#TravelTuesday has come around again and I, Dave Williams, am back here again on ScottKelby.com as always with a little tidbit from the world of travel, photography, and Photoshop. Today it’s all about the latter but it applies across the board. Let’s not waste time with the intro, here goes!

When we take photos in RAW we see a preview on the back of the screen which is a JPEG representation of the RAW image. This means it has been ‘filtered’ somewhat and looks slightly different to how the RAW image will look. One of the differences will be the saturation, and we often move the saturation slider in Adobe Photoshop when we’re back in post to get the image back to looking how it looked on the preview screen when we took the photo. The image right there with it, Vibrance, does something visually similar, but do you know the difference between them? If not, you aren’t alone!

What I’ll do today is go over the differences by splitting Saturation and Vibrance and explaining each of them, giving you an understanding of what those sliders are doing.

Saturation

The Saturation slider is so fiercely debated it could probably start a war. The Saturation slider adjusts the colours in the image. All of them! When we slide the Saturation slider to the left we gradually remove colour from the image (and at this time I’ll take the opportunity to point out the spelling of colour – I’m British – deal with it.) 

Note my choice of words there – ‘all of them.’ The saturation slider adjusts all the pixels in the image. In a practical sense, this means each pixel, regardless of the saturation it already has (high or low) which in turn means that if we slide the slider too far we’ll end up blowing out the pixels that already have high saturation.

Note my choice of words there – ‘all of them.’ The saturation slider adjusts all the pixels in the image. In a practical sense, this means each pixel, regardless of the saturation it already has (high or low) which in turn means that if we slide the slider too far we’ll end up blowing out the pixels that already have high saturation.

Vibrance

Now we know the Saturation gives the same, indiscriminate treatment to every pixel in our image, let’s see what the difference is with Vibrance. The Vibrance slider only applies a change to the least saturated colours in the image. This means it’s less likely to blow out pixels because it only focuses on the least saturated pixels and leaves the more saturated ones.

When we apply Vibrance we achieve a result that’s less surreal in comparison to using the Saturation slider. The result also appears to have more contrast, which can often be a nice touch.

Have a go at comparing the extreme ends of the Vibrance and Saturation sliders to see the difference between the two now you know this and I’m sure you’ll turn out far better images. Just remember, as always, to use the half rule for retouching: Once you’ve moved your sliders, put them to half the value and see if the result is more realistic ;)

Much love
Dave

About The Author

Dave is a travel, lifestyle and commercial photographer, a tutorial and blog writer, and a social media influencer, based in London, UK.

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