I have linked to an article below that sheds some light on the whole washed-out color when using Photoshop’s Save For Web. I’m not an expert on color space this and profile that. I just want to design in Photoshop and create an optimized image that looks like what I designed. I recently upgraded to CS4 and I’ve found that this is much easier in this newer version of Photoshop.
I have Photoshop CS4 set to ask me about profile mismatches (under EDIT > COLOR SETTINGS), and if I’m working on an image for the web I just “discard the embedded profile (don’t color manage)” when it asks me upon opening an image. Then I’m able to just uncheck the “Convert to sRGB” checkbox in the Save for Web” dialog window and everything usually turns out great.
When I was using Photoshop CS2, consistent color via save for web seemed to be much harder to achieve. A few tricks (mentioned in the article below) are to make sure your document is using the sRGB-IEC61blahblah2.1 profile. Find this under EDIT > COLOR SETTINGS and EDIT > CONVERT TO PROFILE if your doc isn’t using that profile. Also the preview mode is something that threw me for a loop. Make sure you’re viewing your doc in the correct preview mode. Find this under VIEW > PROOF SETUP and assign to sRGBIEC61… via CUSTOM if need be. You might also want to uncheck the ICC profile checkbox in the Save For Web dialog window.
I think all of this has to do with how browsers handle (or don’t handle) color profiles. It’s all more than I care to deal with to be honest so I just do what works and I’m not sure how or why it works. Terrible I know but I’ve got better things to spend my time on than figuring out why Photoshop does things the way it does. Plus I’ve read so many conflicting articles on the subject I feel I’ve spent enough time trying to figure it out.
here’s the article on Photoshop save for web color shift from CreativePro.com.
Hope this helps someone.