Anyone know what’s happening to these pictures?

The way the azaleas really looked.

The way the azaleas really looked.

I raised this question on a previous thread, but I decided to post it separately with actual images of the problem…

I had originally intended to run my little post about the azalea explosion two days ago, when I shot it. But when I went to do so, I saw that my free trial of PhotoShop Elements had run out. (Long story. I got a new laptop several months ago, and it’s wonderful in every way except that I’ve been unable to transfer the very old copy of Photoshop I had on my old laptop to the new one. And the disk is long gone. So until recently, I kept using the old one for blogging, because I had to have something to work pictures with.)

I didn’t want to deal with that right then, so I set the matter aside.

Then yesterday, I went ahead and paid the 100 bucks (technically, $99.99) to buy the PhotoShop Elements (having determined that while it was not full PhotoShop, it did the things I needed — the main thing being, allowing me to quickly reduce the size of picture files).

So, having emailed the azaleas picture to myself from my iPhone, I called it up in my newly purchased application.

And the color was all screwed up. That rich, deep color you see above (quite accurate) was totally washed out to a sort of light lavender or something. I fiddled with the color settings, and lightness and darkness and contrast, and couldn’t make it look anything like reality. Then, I started flipping through other pictures in that folder, and all were sort of weirdly off. Mostly, they were too dark, or had too much contrast. But on some the colors were off, just not this dramatically.

Then I realized that when I called up the azalea file in Windows Live Photo Gallery, the colors were similarly distorted. Which made me think it was something in the display settings of my laptop. And I remembered that I had noticed a similar phenomenon a few days ago when I had transferred photos from my phone, but had been busy and forgot about it.

But… here’s where it gets very weird… when I viewed the emailed azaleas picture within gmail, it looked fine. On the same laptop.

Then… I realized that those distorted-looking pictures I was calling up in the folder where I put photos for the blog on my laptop — pictures I had recently posted — looked fine on the blog itself.

So, I decided to completely ignore the fact that the azaleas picture looked like a color negative or something, and just resize the picture and post it, as an experiment.

And I did. And it looked fine on the blog. It had magically turned back to normal.

So, it looked fine when I sent it to myself, including on the laptop. But if I called it up in the Windows photo viewer, or in PhotoShop, the exposure was distorted to a bizarre degree. But if I didn’t do anything to it and went ahead and put it on the blog, it was back to normal.

Anybody know what in the world is going on? Because I’ve just wasted a lot of money on PhotoShop if I can’t realistically see color and contrast and make adjustments. A hundred bucks is a lot to blow on just being able to take an image down from 36 inches to 16…

The way they looked in PhotoShop Elements.

The way they looked in PhotoShop Elements.

13 thoughts on “Anyone know what’s happening to these pictures?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, and if you’re wondering how I got the picture to look both ways above — I did it by doing a screengrab of the image in its fouled-up state, and saving that. That way, it didn’t flip back to normal when I put it on the blog.

  2. Scout

    Which windows are you running? Are they JPEGs? I don’t know the answer, just getting information.

    This doesn’t sound exactly like your problem but I found this:

    “4. Color issues in the print preview of an image in Windows Photo Gallery in Windows Vista (KB2415238)

    “When you print preview an image in Windows Photo Gallery in Windows Vista, the colors of the image may be reversed. Additionally, the colors of the printout may also be reversed,” is noted in the symptoms section for this issue.

    A Windows Photo and Slideshow Problems troubleshooter will automatically fix this. ”

    on this page:

    Maybe there is some common photo process that both programs use that has a setting wrong somehow – maybe running the troubleshooter will find it? worth a try?

    I have Windows 7. I use Microsoft office 10 picture when I need to compress pictures. It never is the default for some reason – I have to right click on the picture and choose open with and find it – the icon has red mountains and a red moon and red pencil in a red square. Probably pretty basic and may not meet your needs. Good Luck.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        OK, I tried making Office Picture Manager the default for opening pictures. Here’s the weird thing: SOME pictures come up in it normal-looking; others don’t.

        You know, it’s times like this that I miss working at the newspaper, and having the IS (Information Services) department. I’d just take them my laptop, and say, “Please fix this.”

  3. JesseS

    I tend to use Gimp for resizing. It is free and it handles large batches of photos well (though that is about all it is good for unless you are doing some really niche stuff).

    Anyway, iPhone doesn’t include an ICC profile in the image’s EXIF data (the part in the picture’s code that includes stuff like geo location data, what kind of device created the image, etc.) with images (kinda odd since Apple and Adobe started ICC). I don’t have a copy of Elements around but try Edit > Assign and look for a profile for iPhone or Apple.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, I had a chat with someone at Adobe, and they had me change a setting in my computer’s color management, and the images in PhotoShop look normal now.

    Some of them are still kinda weird in the Microsoft Office Photo Management thingie, but I’m not going to worry about that right now…

  5. Ralph Hightower

    Two words of advice: “Kodak Ektar”

    Next question: Android or iPhone? The latest iPhone has purple fringing issues which Apple says is a “feature”.

  6. Nick

    Brad, I’ve been using Irfanview to resize and add effects to images for years. It’s free, it’s small, and I’ve never had a problem with it. It won’t do the fancy things you can do with the GIMP and Photoshop, but since I have no desire to put my face on statues, it’s all I’ve ever needed.

    Yes, I know this is a week late, but I’ve been busy…


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