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Vignetting - what is it in photography? art photography
Vignetting - what is it in photography? art photography

There are a huge number of ways to highlight the main thing in the frame. To do this, you can use different light and color methods or focus on lines and frames that will hold the viewer's eye on the main object of your frame. But the easiest and fastest way to select is vignetting. What it is? In our article, we will answer this question in detail.

A bit of theory

Agree that it is almost impossible to achieve perfect photos directly from the camera. Basically, everyone always has certain disadvantages. To eliminate them, graphic editors like Photoshop or Lightroom have been created. Any photographer (both professional and amateur) in his career has come across these programs. They allow you to make photos in artistic processing from "raw" frames.

How to do vignetting

Everyone strives to master the various techniques and tools of these programs to make their photos more colorful and vibrant. But all this is the lot of professionals. What to do for loversPhoto? There is one way out - vignetting. What it is? Note that this term came to us from French, where vignette means "screen saver".

In simple words, vignetting means darkening the image around the edge of the frame. Speaking in a more professional language, this is a partial limitation of inclined beams of light with the help of frames or diaphragms of the optical system. It is more typical for telephoto lenses and optical systems with high power.

Vignetting in a camera is caused by using a lens from a full-frame camera on an APS-C sensor. This is all due to the fact that full-frame and cropped sensors have different viewing angles due to the difference in their sizes.

For example, if you put a 50mm lens from full frame on a downsized camera, you won't get the same 50mm. This will already be around 75mm, depending on how large the crop factor is. In this case, vignetting appears. It can be either almost imperceptible or clearly highlighted. For example, when we see a circle with sharp, even edges on the frame, such vignetting occurs most often when using wide-angle lenses such as the MC Zenitar 16mm.

But there is also vignetting used in fine art photography as a way to highlight the main subject. After applying this technique, a slight darkening is artificially created at the edges of the frame. It is difficult to notice it for a person, even for someone who is very well versed in photography. You will never notice this effectunless you know it's applied to the frame.

art photography

This subtle shading works in a very clever way. It seems to be trying to hold your gaze on the photograph, does not let it go to the side. It helps to indicate to the viewer what you wanted to convey to him. If there is no vignetting, the viewer's eye may go to those items that you did not want to put on display.

Vignetting in photography can be not only darkening, but also brightening. This effect is needed in cases where your photo has a joyful mood or bright colors. You don't want to darken the edges of the frame, because the main object of interest will be bright, and the background around it may become dull and gloomy, in which case the lightening technique is used. In this case, the object you need will merge into the general light range and will not only hold the eye, but also complement the image of the hero of the frame.

Vignetting targets

If you want to focus the attention of people who will look at your photos on something, use vignetting. What it is, we explained above. For what purposes is it used? Basically, to create an inconspicuous barrier to the viewer's gaze. It should be noted here that it must be used in very small "doses" so that the viewer is not able to see the catch. The vignetting effect must be added carefully. Otherwise, the viewer will think that your picture is not technically perfect, and will lose interest in your work.

Vignetting in photography


NowLet's see how to do vignetting. We will study several ways using examples of different programs. Let's start with the most common image editor, which is called Photoshop. In this program, we can add a vignette to a frame in three different ways.

Method one

What is the easiest way to create vignetting? Run the program, open any image to which you want to add this effect. Then create a new empty layer on top of your photo. Next, using the fill or the Alt + Del key combination, fill this layer with black. Next, add a mask to it.

Vignetting effect

You can fill this layer with a black to white gradient. Gradients come in several forms, such as radial, diagonal, or just one edge of the image. As a result, you get this effect pretty quickly.

If you think the vignetting is too pronounced, you can lower the opacity of the gradient mask layer.

Second method

In this case, you will need to create a "Curves" adjustment layer. Bend the curve in approximately the same way as shown in the picture so that the entire picture is toned and darkened.

How to bend curves

As in the first method, fill this layer with a gradient. You also get a vignette, but unlike the first photo, it looks more natural and does not break the contrast of the whole work.

Vignetting in the camera

This method allows you todarken the image more realistically without losing the color of the picture.

Third method

It allows you to create a vignette using the "Filter" section. To use it, you need to duplicate the layer with your photo using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + J. Next, go to the “Filter” item, select the “Distortion Correction” section. In the window that opens, go to the "Custom" tab and find the "Vignette" section. Here you will see two sliders for "Effect" and "Mid Point". If you drag the first one, you can change the darkening or lightening of the image. Dragging this slider to the left makes the vignette darker, while dragging it to the right makes it lighter. The Midpoint slider adjusts the size of your vignette (how much it will protrude from the edges of your image).


To create a vignette in Lightroom, you need to go to the "Effects" tab and find the "Vignette" section. Next, you see five sliders that are responsible for the vignetting parameters. The first is responsible for the strength of the effect, that is, it works in the same way as the similar slider in Photoshop. The second is responsible for the midpoint value. To see this effect most noticeably, you can hold down the Alt button.

Drag the slider left or right to see the value of this parameter for 100% Effect. This is necessary when you set the vignette effect to low values. In this case, any changes are not so noticeable. The third slider controls the shape of the vignette. That is, he can make it both more rounded,and more elongated shape. The fourth is responsible for feathering the edges of the frame so that the application of this effect is not so noticeable.

Photography Secrets for Beginners


Finally, I would like to tell you about some secrets of photography for beginners. Try to minimize shooting in automatic mode. Don't let the camera rob you of your creativity. The automatic mode tries to take the most average picture, it does not know how to predict your thoughts. Keep this in mind.

In any business, to achieve something, you need to make a lot of effort. Start learning the three most important parameters of photography: shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Minimize shooting JPEG photos, shoot in RAW. This format will allow you to correct the white balance, as well as get more information from the shadows. Remember, it's better to underexpose a frame than overexpose it. In RAW format, you can almost always save and edit details from a dark space, but something good will not work out of a frame that is too overexposed.

We've covered the most important things about vignetting. What it is is now clear to every reader.

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