The other day I was going over the galleys for my Lightroom book, and I came to a comment by Doug Nelson, my technical editor. He highlighted a step in a step-by-step procedure created by the photographer Maggie Hallahan. In Lightroom’s Develop module Maggie had both boosted the Vibrance slider and decreased the Saturation slider. The procedure seemed totally non-intuitive, but Doug was impressed at how well it worked.
Here is Maggie’s original.
And here with the Vibrance boosted to +87 and the Saturation decreased to -64.
This is just one step in a longer procedure that Maggie uses to create a very effective high-key, dramatic look. I remember asking Maggie how she came up with the procedure and she laughed and said she was just having fun sliding Lightroom sliders this way and that and noticed the effect. Only later did she learn exactly how the two sliders worked: the Vibrance affects mostly primary colors while Saturation affects all colors. Used in opposition, one slider can control the other and vice versa.
Maggie is one of those fearless photographers who approach nearly everything with a jump-first attitude. She is one of the first film photographers I know who embraced the digital revolution. She jumped right into Lightroom–at the time a new, and unknown application–and now she is very comfortable using it for all her work. Jumping has served Maggie well: her business is booming. (Check out her work here.)
I contrast Maggie with other photographers I meet who are paralyzed by the vastness of digital photography and the seemly endless possibilities. Instead of jumping in and embracing the new technology they are afraid of making mistakes and retreat to a corner, almost in terror. When photographers are fearful they only see part of the picture.
Most of you heard FDR’s famous line, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
This is especially true for digital photography. Yes, it is a complex subject. Yes, things change on an almost daily basis. Be bold! Make mistakes! (We all do…) Move those Lightroom sliders! Learn! And don’t forget to have fun along the way. And if you come up something very interesting, let me–and others–know.