The calculation of spectral properties for photoactive proteins is challenging because of the large cost of electronic structure calculations on large systems. Mixed quantum mechanical (QM) and molecular mechanical (MM) methods are typically employed to make such calculations computationally tractable. This study addresses the connection between the minimal QM region size and the method used to model the MM region in the calculation of absorption properties-here exemplified for calculations on the green fluorescent protein. We find that polarizable embedding is necessary for a qualitatively correct description of the MM region, and that this enables the use of much smaller QM regions compared to fixed charge electrostatic embedding. Furthermore, absorption intensities converge very slowly with system size and inclusion of effective external field effects in the MM region through polarizabilities is therefore very important. Thus, this embedding scheme enables accurate prediction of intensities for systems that are too large to be treated fully quantum mechanically.