Vignette to Draw the Eye

Why would anyone want to add vignetting to a photo? It is usually something that photographers try to avoid! Lens and filter combinations that produce vignetting can be frustrating to photographers — often resulting in time spent in post-processing software to crop and remove the vignette. Even though vignetting is not always desirable in photos, it can be employed by the skilled photographer to create a “drawing” effect on the viewer. Here’s how . . . First, I should say that the vignette effect I am talking about adding is very subtle. It is a slight dark vignette added to the edges of the photo. That’s all. What this slight, black vignette does is it tones down the edges of a photo and by doing that it takes your focus into the photo. It seems like such a slight change to a photo wouldn’t have that much effect, but it does. It draws your eye into the photo!

I currently use DxO Optics Pro and their Film Pack add-on:

  • Intensity = -7
  • Midpoint = 50
  • Transition = 0
  • Roundness = 0
DxO Optics Pro Filmpack - Creative Vignetting settings for a slight dark vignette around images.

DxO Optics Pro Filmpack – Creative Vignetting settings for a slight dark vignette around images.

I have used Alien Skin Exposure to get a vignette. Here are the settings I used:

  • Amount =10
  • Size = 0
  • Roundness = -100
  • Softness = 30
  • Distortion = 0
  • Lump size = 40
  • Random seed = 1
Alien Skin Exposure settings for a slight dark vignette around photo edges.

Alien Skin Exposure settings for a slight dark vignette around photo edges.

I have also used Lightroom for my post-processing, and in the effects panel there is a section for the vignette. Here are the settings I used:

  • Highlight Priority
  • Amount = -10
  • Midpoint = 25
  • Roundness = -100
  • Feather = 100
  • Highlights = 50

Lightroom Vignette Settings in the Effects Panel

Along with film grain, this is another subtle finishing touch that adds to well-made photos!

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