Add a Little Vibrance!

Take a quick test. Walk outside on a bright and sunny day and look at the sky and the trees. Now put on a pair of sunglasses and look again. Notice how much more “vibrant” everything looks? Notice how the sky is a deeper, richer blue and the leaves on the trees are a softer and more earthy green?

This is “vibrance” and it’s your minds perception of colors and textures in the absence of glare. Glare is a harsh, white reflected light that overpowers the colors and textures in a scene and it’s pure death for a landscape photographer. That’s why most landscape images are taken during the early morning or late afternoon hours, when the sun is low in the sky and the harsh reflections are at a minimum. Glare is why we buy sunglasses and why we use polarizing filters on our lenses.

Adding Vibrance in Lightroom

Adding Vibrance in Lightroom

Vibrance is what landscape photographers strive to capture in their images. It’s that very subtle combination of color and tone that makes a landscape image compelling. Unfortunately, most raw file formats seem to lack vibrance and it’s up to the photographer to add this key ingredient back during post capture processing.

Luckily, this is very simple using the Presence controls in Adobe Lightroom 2. Making this even easier is the Punch preset which increases the Clarity and Vibrance but leaves the Saturation unchanged, which is vital to creating an image that is vibrant without being over-saturated.

Guadalupe River Canyon

Guadalupe River Canyon, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 28mm, f/16 for 1/8th of a second using a Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

4 thoughts on “Add a Little Vibrance!

  1. Great post! When I import files, I automatically add the preset changes to every image as they are coming in. When you are in the import dialog there is a “Develop Settings” that can include these presets! (add your copyright information there also with premade metadata). Hope the TLS goes well! Cheers, John

    • John,

      Thanks for reading. I actually don’t recommend using any develop presets when importing since adding “vibrance” or any other “Basic” setting is usually done after selecting a “Camera Calibration” and “White Balance” setting in my normal workflow.

      PS: Thanks for asking about the TLS. It went great this fall and everyone left with some wonderful shots, good memories and very tired legs. I also think a few folks are going to look at much lighter tripods in the future. On a long hike to a remote location, every ounce counts.

      Cheers!

      Jeff

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