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How to Add ICC Profiles to Lightroom CC

Published: 10/05/2021

There are a lot of things to consider if you decide to print your images using Lightroom. Besides your printer settings and monitor calibration, you also need to install print paper profiles. Read on to learn how to add ICC profiles to Lightroom CC to make your print process easier.

How to Add ICC Profiles to Lightroom CC

Thanks to technological advancements in photography, retaining original color in a printed image is a possibility now. When you are printing a photo, it is vital to ensure the proper color management to achieve a high-quality print. Color management for print involves collaboration between your camera, monitor and printer. 

The printer uses the paper’s profile to accurately translate the colors of the image to its color space. This process ensures an image that has a correct color management.

While exporting or printing an image in Lightroom, you have an option to choose the profile and color space which is a deciding factor on the final appearance of colors on the image. For online sharing, you can select the sRGB color space. But for printing purposes, you need to choose a custom color profile. 

Understanding ICC Profiles

An ICC profile is a file that interprets the color space and gamut (range of colors) that a printer uses to print a photo. Ideally, your printing workflow should have an intuitive way to define the capacity of every digital device. If you accurately set the ICC profile, digital data will be translated accurately across devices, which ensures efficient color management.

When you add the ICC profile, Lightroom ensures the maintained appearance of your printed images. It uses the ICC profile to adjust the data of an image and forward it to the Printer. As a result, an accurate print of the original image is achieved that falls within the limits of printers’ gamut. 

Here are the steps to correctly add an ICC profile to Lightroom.

Downloading an ICC Profile

ICC profiles are available for download on the website of the particular print paper that you use. For instance, if I use Red River paper for the printed real estate images, I first visit their website and go to the Printer color profiles section.

After that, I scroll down to select the profile for my printer model. Select the specific paper’s profile that you use, or you can also download all profiles for your printer model in one zip file.

Once your zip file is downloaded, its now time to install it.

Installing THE ICC Profile

The process of installing the ICC profile differs on Windows and Mac.

Windows:

  1. Locate the zipped file that you have downloaded on your computer.
  2. Right click on the file and select Extract All to unzip the files. 
  3. Once you have your duplicated folder, you can delete the zipped folder.
  4. Double click on the duplicated folder.
  5. Among its contents, you will find a .ICC or .ICM profile extension. It will contain your paper and printer model. 
  6. Right click on the file and click on Install

Mac

  1. Locate the downloaded zip file. (it will land in your Downloads folder, most probably).
  2. Double click on the folder, and an unzipped folder will appear right next to it.
  3. Click on the folder to see its contents.
  4. Your ICC profile will b present in the folder. Copy this profile 
  5. Click on the Go menu, and hold down the OPT key. Select Library.
  6. In the Library Finder, go to Color Sync and then Profiles
  7. Paste your profile by right clicking in the folder and choosing Paste. 

If your ICC profile is installed in the right way, it will now be available on Lightroom. Restart Lightroom after installation.

Adding Profiles Via Soft Proofing in Lightroom

There are two places in Lightroom where you will be asked to add a profile. One is the Soft Proofing from the Develop module, while the other one is from the Print module. Let’s first discuss the Soft Proofing method.

Soft proofing is simply the ability to view how the onscreen photos will appear when you print them. It optimizes the image for an output device like the printer. This dramatically reduces annoying tone and color variations.

  1. In the Develop module of Lightroom, you can select soft proofing by clicking on the Soft Proofing checkbox found on the toolbar below. 
  2. On the left hand side, look for the soft proofing panel.
  3. Expand it, and click on the Profile drop down. Select Other.
Adding profiles with Soft Proofing in Lightroom
  1. A popup will show with your newly installed ICC profile. Choose it and click on OK
A popup showing a newly installed ICC profile in Lightroom

Adding Profiles Via Print Module in Lightroom

In the Print Module, there are a lot of settings upon which the appearance of your printed image are highly dependent. Among such settings is the ICC profile which will ensure color accuracy.

  1. Go to the Print module in Lightroom.
  2. Firstly, decide the image orientation and paper from the Page Setup option found at the left. 
  3. Choose the appropriate image size and resolution.
  4. From the right hand panel, look for the Print Job panel.
  5. Expand the Print job panel and go down to the Profile.
Adding profiles using Print Module in Lightroom
  1. Click on the drop down, and select your ICC profile.
  2. If it isn’t showing in the list, go to Others.
  3. Your installed profile will be there in the pop up. Click on it to select it, and hit OK. 
  4. After that, you can also select the Print Resolution and Print Sharpening according to your choice. 

Lightroom Print Templates

Lightroom gives you the ease to save your print settings, including Profile, Resolution, and everything else, as a template. Just tap the plus icon beside the Template Browser section. 

Next, give a name to the template and click on Create. Creating a template will save you the hassle of choosing various settings again and again for different images. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What if Lightroom is Not Showing My ICC Profile in the Options?

If Lightroom is not showing the ICC profile, you must not have unzipped the file correctly or pasted it on the wrong folder in Mac. So look for these two possibilities and go through the process once again. 

Conclusion 

Adding the ICC profile to Lightroom is a straightforward process. It is a vital step if you are looking for color consistency in your printed images. A good ICC profile will help you create prints with excellent color quality. 

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