Add Some Vibrance to Your Shots

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. 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.

6 thoughts on “Add Some Vibrance to Your Shots

  1. Pingback: JSP Visual Week In Review | 12.04.11 « JerseyStyle Photography

  2. Thanks for this article Jeff. It was very helpful. I am in the habit of expecting dramatic results when shooting my Nikon D90 – dramatic results without post processing. Now I see the value of a tool like Lightroom. Maybe Santa will bring me a copy.

    • Hey Don,

      Adobe usually has some awesome sales on Lightroom before the holidays and you can download a 30 day trial to get started.


      • Jeff,
        I notice you post process most all photos using Lightroom. That being said, why do you shoot with a warming filter? Doesn’t Lightroom give the same effect? Thanks,

  3. Nice post, Jeff. I actually *like* that the raw file takes the vibrance out and use that to my advantage. I can then go in and adjust as needed. Of course, this is nice for me since I’m not doing huge batches of edits. Not good for the landscape photographer going through a number of files to be handed over to a photo editor, I guess.

Comments are closed.