Mac Workflow: Convert Multiple Image Profiles In A Single Step

My client sent me an email with “the thumbnail images on my website are dull”. I took a look and yes, they were dull and yet this only affected the images the client had uploaded.  I anticipated the issue was related to color profiles. The original images had a color profile attached, the thumbnails did not. I discovered that if a profile other than sRGB was attached to an image, WordPress would strip out the profile completely, causing the images to appear dull and colorless.

I explained this information to the client with instructions on how to convert to sRGB prior to upload. This was great for future single posts but what about all the other images the client had already uploaded and groups of images in the future? I wanted to find a solution that would allow him the opportunity to quickly convert files to the necessary format.

The client works on a Mac and has Photoshop Elements. I looked into iPhoto’s export options but discovered the color profiles remained attached and there was not an option to modify. I looked into batching images with Photoshop and again did not find the option to convert the color profile (you can view with a different profile but not actually convert – except when Saving For Web).

Finally I came across information about creating a Workflow with Mac Automator. Released for OS X, you can create a series of instructions for batch processes. Various tasks and options are available and the interface is very intuitive.

The task I needed was Apply ColorSync Profiles to Images with sRGB. Workflow documents can be saved so I sent it to my client with a few instructions. He was able to modify images as well as batch process new ones in a single step. Now all the images look great.

The image on the left had a color profile other than sRGB prior to the WordPress image conversion. The image on the right maintains the sRGB profile.

Images courtesy of portrait artist Michael Shane Neal.