Happy Friday, everybody. I got this question from a reader earlier in the week, and I thought I’d answer it here because I’ve been asked this dozens of times. Here’s the question:

“Why my imported RAW files from Lightroom to Photoshop has a different color scheme (from what it normally looks in Lightroom)?! (i.e.: it gets warmer & more reddish). More interestingly, if I open that RAW file directly in Photoshop, there will not be any changes in colors.”

It’s most likely that your Lightroom and Photoshop Color space are not the same, so when you take an image from Lightroom (which uses the ProPhoto RGB profile by default) over to Photoshop (which is probably either set to Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB) it shifts the colors to that color space (and neither of those two has the depth of ProPhoto RGB, so you’re definitely going to see a shift).

The reason it doesn’t look weird when you open the RAW image directly in Photoshop is — your RAW file doesn’t have a color profile applied to it yet, so it doesn’t need to convert it (and plus, you’re not comparing it to how it looked in a different program).

OK, so what’s the fix?
Simply make sure that Lightroom and Photoshop are speaking the same language when it comes to color.

When you take a RAW image over to Lightroom, it sends a copy of the file, and it assigns a profile at that time. So, which profile does it assign? You can find out what it’s assigning by looking under Lightroom’s Preferences, under the External Editing Tab.

Above: Here are those external editing preferences, and you can see the default is ProPhoto RGB. That’s a really great choice if you’re going over to Photoshop and then coming back to Lightroom.

Now let’s go check your Color Space settings in Photoshop CC.

Above: Go under Photoshop’s Edit menu, choose Color Settings, and see what the RGB Working Space. Here’s it set to Adobe RGB (1998) which is a mismatch with the ProPhoto RGB file coming over from Lightroom. So, Photoshop will convert the file to Adobe RGB (1998) throwing away color outside its gamut.

So, we just need to get these on the same space — I would recommend (if you’re bringing the file back to Lightroom, which is likely), to switch Photoshop to ProPhoto RGB (as shown here).

Hope that helps. 🙂

I’m off to Atlanta on Sunday
I’ll be up at PPA’s Imaging USA Expo (first photography trade show of the 2019 season). I’ll be doing a book signing at the Rocky Nook Booth on Sunday at 3:oo pm, so if you’re at the show, I’d love to say hi – I hope I’ll see you there. 🙂

Then I’m off to Canada
I’m excited to be heading to Banff National Park right after that to finally get a chance to shoot there in while it’s a snow-covered winter wonderland. No work, just fun. Can’t wait!

Have a great weekend, everybody!