How to Use the “Most Important” Tab in Lightroom

Learning how to use everything Lightroom has to offer is a never-ending process. So when one of our favorite image-editing instructors says, “This is the most important tab in Lightroom,” we stop and pay attention.

In the quick tutorial below, self-proclaimed “Mr. Photography” Anthony Morganti reveals what he considers the preeminent tab in Lightroom. After explaining why this tool is so important, Morganti demonstrates how he unleashes its power to enhance his images.

What we’re discussing here is Lightroom’s powerful HSL Color tab, and as you may suspect the abbreviation stands for Hue-Saturation-Luminance. What gives the HSL panel so much juice is the simplicity with which its simple sliders can bring out the most in your images.

According to Morganti, most photographers begin their adjustments with Lightroom’s Basic tab, with its tone controls and sliders for adjusting vibrance and saturation. He then describes the limitations of this approach and explains why you should use the HSL Color tab instead.

Morganti’s reasoning is simple: The HSL Color tab does pretty much everything the Basic tab can do and much more, like also enabling you to adjust color contrast. Best yet, this superior approach is very easy and intuitive to use.

In just eight minutes Morganti walks you through his entire process for adjusting an image with the HSL tools, beginning with correcting the hue, saturation and luminance of individual colors. There are actually two ways to get the job done, and Morganti explains his personal preference.

Morganti moves on to the other enhancements he makes, and explains why the order in which you employ these tools can be very important. So take a look and you may never use the Basic tab again.

After watching the video, head over to Morganti’s YouTube channel for more editing advice. And be sure to look at another recent tutorial we posted, with a simple Photoshop trick for adding depth to portrait photos.