Why Does Instagram Change The Color of My Picture?

Ever put up a picture on Instagram, only to scratch your head wondering why it looks nothing like the masterpiece that took you hours to get right? The colours seem wonky, maybe a tad duller or way too bright? Trust us, you’re not alone.

Why does it happen, and how can you prevent it? In this article, we’ll dig into the technical aspects of Instagram’s image processing, how it messes with the colour profile of your snaps, and, more importantly, how to keep those hues on point.

Why Does Instagram Change the Colour of My Picture?

Why Does Instagram Change the Colour of My Picture?

When you upload an image to Instagram, the app doesn’t simply store and display it as it is. Instead, it applies a series of processes to optimise the image for its platform. These include compression, colour space conversion, and formatting, which can alter the appearance of the uploaded photo.

Compression is the process of reducing the size of an image file by removing some of its data. It makes the image easier to store and load, but it also reduces its quality and detail. Compression can have a detrimental effect on the colours of an image by introducing artefacts, such as banding or noise.

Colour space conversion is the process of changing the way an image represents colours. Different devices and applications use different colour spaces to display images, e.g., sRGB, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, and ProPhoto RGB. These colour spaces have varying ranges of colours they can reproduce, called gamuts. When an image is converted from one colour space to another, some of its colours may fall outside the gamut of the destination colour space, and thus be clipped or mapped to different colours.

Formatting is the process of converting the file type of an image, e.g., JPEG, PNG, or HEIC. Different formats have different pros and cons in terms of quality, size, and compatibility. They all use varying ranges of compression algorithms and colour profiles, so formatting can affect the colours of a picture.

Instagram’s optimisation algorithm may also adjust the colours of an image to maintain some sort of consistency across different devices and screens. For example, Instagram may boost the contrast or saturation of your picture to make it more eye-catching on smaller screens. Similarly, the Instagram app may reduce the brightness or vibrancy, making the images look overexposed and washed out.

What Else Might Be Causing This Issue?

Besides Instagram’s auto image enhancements, other factors can influence how your pictures appear on the app, including your device’s display settings and the image editing tools you use.

Some display settings on your Android device or iPhone include brightness and colour mode. They can affect how photos and videos look on your screen but may not translate well to other devices or apps. For instance, if you set your phone’s screen to a warmer or cooler colour temperature, your pictures may look warmer or cooler than they are.

Most of you also use some kind of image editor app to edit your pictures before uploading them to your socials. After all, it helps you enhance or correct your images to your liking, but it can also introduce errors or inconsistencies. If you use a filter or present that alters your picture’s colour profile and another one from Instagram’s own range of filters, it can yield terrible results.

Instagram’s built-in image editor also allows for adding texts and stickers and making basic adjustments. These can help you stylise your pictures, but they can also modify their colours. For example, if you apply a filter that changes your pictures’s hue or tone curve, it may override your original colour settings and result in a washed-out output.

While specifics of it aren’t publicly disclosed, Instagram’s image processing algorithm naturally favours warmer and natural colours over cooler and artificial ones and higher contrast and saturation over lower values.

In odd cases, it may be vice-versa, and these tendencies may explain why some pictures look better or worse on Instagram than others. For all we know, it might as well be a bug within the Instagram app causing such unwanted alternations.

How to Prevent Instagram from Changing the Colour of My Pictures?

Why does Instagram change the quality of my pictures

If you want to keep the colour discrepancies when uploading pictures to Instagram to a minimum, here are some tips to follow:

Use Your Phone’s Native Camera App

Instagram’s camera jazzes up your pictures with filters, but the trouble starts when they get squished during upload, messing with their colour and quality. Hence, we recommend using your phone’s built-in camera app to take snaps with the best possible quality and vibrancy, then upload them to Instagram from your gallery.

Use a Specific Colour Space

A colour space is a set of data that standardises how colours are represented in an image file. When you upload an image using a P3 colour space (or any other wide colour gamut for that matter) to Instagram, you might spot a slight dip in vibrancy when it’s displayed. Most folks won’t catch it, but if your pics have those punchy, saturated reds, they might not pop as much as you’d expect.

The most common colour profile for mobile and web applications is sRGB, which has a relatively small but standard gamut and looks good across most screens. By sticking with sRGB, you can ensure your pictures’ colours are compatible with Instagram’s default colour space and avoid clipping or mapping issues. Plenty of image editors let you do so, including Adobe Lightroom.

Related: Why does my Telegram say connecting?

Related Video: Why does Instagram Mess up the Color of My Picture? | Instagram Export Settings

Adjust Your Image Before Uploading

Before you upload your pictures to IG, you can tweak some of their settings to anticipate or counteract Instagram’s image processing. For example, you can increase the brightness or vibrancy of your pictures to compensate for Instagram’s dimming or desaturation effects.

Instagram’s editing features can be fun and handy, but if you want to preserve your pictures’ original colours, you should avoid applying too many filters, stickers, text, or adjustments within the app. Instead, edit your images using external tools for more control and precision.

Update or Reinstall the Instagram App

Android and iOS users have observed this particular issue of colour alternation crops up with an update now and then, only to be fixed with the next one and reappear after a few. Odds are you might be using an older app version that may have this issue, so your best bet is to check for the latest update on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

If Instagram is already up to date, reinstalling the app may mitigate the problem. Provided it doesn’t, your only option is to wait for a new app version to fix it or report the issue via the Instagram Help Center for a swift resolution.

Final Words

Our guide has delved into why Instagram messes with the colours of your pictures after you upload them. We’ve also provided a handful of nifty solutions to prevent the social media platform from ruining your carefully crafted images.

It’s worth noting this issue isn’t new. A quick Google search brings up results from several years back, varying across a range of devices and even applying to videos. Sadly, as far as we know, Instagram hasn’t made any official statements regarding this anomaly.

But this doesn’t mean they’re neglecting it. They’re likely working on improving its image processing algorithms behind the scenes. It’s also possible Instagram is experimenting with different processing methods or features on a small scale before rolling them out to the public, hence all these user complaints regarding the colours looking funky. Until Instagram eventually addresses it, it’s up to you to adjust your photos accordingly.

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