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Photoshop Elements >

Color Management >

13 - Soft Proofing


Photoshop Elements doesn't support soft proofing.

However, you can use QImage (Windows only), to do soft proofing.

The program is about $50.

Also, try Elements+  (Windows only), a plug-in for Photoshop Elements.

The cost is $12.

Use #1

As mentioned, soft proofing allows you to properly display Adobe RGB color space photographs on your sRGB monitor, if you're using Adobe RGB.

Soft proofing has two other uses.

Use #2

Your monitor has a much greater contrast range than does printing paper.


As you look at this small portion of a larger photograph on your monitor, the highlights on the water drops are glowing phosphors.

On a print, the same highlights will be the much duller white of the paper.

Monitors are emissive; photography papers are reflective.

You can use soft proofing to simulate, on your monitor, how the contrast of a photograph will appear when printed.

Use #3

The colors on your monitor are brighter and more saturated than most colors on a print.

(Prints may have more saturated dark yellows, oranges, greens, and cyans.)

A photograph displayed on your monitor as a soft proof will be a better representation of the colors of a print of the photograph.

It Looks Terrible

Your photograph, as a soft proof, may appear more flat (low contrast), blacks may be lighter, whites may be dimmer, and the colors may be less saturated.

That's normal.

Prints never look as good as the photograph did on a monitor.

If the soft proof looks the same as the photograph on your monitor, then the photograph already has lower contrast and less saturated colors.

Soft Proofing Caveats

When soft proofing, the other colors on your screen, nearby, and the room lighting, may affect your judgment of the color.

As for your screen, look at the soft proof using the entire screen.

As for the environment, keep it consistent.

For example, don't evaluate color on a laptop at a Starbucks, and then do so again at home with tracking lighting.

Paper White & Black Point Compensation

Paper White

When using Photoshop, Qimage, or Elements+, select Paper White.

This feature simulates how the whites of the photograph will appear when printed.

Your monitor can display a much brighter white than can photography papers.

Black Point Compensation

When you select Paper White, Black Point Compensation is also selected.

Your monitor has a darker black than does photography papers.

The Black Point Compensation feature adjusts for this difference.