The HSL/Color/BW tab in Adobe Lightroom can be used for lots of reasons when editing. One of my favorite ways to start a clean edit in Lightroom is with the Color tab. It can be used for a variety of things including brightening skin tone, adjust specific colors and their saturation as well as increasing or decreasing the luminosity of specific colors.

For this example, I decided to use an image of my daughter from this summer. Here in Texas we get a lot of orange in our sunsets – I have been told that it is due to the humidity here… which I can believe. While I love a nice warm sunset sometimes the orange can be overpowering.

To start with I opened the image in Lightroom. Here is the original prior to any edits:

photography tutorial on using the HSL panel in Adobe Lightroom by Jennifer Dell

From here, in order to remove some of the overpowering orange in the sunset and haze, I open up the color tab.

how remove orange with the HSL panel in Lightroom

Then I slide the saturation slider under “orange” to -20 to take out some of the orange tones.

removing too much orange in LR tutorial

After I have removed some of the orange saturation, I then go back and use the luminosity slider to brighten the image up a bit. This is a great way to also brighten up skin just a little. All skin tones have a little bit of orange in them, so this is a quick easy way to lift them up a little and give them a little bit of a healthy glow. In this particular image I only upped the orange luminosity to +15. For an over all adjustment, like on this photo, I typically don’t go past +20, but it depends on the image. For boosting skin really quickly, I don’t go past +15.

boosting skin tone with the HSL panel in Lightroom tutorial

For this photo I also decided to enhance the color of the grass on the sand dunes. To do that I went down to the yellow slider and changed the hue by sliding it to the right +9. I also increased the saturation +15 on the yellow to add a little more oomph.

how to enhance color in Lightroom

Since I really want this photo to have that soft, dreamy sunlit haze look, I also bump up the luminosity in the yellows to +20. This give the grass a little bit of a glow as well and enhances what the sun was already doing naturally.

emphasizing backlit photos in Lightroom

Here is a quick screen shot of what the Color panel looked like after the adjustments were made.

color adjustments in Lightroom

After I’ve done this, I take the image into Photoshop to polish it off just a little bit.

  1. Bumped mid tones a bit and reversed the mask to only brush on my daughter.
  2. Increased saturation to +10.
  3. Added a soft pink fill layer set to hard light and reduced to 10%.
  4. Curves layer set to soft light and reduced to 10%.
  5. Curves layer set to multiply and reversed to mask set to 15% and brushed in a vignette where I wanted.

how to use the HSL panel in Adobe Lightroom tutorial by Jennifer Dell

photography tutorial on using the HSL panel in Adobe Lightroom by Jennifer Dell

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