Is your browser color managed? If not, the photographs you are looking at are distorted versions of what their creators intended them to be. Is the rural scene above rendered in autumn colors, or in a ghastly purple?

If you’re seeing purple, it means your browser does not respect ICC color profiles. Most browsers today support color management but every browser is different. Here is how six different browsers on my Windows 7 system display the aforementioned image:

Top row, left to right: Safari 5, IE9, Firefox 12: Bottom row: Maxthon 3, Chrome 19, Opera 11

Note that even the browsers that recognize nonstandard color profiles don’t all implement the monitor color profile the same way, with each successive browser bringing up the black levels (and IE9 really pumps the saturation!). Note also that every browser tested in OSX correctly implements ICC profiles once an image is fully loaded.

What you as a photographer can do to minimize this:

Always save your work as sRGB and embed it’s color profile if it’s going to be displayed on the web.

Recommend to Windows clients a browser that supports both ICC color profiles AND monitor color profiles (like safari)

If all else fails: send prints or demonstrate your photos in person on a device you have vetted.

Just be careful out there people, what you see isn’t always what the other guy sees!

About the author: Jeffrey Friedl is a photographer and web developer. Visit his Flickr page here

Image credits: Photographs by Jeffrey Friedl