How to Do Vignetting in Photoshop

With the rise of photo sharing apps like Instagram, the vignette has become one of the most ubiquitous photographic effects. You probably know what a vignette looks like, but how does it work?
Essentially, a vignette is a subtle effect used to guide the eye through a shot. It’s achieved by darkening the peripheries of a photo while leaving the center of the image brighter, resulting in a dark space around the subject. Our eyes naturally gravitate to the brighter part of the image.
There are many ways to create and add vignettes to your photos, but for now we will talk about how it’s done with professional editing software. Below, we’ve outlined how to do vignettes in Photoshop. 

Lens Correction Filter Method

This is the easiest and fastest way to create a vignette in Photoshop. 

  1. First, open your image. It’s best to use an image with a central subject that you’d like to draw attention to.
  2. Click “Filter” on the menu bar and select “Lens Correction…” Then, click on the Custom tab.
  3. Under the “Vignette” section, move the amount slider to the left toward “darken” and adjust the midpoint slider to taste.

Marquee Tool Method

Here, we will be using the Marquee tool to create a similar looking vignette. 

  1. First, open your image. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool. Then, in the top toolbar find the Feather option and set a radius of around 50-150 pixels, depending on how large your file is. Make sure the “Anti-alias” box is enabled.
  2. Next, we are going to draw out the shape of our vignette. To do this, left-click and hold while dragging your shape out over the image. Once you are happy with the shape, let go of the mouse.  
  3. Now, find “Select” on the menu bar and click “Inverse”. The selection is flipped now, so when any adjustment is applied, the outside of the shape will be affected, leaving the image center untouched.
  4. Finally, we are going to darken the selection. Go to “Image” on the menu bar, and select “Adjustments” and then “Brightness/Contrast…” Simply drag the brightness slider right to darken the outside of the image.

When used correctly, a vignette can be used to guide the eye or add a subtle frame to a photo. With the help of editing software like Photoshop, you can create an incredible looking vignette, digitally.

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