How to Create That Urban High Contrast Desaturated Look in Lightroom

One of the more popular styles on Instagram is urban photography that sports a high contrast look with some desaturated colors. When trying to reproduce this look though, a lot of people run into problems. When adding contrast to an image, oftentimes the colors become more saturated, which is the opposite of what is needed for this look. When you try and use the saturation slider to fix the problem, you end up taking out some of the color that you need for the image.

The trick is to use the HSL/Color/B&W section in Lightroom. In this section you have the ability to change the hue, saturation, and luminosity of specific colors while leaving other colors alone. In the video, this option is used to drop the saturation of selected colors while raising the saturation of other colors.

The video also shows a cool trick where an image had a lot of yellows but he only wanted the yellow cab to be saturated. Because the saturation sliders were set to desaturate the blues, when he takes the color temp slider to the blue side, most of the yellows go away while leaving the cab yellow.

The video also shows you how to save these setting as a preset as well as giving links to the creator’s site so you can download the presets he made in the video for free.

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6 Comments

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Great tutorial, but I think I've heard word "free" at least 1893 times...

Lewis Gettier's picture

I'm already so tired of photos like these.

Francis Cheng's picture

Just don't watch and do some contribution of your own work.

elmer cuaton's picture

Am not good in any PP Photoshop or lightroom i'm still learning though but i think we should respect it's style the important is people are willing to share their best.

Garry Vilkhu's picture

Where's the video??

Weedlord Bonerhitler's picture

Good thing the video shows the original creator's website, god forbid you link there directly in this article that's just regurgitating someone else's work.