I have a world jpg file that I am trying to use as a background image in ArcGIS. When I look at the raw jpg through a random picture viewer, it looks like this:

enter image description here

However, when I load the image into ArcMap, the contrast and color appear to change completely:

enter image description here

I couldn't find any documentation online on what causes this or how to fix it. Is this simply an artifact of GIS, or is there a way to make the image appear the same as the raw image in ArcMap?

Edit - Oops, this is a duplicate, but I am leaving it up because it may help someone find the answer they are looking for if the keyword geoTIFF is used.


1 Answer 1


It is most likely the way ArcMap is changing the raster histogram for the raster.

If you open the properties of the JPG from the Table of Contents. Navigate to the "Symbology" tab. About half way down this window you will see the "Stretch" options.

You can play around with the settings here to set how ArcMap handles the historgram (Darks and Lights) of the image.

There area few options:

  • Percent Clip
  • Standard Deviations (you can control this if you need to)
  • Max-Min...etc

Chances are the image viewer you were using displays the JPG as is, while Arc is trying to Dynamically choose the best way to show an image at the scale you are using.

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