Here's How a Photographer With 200,000 Subscribers Uses Saturation in Lightroom

When it comes to post-production, many photographers often get a wee bit trigger-happy on the saturation and vibrance sliders. But how does an extremely popular photographer approach saturation in Lightroom?

Perhaps because of the quality and crispness of modern day monitors and smartphones and the snappy colors they produce through their displays, it seems most photographers and editors these days tend to go over the top when it comes to the saturation and vibrance sliders. Be it in Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other form of editing software, the temptation to really crank up those colors often seems to break the will of most photography enthusiasts. Particularly on platforms such as Instagram, I often feel like I've walked into a rave party full of glow sticks being held in a glowworm cave. Blinded by colors.

With that in mind, how does a photographer with over 200,000 subscribers on YouTube use the saturation slider in Lightroom? In this video, Nigel Danson first walks you through the basic concepts of saturation. After that, he opens up a handful of his own images and goes through the processes he uses to creatively saturate or desaturate. What's most interesting is that he seldom, if ever, uses the actual global saturation slider. He has three or four different methods to get more subtle results than if he went crash, bang, wallop on the saturation slider. 

Also of note, Adobe Camera Raw has now added one of the tools that Danson uses most here. Give the video a look, and let me know in the comments below how you deal with saturation in your images.

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15 Comments

Miha Me's picture

This is not the first time Fstoppers wrote 'a Photographer With 200,000 Subscribers' when talking about Nigel Danson's techniques. Would he edit differently if he had 160,000 subscribers or 320,000 subscribers? Do all photographers with 200,000 subscribers edit this exact way? Obviously not, so just say Nigel Danson alright? The subscriber number is irrelevant to technique used.

Richard Maude's picture

Agreed, I guess they do it to give him some authority?

Venson Stein's picture

No. It's because idiots with huge following often go full on retard with the Saturation and Clarity sliders. Of course, you are one with few subscribers who does the same.

Venson Stein's picture

It's because idiots with huge following often go full on retard with the Saturation and Clarity sliders. Of course, you are one with few subscribers who does the same.

Charles Mercier's picture

The popularity of oversaturated, unrealistically colored photos. Ugh and grrrr. Hate that trend.

Always good to learn from Nigel Danson, great video.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

What does number of followers have to do with editing technique?

Venson Stein's picture

The idiots with heavy hands on the Saturation sliders get the most likes and followers you fool. It's important to point that out. Photographers who use more subtle techniques, have zero likes and followers.

Gregory Mills's picture

You obviously have never watched any of Nigel Danson's videos or you would know that he prefers to de-saturate his images. You also must not have watched this video either because all he did was teach you how to use contrast and HSL to control saturation so you don't get overly saturated images.

Miha and Dan, let me respond while wearing my marketing consultant hat: He would not edit any differently if he had a different number of subscribers. They mention this number in the subject line/headline to establish his credibility. As in "50,000 or 100,000, or 200,000 (or whatever number) cannot all be wrong," so that you'll think he's worthwhile to watch. If it said "a photographer with 50 subscribers . . . " you'd probably say "Who cares what this yoyo thinks. If he only has 50 subscribers he's not likely to be worth watching."

Now you know.

So what if next week Fstoppers publishes an article like “here’s how someone with 210,000 subscribers uses saturation,” does that person have more credibility? Do we go with that technique instead?

Do you like the technique in the video? Does it work for your workflow and give you desired results? Cool, use it. No? Don’t use it. Matter settled without clickbait title or, more importantly, equating subscriber count to credibility.

Vegetation in my photos often turns out very dark and mossy green. I can lighten it, but it ends up with a mustardy yellow quality that didn't exist in real life. Any suggestions for Lightroom adjustments?

Iain Stanley's picture

Using local adjustments might be most helpful for you. Or tweaking the green curves in LR/PS