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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16 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.

Mark Smith's picture

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.

Barry Sharoff's picture

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.

John Peltier's picture

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.

Gill Thompson's picture

Establish credibility? Your number of subscribers does nothing to establish credibility in your photography or editing practices...maybe in your marketing practices....is this a marketing tutorial?

Having 200k followers doesn't mean the artist is more prone to good or bad editing practices any more than kim kardashian having millions means she's a useful member of the human race...

Roland Trego's picture

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

Gill Thompson's picture

So many good comments here, but on the power and responsibility of Journalism...

Let me preface this by saying, I am not trying to criticise Iain Stanley , Nigel Danson or FStoppers as this is not their problem specifically, I have Read MANY of Iain's writings and seen many of Nigels videos and they are both great at what they do and well established professionals, my comments are to the decline of Journalism, which affects us and influences us as photographers too!

Tell me, how does having 200000 subscribers relate to this video? how do the two things Correlate? any english or Journalism Professor will tell you...they DON'T If this was a video about how to MARKET yourself, GREAT, but it's not! How about "Here's how an Established, Esteemed Professional Photographer Uses Saturation in Lightroom" I think this is a much more TRUTHFUL headline in addition to being much more representative of Nigel Danson well earned credibility and professional status.

Would you be interested in "See how a Man who eats 2000000 Apples a year Peels Oranges!" NO CORRELATION!!!!

Part of Journalism's responsibility is to LIFT UP the readers with insight and intelligence, facts and thought, not dumb them down by continuing to lower the common denominator of societies intelligence, that is how we have gotten where we are as a world society going backwards intellectually as a whole...

Use your platform to IMPROVE people, not insult their intelligence with nonsensical statements.

Establish credibility? Your number of subscribers does nothing to establish credibility in your photography or editing practices...maybe in your marketing practices....is this a marketing tutorial? Nigel Danson's WORK is what established his credibility as an artist and professional...this headline does not establish his credibility, it detracts from it...it insinuates that his only credibility is gained because he got a lot of followers...

Having 200k followers doesn't mean the artist is more prone to good or bad editing practices any more than kim kardashian having millions means she's a useful member of the human race...