If you’re having preview problems of any description, the monitor profile is a likely suspect, especially if you’ve recently upgraded your operating system or graphics card driver, or installed a new monitor. To rule out the monitor profile as the cause of the problem, you can temporarily replace it:
- Close Lightroom.
- On Windows 7/10, go to or type in the Start menu search box. On Windows 8, use the Search charm to search for ‘color management’ and then select .
- Click the
- From the Device pop-up, select your monitor. If you have more than 1 monitor connected, pressing the Identify monitors button displays a large number on screen for identification.
- Check the Use my settings for this device checkbox.
- Make a note of the currently selected profile, which is marked as (default). If there isn’t an existing profile, you can skip this step.
- Click the Add button.
- In the Associate Color Profile dialog, select sRGB IE61966-2.1 (sRGB Color Space Profile.icm) and press OK.
- Back in the Color Management dialog, select the sRGB profile and click Set as Default Profile, and then close the dialog.
Mac OS X
- Close Lightroom.
- Go to
- Select the Color tab.
- Press the Calibrate button and follow the instructions.
- Turn on the Expert Options (hidden on El Capitan) and calibrate to gamma 2.2.
Finally, restart Lightroom and check whether everything looks correct. If it does, you’ve confirmed that the previous monitor profile was the cause of the problem. You can temporarily leave sRGB as the monitor profile, as it’s better than a corrupted one, but it would then be wise to calibrate your monitor accurately using a hardware calibration device.
The only real way of calibrating a monitor is with a hardware calibration device. Software calibration is only ever as good as your eyes, and everyone sees color differently, but calibration hardware, such as the ColorMunki, i1 Display Pro or Spyder devices are now inexpensive, and an essential part of every keen digital photographer’s toolkit.
Most calibration software offers an advanced setting, so if it gives you a choice, go for a brightness of around 100-120 cd/m2, 6500K or native white point for an LCD monitor, and most importantly, an ICC2 Matrix profile rather than an ICC4 or LUT-based profile, as these more recent profiles aren’t compatible with many programs yet.