Export to disk, ICC options

In PL for Windows, in the export to disk option, in the ICC profile dropdown list, the top option is ‘Original’. What does that actually mean? A RAW file has no colour space so it has no ‘Original’ profile so what profile is PL actually applying? PL’s ‘original’ / native working space of AdobeRGB? Or is it reading the Exif data and applying whatever the camera was set to for the in-camera JPEG?

Whatever it is doing, it’s not doing it correctly because when the exported TIFF is opened in Affinity Photo, AP says the file is not profiled and so applies whatever is set in AP as the default working space.

Further, even if the ICC profile is set to sRGB (or AdobeRGB) the TIFF exported by PL is still considered to be unprofiled when opened in Affinity Photo.

Dear @stuck,

maybe this information by @Pieloe helps?

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Hmm, it depends what this bit means:

When exporting, the image is definitely converted. The default color space proposed is “ as (requested) when shooting ” (although this indication is only necessary for the direct JPEG file). The conversion can explicitly be in sRGB, Adobe RGB or any other color space defined by an ICC Color Profile

Does ‘as requested when shooting’ equate to the option for ‘original’?

Perhaps @Pieloe can bring more clarity to the topic



I think original means to use the color space that the camera was set to when the raw was recorded. It’s true raw records a much wider color space but still there is a camera menu where the color space can be set and the raw file is tagged with this color space in the metadata.

So choosing original just sets this color space.

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Just exported a set of seven Canon .cr2 files that were shot with different cameras and space set to sRGB or Adobe RGB respectively. Export was to JPEG with As Shot, Adobe, ProPhoto and sRGB, delivering 28 output files in total. (Simplified names for ease of writing)

Colour space names can occur in more than one place:

  • 28 occurrences of EXIF Interoperability Index, which read as
    “R03 - DCF option file (Adobe RGB)” or
    “R98 - DCF basic file (sRGB)”

  • 16 occurrences of ICC Profile Description, which read as
    “Adobe RGB (1998)” or

  • 44 occurrences of EXIF Color Space, which read as
    “Uncalibrated” or
    " sRGB"

  • etc.

As we can see, ExifTool showed different tags saying something about the colour space or -profile or CMS, which I’ve not shown above.

Depending on which software reads/writes the tags, other apps can show all kinds of seemingly strange information. DPL 5.4 has solved the problem by not showing anything of that kind altogether.

Also, DPL, Lightroom Classic and Capture One write different tags, which makes the discussion about what is correct, obsolete imo. There seems to be no single truth here. Interoperability is way more important and it seemed to work out in my tests.

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MikeR gave us the details.

Color management in PhotoLab is not professional level. I struggled with this for more than 2 years, but I have long since realized that I am in the role of Don Quixote and his struggle with windmills.
The truth is that professional color management is not a priority for the DXO team. I advise you to accept it and not waste your time.
I export with the custom option and verify the export result in another software. It’s not a good workflow, but there’s no other way.
Somewhere towards PhotoLab 7 I might check if there is a positive change regarding color management. But I highly doubt it…

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I’d be tempted to go further and suggest PL’s colour management is not even advanced amateur level. It’s a pity. I’ve noted in other posts that I know of people who have ditched PL because of this.

Please can you give more details of this workflow?


There are at least 2 elements in a photo file (JPG, TIFF) that relate to color management.
The first element is a simple tag that specifies what the color space of the photo is. PhotoLab places it correctly.
The second element is the color profile itself, which is a kind of table of correspondence between a specific real color and the numerical value that corresponds to it. Here is the problem of PhotoLab. 2 years ago it only put this profile on files exported with the “AdobeRGB” and “Custom” options.
That’s why I export with the “Custom” option. In this option, PhotoLab asks for the profile to use to export the image. Since I use Nikon equipment and their old software, I set the Nikon’s sRGB profile. In Windows, the color profiles are located in the folder: C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\color.
The file exported in this way has a color profile attached and color surprises are not expected afterwards.
I check the exported files in another software. I use the Nikon browser, but any other photography application with correct color management can be used for this purpose.
I do this check because I don’t trust the color management in PhotoLab. On the other hand, a final look over the photos before they are sent to clients is always helpful.

Koko :slight_smile:

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Interesting. As far as I can see PL5 doesn’t do that because when I open a TIFF exported from PL5 in Affinity Photo, even when exported using the AdobeRGB option, AP says the file is unprofiled. I will try using the ‘Custom’ option and report back later.

I like Koko’s approach to export workflow and always embed an ICC profile. As he points out, only the AdobeRGB and Custom export selections (of the four) will actually embed a profile. This seems both odd and confusing, and I’m being charitable here. You can check whether a profile is embedded or not by using something like ExifTool. I know that Affinity Photo is a sophisticated program – can you tell it how to read color tags vs embedded profiles or how it should sort out possible ambiguities in color metadata?

Related - Elle Stone provides a rich selection of her custom “well-behaved” and non-proprietary ICC profiles on GitHub.

Interesting. PL does embed an icc profile only when using custom. Exporting an image with just sRGB and another with AdobeRGB gives me 2 different images when viewing in IrfanView, which is color management based. But IrfanView still tells me ColorSpac:Uncallibrated/Unknown(-1), also when using the custom option.


It seams when exporting as TIF the icc profile is included but still no color space mentioned.


I think IrfanView is not up to this particular task. Maybe try again using ExifTool.

I think it is. Watch the differences.
You can use any browser where you can switch off the color management. I just use IrfanView.


Please add a link.

I’m not Ellen neither eriepa but
GitHub - ellelstone/elles_icc_profiles: Elle Stone’s Well-Behaved ICC Profiles and Code

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Thank-you, Guenterm - yes, that’s the link. Some interesting background and origin stories for these profiles can be found at: Elle Stone's well-behaved ICC profiles and code

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George - in your example I think IrfanView may just be giving color tag metadata. ExifTool will give you the whole story.