In Ligthroom, when should the "saturation" slider be prefered over the "vibrance" one?

I really get the difference between those two, and I get that vibrance is just some "intelligent saturation" that tries to prevent over-saturating colors and protects skin tones. I almost always get a better result when I use vibrance, and most tutorials tells us to leave the saturation slider alone.

Is the saturation slider still useful? What are some good use cases for it?


2 Answers 2


Occasionally you want certain colours to stand out and saturation gives a better result than vibrance. It's hard to tell in advance when this is going to be the case so you just have to experiment.

The saturation slider still has its uses, however. It appears that saturation is applied after vibrance, so you can push vibrance higher than you want then dial it back a little with negative saturation to achieve an even greater level of normalisation.

You can also combine both sliders to achieve a more extreme version of the use case outlined in the first paragraph. By setting negative vibrance and then pushing the saturation way up you get a few colours very strongly saturated and everything else near grey. This provides an easier and more natural looking selective desaturation result.


Increasing saturation retains the relative saturation levels, while vibrance reduces it. So saturation is good if you want to increase the overall saturation (e.g. to compensate for cloudy weather) while keeping the original color contrasts.

Also remember that you can use both sliders to reduce color. Reducing saturation gives nice muted colors. Reducing vibrance usually just looks strange.


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