I'm working a lot with GeoTIFF images, most of which have Senitnel-2 bands B02 (blue), B03 (green), B04 (red), B8A (NIR), B11 (SWIR) and B12 (SWIR) in that sequence. When I load them in QGIS, RGB display colors are mapped to B02, B03 and B04 respectively, i.e. blue and red are switched.

Is there a way to specify the default display band combination in GeoTIFF? (I'm writing with rasterio)

I'm aware that I can set the default band combination in QGIS but I consider that a suboptimal workaround as that would apply to all images and then when I encounter images where RGB is saved in that sequence, blue and red would be switched again.

1 Answer 1


I would create a GDAL VRT file with gdal_translate https://gdal.org/programs/gdal_translate.html.

gdal_translate -of VRT -b 3 -b 2 -b 1 sentinel2.tif sentinel2.vrt

When you now open the sentinel2.vrt file with QGIS the right bands are selected from the source image "sentinel2.tif" and re-ordered. The .vrt file is just a small XML file and the original GeoTIFF is not edited.

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