How to Vignette

How to make a per­fect Vignette‚¦ add 1 cup oil to ‚½ cup vine­gar, dash with‚¦ now wait a minute. Not Vinai­grette. VIGNETTE. It’s the amaz­ing effect of hav­ing the cen­tral por­tion of the image show­ing while the rest of the image is dark­ened. Pho­tog­ra­phers can apply this effect to their pho­tos to add more empha­sis to their subject.

Pho­to­shop pro­vides numer­ous meth­ods to mas­ter the vignette. Want some insight? You can use an ellip­ti­cal mar­quee tool, inverse the selec­tion, and blur the four cor­ners. You can also brighten or darken the four cor­ners by work­ing with the level bal­ance on the inversed selec­tion. Lens cor­rec­tion (Fil­ter ‚” Dis­tort) also works well for adding a vignette. These are only two meth­ods, but there are cer­tainly more.

But what about those who pre­fer work­ing in a dark­room to achieve their artis­tic photo effects? In the dark­room, this is done by hold­ing an opaque mate­r­ial with a cir­cle or oval cut-out dur­ing the exposure.

Either way, a vignette can add drama or even soften a pho­to­graph all at once. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are endless.



  1. Alex Wilson says:

    I’d cau­tion against a small vignette with just tiny dark cor­ners — I can look like a com­mon mis­take when you’ve got a too-big lens hood or one too many fil­ters on your lens. If you are going to add a vignette, go big.

    Of course, adding a big one is a great way to hide a small one cre­ated by the above mis­take :)

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