This Lightroom Trick Makes PERFECT HSL Edits FAST (VIDEO)

We all hear about so-call “hidden” editing tools that deliver great results. But while many of these methods are effective, some are quite familiar to photographers of all skill levels.

The quick tutorial below, however, demonstrates an oft-ignored Lightroom tool that enables you to make faster and more precise HSL edits that ever before. As you probably know, HSL stands for hue, saturation and luminance—three important values that form the basis of color in a photo.

Instructor John Pedersen is an accomplished landscape photographer with years of experience capturing beautiful images in the Pacific Northwest, and editing them to perfection. In the nine-minute tutorial below he demonstrates what he says is a “fantastic, hidden editing tool that’s super easy to use.”

Pedersen’s trick involves an unconventional and very intuitive method for HSL adjustments. What makes this technique so special is this: Instead of using Lightroom sliders that apply global enhancements to the entire image, he clicks on an obscure button to make selective adjustments “exactly where you want them.”

The episode begins in Lightroom’s Develop module with Pedersen scrolling down to the HSL panel. He then demonstrates the most common approach to enhancing a nice landscape scene he shot in Iceland with reindeer in the foreground. As you’ll see, this approach is far from perfect.

The magic begins as soon as Pedersen selects a small, overlooked button found on the left of the HSL panel. Now when he clicks on the image, his cursor transforms into crosshairs with directional indicators. By moving the crosshairs within the photo, it’s possible to make HSL adjustments to the specific color underneath, while leaving the rest of the image unchanged.

You can do this to as many areas of a scene that you want, and adjust various colors in an image. Thus, you can remove a blue cast from the snow without changing the tonal values of the sky, and then adjust the sky without ruining the perfect white snow. As you’ll see, there’s much more you can do with this fast and precise approach.

After watching the video head over to Pedersen’s instructional YouTube channel where you’ll find more editing tips and tricks.

We also suggest you watch an earlier tutorial we posted, with another pro’s composition tips that will transform your landscape photography.