Lightroom Targeted Adjustment Tool for Quick Saturation and Contrast Boost

This post will be partly about lens choices and partly about editing since I had a bunch of questions about both after I posted images of our Florida Trip!

First, the lenses. After debating a bit, I decided to only bring my Tamron 28-75 2.8 and my 50 1.4.  If you look in the “In my Camera Bag” sidebar to the right, you’ll see that I also have the Canon 24-70L 2.8 (and my beloved 70-200 2.8 II!) but I just couldn’t see myself schlepping around those super heavy lenses to Disney or the Beach. That’s where the Tamron is great. The optics are ALMOST as good as the Canon L.. at least close up. Full body shots seem to be a bit clearer with the L, the the Tamron is just such a great lightweight walk around lens. And if something happened to it (theft, sand, water etc) it wouldn’t be as much as a financial setback.

I will say however that I DID miss a shot or two due to missed focus which I almost NEVER do with my L lenses, so my plan wasn’t totally flawless, but given the tradeoff I’m very happy with my decision to go lighter and I think my back and shoulders are too!

I brought the 50 1.4 because I wanted to have a fast lens with a wider app for taking any pictures inside of rides in low light. Many rides/performances you can’ t use flash, so a wide aperture lens is a necessity in those situations.  The 50 is a light lens, it didn’t add much weight to carry it around for those occasions.  However, I DID find myself wishing I had a wider angle than the 50. A 35 would have been perfect!

In fact, for the first time I found myself really loving the wide 28mm side of my Tamron for some of my beach shots. I am normally such a long focal length junkie (the 200mm end of my 70-200 is my favorite place to be!) but I found myself really appreciating the “fun” ness of the wider shots.

I think a wide angle might be my next purchase.. fisheye would be awesome, but maybe something more versatile.. any recommendations?

No onto the tutorial part of the program.

After I posted some of my beach pictures, I had some questions about how I got such great color and clarity. Clarity is really just a matter of nailing focus, using good gear and sharpening for web (I use the USM set to about .2 radius and 500% for web sized images).   for the saturation, I used the targeted adjustment tool in LR to saturate the blues and greens of my beach images on images like these:

Here’s the tutorial. Note that I completely blanked on the name of the tool during the video, but you still will the idea :)

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Great tutorial. I never even noticed that button. After I found your site I have started using lightroom for more than sorting. I espacially love it for doing a bunch of images fast. Looking for a way to sharpens eyes in LR. In PS I use the dodge tool on the highlights. Please keep up the LR tuts. For some reason I find it much more challenging than PS.

Great Tutorials! Thanks so much for posting these.
Quick question…are you using LR3 for all of these videos? Or LR2?
Thanks again!

D Lindsay says:

Great tutorial for a tool with which I was not yet familiar. Thanks!

ariana says:

Barb, USM = “Unsharp mask” the 500% is the value I use for the amount slider.

Sam, I’m confused by your comment.. how is this a bragfest for canon uberlenses when I clearly stated I was happy with my choice of using my $450 tamron vs. bringing my canon L? I think maybe you didn’t read my whole post. At any rate, I don’t shoot with variable aperture lenses ever because I shoot in manual mode (always) and don’t like to have to change my aperture if I zoom in. I’m lazy that way I guess! Also, I bought my 24-70 used for $1k.

Sam says:

I’m into spending some serious dukats on lenses which have made my cheap body almost inappropriate. But, after reading this brag-fest about Canon uberlenses (really, you anticipated using the $1400 f/2.8 24-70mm (which you bought because it’s fast for a zoom) in full sun at say Disney? C’mon), I ask, “Why go less-than and buy some Tameron? Get the new f/3.5 18-200, no it doesn’t have the red stripe, but you get a huge range of angles for $700).

Barb says:

Great tutorial. What is USM? And what do you mean 500% for web sized images? There’s always something to learn about LR.

ariana says:

Hi Brad,
By comparing similar shots taken on the two lenses, you can see a bit more fine detail when zoomed in with the canon.. almost like a clarity issue. Honestly, this doesn’t really bother me, what bothered me more was that I seemed to randomly front or back focus a few times(one was on a shot when the kids were standing still so not motion or missed focus from user error.) I don’t think you are missing too much with the canon L for this lens.. they will be coming out with a new better version of it eventually with Image stabilization included and I bet that will be a lustworthy lens! :)

Brad J says:

Interested in your comments on the Tamron vs the Canon 24-70L. What did you mean by ‘Full body shots seem to be a bit clearer with the L’ please?
Sharper? how much?
I use the Tamron, love it, but always interested in the comparison. Would like to think that the optical quality, the sharpness is up there with the canon. Lightroom has a lens preset for it, so any small distortions are easily resolved.
thanks. Brad.

Jack Thrams says:

Thank you for posting a great tutorial! I was not aware of the click and drag tip for saturation and luminance. I will definitely be using that from now on!


Lisa Stein says:

Thanks! That was very informative!!!

Anand says:

That was a great tutorial. :)

Lisa E says:

Yes, i just want to make the colors on the brick pop! I am not sure how to do Masking yet. Thanks for your response! And I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

Lisa E says:

Ariana- Great Tutorial! I recently purchased Light Room and LOVE IT! I had no idea about the tool. I recently took portrait pictures with the 5d Mark II and 85mm lens. Great pictures with great backgrounds (colored brick). My problem is my subjects skin tones match the brick (purple, orange, red). Your tutorial helped with the blue back ground, however I can’t get her skin tone correct with the purple back ground. Any suggestions?

ariana says:

Hi Lisa, sorry – as I mentioned in the tutorial, if you want to adjust colors that are contained in skin you really need to use photoshop so you can mask your changes off your faces. The other option though is to use the adjustment brush to saturate the brick if that is what you are trying to do?

Amber Ellen says:

Thank you for the great tutorial! I wondered what that little tool did, I’m so glad to have found out! Thanks again, love reading your blog! :)

Lauren Lasher says:

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the awesome tutorial. I have had LR for probably close to a year now and still barely know how to use it. Your quick tutorial taught me more than I have learned in months. So thanks so much and I look forward to more!!

Karen H says:

I think a 16-35 would be really fun! I always think of Lisa Lucky when I think of that focal length–I am sure you know her stuff. I bet you would rock that lens:).

Allison Johnson says:

haha, damn you and your full frame…the tokina is perfect otherwise! :)

Allison Johnson says:

Theres always the Canon 10-22. :) I originally had the Sigma 8-16mm, that thing was so soft it was crazy! When I returned it, they told me it would be on backorder for another 8 weeks, they are having quality control issues with that particular sigma lens (from adorama), so I went with the Tokina (for underwater portraits).

Cant wait to see what you so with whatever you chose!!

ariana says:

I spent some time looking into it this morning.. there aren’t any UWA lense that have a fixed ap? I’m so lazy, I don’t think I could get used to using a variable aperture lens LOL!

Allison Johnson says:

Check out the Tokina 11-16. It is an UWA, obviously, but amazingly clear and a great price for a lens that might be used less frequently!

ariana says:

Allison, that’s the one I had in mind! :) I think it only works on crop sensors though. Boo!!

ariana says:

Thanks Karen! I’ve definitely been considering the 35.. but then I wonder if I want to go even WIDER a 16-35 or something. More as like a novelty thing? It’s always so hard choosing lenses :)

Karen H says:

Oh, and I forgot, the 35 1.4 is really sharp as most primes are :)

Karen H says:

Another great tutorial! I have just been adding by moving the global vibrance slider, I can see this is a much better way!
I have the 35 1.4L and I love that lens, but I find I need to use my center focus point and recompose with it. When I pick other focus points it isn’t as accurate. But, if you can get past that, I swear the WB/Color out of that lens is almost perfect even on autoWB. It also focuses fast. It does vignette a lot too-but easy to fix. Good to rent and try for sure!