The Difference Between Saturation and Vibrance in Photoshop Lightroom



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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is incredibly powerful. Its global sliders are a convenient way to make complex adjustments to your images. For example, Clarity and Texture do similar things in different ways, while Saturation and Vibrance do the same thing to differing degrees.

Saturation 101

All colors have a saturation value. This is a measure of color intensity. Reddish red is said to be more saturated than red with less redness. Both the Saturation slider and the Vividness slider adjust the color saturation of the image. These are adjusted in slightly different ways.

What Does Saturation Do?

 The Saturation slider adjusts the saturation of every color in your image in the exact same way. Drag the slider to the right to increase the overall saturation of your image, and drag it to the left to reduce it.

The Saturation slider, however, is a very blunt tool. If some parts of your image are already pretty saturated, it can push them too far.

What Does Vibrance Do?

The Vibrance slider is a more nuanced version of the Saturation slider. It adjusts the saturation of the colors in your image, but it has more of an effect on the least saturated colors. The colors that are already highly saturated will barely change as you increase the vibrance.

Which Should You Use?

Both the saturation slider and the vividness slider are suitable for photo editing workflows.
Saturation is best used with caution to punch the entire image. For example, if you take a picture on a gray cloudy day, you may need to lift the entire picture.
Vibrance is a bit safe to use and often adds a fair amount to your photos. Great for enhancing the color of an image without making it look flashy or unrealistic.

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