Vibrance versus HSL


Today’s Question: After watching your discussion of Vibrance, I am wondering about the tradeoff of Vibrance versus HSL [Hue, Saturation, and Luminance].

Tim’s Quick Answer: The Vibrance adjustment is my preferred adjustment in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom for boosting the saturation of colors, while the HSL controls are most useful for fine-tuning individual colors.

More Detail: The Vibrance adjustment is a variation on the Saturation adjustment, with a couple of advanced features built in. First, Vibrance protects skin tones from excessive adjustments. Second, when you increase the saturation in an image using Vibrance, colors that already have relatively high saturation levels will receive less of a boost than colors with relatively low saturation.

The HSL (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance) sliders enable you to apply adjustments to individual ranges of colors. For example, you could increase the Saturation value for the green color values in the image while also reducing the saturation for the blue color values.

As a result, I treat the Vibrance slider as my primary tool for adjusting overall saturation in the entire image. I’ll use the related Saturation slider to fine-tune as needed, after “balancing” overall saturation levels with Vibrance.

The HSL controls I use for fine-tuning individual colors, such as to essentially shift the color balance for an individual color using the applicable Hue slider, or by reducing the saturation for a “problem” color in the photo.

You can see these adjustments in action in several lessons in my “Optimizing Photos in Lightroom” video course, which is included in my “Mastering Lightroom” bundle. You can get more details through the GreyLearning website here: