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How to use the HSL / Color Panel in Lightroom

Learn how to use the HSL color panel in Lightroom.

The HSL/color panel looks pretty confusing and intimidating. but it’s one of the most important Lightroom tools. 

HSL sliders let you change different aspects of an image – hue, saturation, and luminance (HSL).

In this article, we’ll tell you how to use the HSL/color panel to improve your photos. However, before moving on, is important to know what these terms mean and what they do to your photos:

  • Hue: Hue is defined as the shade of a color. It depends on the level of the light that it reflects. A color can have several shades, yellow can be pure yellow, reddish yellow, light yellow, or yellow with a shade of orange. Hue lets you play with the shades of a color so you can pick what suits you the best.
  • Saturation: Saturation refers to the intensity or boldness of an image. It lets you control the mood of a photo as highly saturated images tend to convey a bright mood, whereas dull images highlight sadness.
  • Luminance: Luminance can be defined as the reflective brightness of colors. It lets you play with different sections of an image if it has multiple colors.

So, how do you use this section? Open the adjustment section, you can go to HSL or Color. These do the same thing but are slightly different to use. 

Stick to what you find easier. For every option, you will get to play with these colors:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Aqua
  • Blue 
  • Purple
  • Magenta

Move the slider and you will see the image change. If you want to highlight a color you can go to it and in the hue section, increase it. Keep changing the slider until you find your desired output.

For example, if you’re editing a portrait where the person is wearing yellow, then changing the yellow slider will impact the clothes the model is wearing. 

The sliders are easy to use but there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ setting. Find what works for you.

Tip: It might be a good idea to perform basic adjustments such as exposure before you use the HSL section.



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