, go under Photoshop’s Edit menu and choose Color Settings to bring up the dialog you see below. You choose your Color Space from the Working Spaces pop-up menu next to “RGB” (as seen here where my cursor is pointing).


Hope that helps. 🙂



P.S. RC and I have taped a “20-days of Christmas” series where each day we post another holiday gift idea over on my blog — everything from lighting to camera bags and software. If you go to my blog, scroll down a few days and you’ll see the first five or six, and we post a new one every day (including weekends). Hope you find them helpful. 🙂

Author: Scott Kelby

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Editor of "Lightroom magazine"; Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books. You can learn more about Scott at

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  1. Thanks for this helpful post. I have the same issue and voila it was solved in seconds.

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  2. Hi Scott,

    I am using an iMac 27″ and when I go to Photoshop 2015.1 in preferences (General) the color picker (first item) gives a choice of Adobe or Apple….what should that be set at?

    Thanks in advance.

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  3. Wow! Thank you so much for this tip! This. Is. Great.! Been having an issue for some time with this. I’m one that hates to go into Menus are start changing this and that……You made it easy, and understandable!

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  4. 8 bits or 16 bits?

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  5. This is great advice for a new user to Lightroom because when I first started using it my export pix were so muddy and I didn’t know why so it turned me off from using LR and I just went back to Photoshop thinking this whole LR experience was a scam. Turns out it was a ProPhoto RGB issue and now all is well! Thanks for this!

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    • The next issue is making sure you know how to adjust those colors in Develop via soft proof with the color space you’re going to export/print to…

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  6. Great tip, thanks for all you do!

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  7. That was great. Thanks.

    such a simple point brings so much headache.

    you guys are the best.

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  8. Actually,on the PC the preference option is under edit and not file.

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