Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Browsers and photography…

Here is the short version:

Safari is the ONLY color managed browser. So that’s the only browser that you can use and see a photographer’s work properly. However, it’s not always working correctly and I notice it won’t display pictures sometimes (you get a question mark instead). Why can’t they ever fix it?

Firefox is good after the fix outlined below… who knows about IE (they run in a parallel universe, which MAC people are not allowed entrance to anymore.)

As of September 2009 the latest reports I have received are that Internet Explorer is pretty much a disaster for color or the new html mark up language.. Microsoft dropped the ball again… so dump it if you are interested in photography.

The others are also questionable.  Safari and Firefox both work on both Mac and PC… get one of them.

The long version can be found here:

This guy explains everything.

Photos have to have embedded profiles or color management will not work… So don’t forget to embed a profile in your work.

Here are the instructions to FIX Firefox:    (NOTE January-2010: Version 3.5.7 is by default color managed when downloaded for MAC)… Also “true” is equal to “2” in the instructions below.

  • Manually edit the color management setting This is easy even for the non-geeks in the crowd. The steps are:
    1. Type “about:config”  (without the quote marks) in Firefox 3’s address bar and press Return. The configuration settings will appear.
    2. In the Filter field, type gfx. The list of settings will shorten to show just those related to graphics, ie gfx.
    3. If the Value for gfx.color_management.enabled is False, double-click anywhere on that line to toggle the setting to True.
    4. Quit and relaunch Firefox 3 and you’re in business. You can confirm that colour management is working by viewing the photos on this page. If all four quadrants of the first photo are a seamless match, then colour management in your copy of Firefox is up and running.

Colour Switch: Enabling colour management in Firefox 3 for Mac

On Macs running OS X 10.5.2 and 10.5.3 here, that’s all that’s required to switch on colour managed photo display. Firefox 3 also gives the option of selecting a display profile, but the program should – and does here on the Mac – automatically honour the display profile selected in the system, so it isn’t necessary in this case to set or changegfx.color_management.display_profile.

If you regularly show your work to photo buyers that use Firefox, you might consider encouraging them to both upgrade to v3 and enable its colour management, so that they’re in a better position to see what the colour in your photos actually looks like (within the limits of their monitor and its calibration, or lack thereof). Alternatively, you can recommend to them Apple’s Safari for Mac and Windows, which also supports colour management and doesn’t require that it be enabled first.

Mozilla Firefox 3 for Mac and Windows (and Linux) is a free download.

Update, June 21, 2008 : We’ve received a small but steady stream of reports, primarily from Mac users, that enabling colour management in Firefox 3 causes certain hues in pictures with embedded profiles to display differently than either Photoshop or Safari, and in some cases the difference has been described as dramatic and that Firefox seems to be the one rendering the affected colours incorrectly. We’ve not seen this problem, either in the release version of Firefox 3 nor in daily use of betas over the past several months, but it’s becoming clear that some users’ machines are affected and that it’s negating the benefit of turning on colour management in the new Firefox.

One Response to “Browsers and photography…”

  1. This is really helpful. I’m pretty sure that most people don’t even know they can control this to their benefit.

    David Saffir

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