You really aren’t seeing the colour you think you are
I was planning on writing this blog comparing the colour accuracy in Windows 10 default apps as a follow-up to my Colour accuracy in web browsers blog of a couple of weeks ago, and including a range of comparison images as I did in that one.
However, it turns out there’s no way to show you just how bad the default Windows 10 photos app is – screenshots transferred to Photoshop to create a comparison image lose their truly terrible colour rendition and just end up looking ‘not very accurate’.
So I’ll just tell you: the standard image viewing apps included in Windows 10 will put a deep magenta cast across whatever image you’re viewing, over saturate it and add a bit too much blue as well.
The Photos app on Windows 10, Windows Photo Viewer and Paint, all of which are included in Windows 10, are very bad indeed at showing a photograph in its correct colours. Please don’t use them if you want to see anything like a photograph as it’s intended.
None of those apps/programs can be set to use colour profiles or manage colour in any way.
The solution – Irfanview
I would recommend you open the Microsoft Store app, search for and install Irfanview, a completely free image viewer. Choose 64-bit if your version of Windows 10 is 64-bit. Its a program that I’ve been using for many years to view photographs in a last check before sending them to my clients.
Once that’s installed, open it, go to ‘Options>Properties/Settings’ then ‘Zoom/Color Management’ and tick the box saying ‘Enable color managment, and leave it at Current Monitor Profile. Applying for images without an embedded colour profile is up to you.
After that if you double click on a photograph or image that would have opened in the Windows Photos app by default, Windows should now ask you what app you’d like to use in the future to open such files. Choose Irfanview App if you wish to view images and photographs as they were intended.
This blog is in no way supported by Irfanview or sponsored in any way.
(photograph taken on Worthing pier, June 2008)
About the photographer
Paul Ligas is a professional commercial photographer based in Herefordshire, working across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the UK. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and connect on LinkedIn.