How to Easily Create Vignette in Photoshop

Have you been wondering how you can add a subtle dark or shadowy effect to the corners of your wedding images? If yes, then we are here to tell you how you can do that using Photoshop. This effect is called the vignette effect and is used to enhance images and draw the viewer’s attention to the center, where the subject is placed. It is a classic yet timeless photography effect, and the proof is its popularity among wedding photographers even now. There are many ways to create vignettes in Photoshop, and in this blog, we share some of the easiest ways to do that. Pick the one that suits you the best and enhance the visual appeal of your images.

The What & Why of the Vignette Effect

Silhouette of a couple looking at each other while holding hands as the Sun sets behind them
Image Credit @saltpinephoto

The word vignette comes from vine, and creating a vignette was originally meant to signify decorating the borders of a page or a book. Gradually, the photography industry started using this concept to create borders around images or darkening edges to add visual appeal. In the pre-digital age, photographers used to apply various techniques such as controlling the light hitting the camera sensor to gradually reduce it from the center of the photo, thus, creating a vignette. Today, the same effect can be created digitally in editing suites like Photoshop. Vignettes can be lighter or darker. They can also be soft and gradual or hard and edgy. Besides drawing the viewer’s attention to the center, creating a vignette can help hide clutter or distracting elements present in the corners of your photo. The vignette effect also allows photographers to add an illusion of a foreground and depth in their images.

How to Add Vignette Effect to Your Wedding Images in Photoshop

Infographic stating how to use photoshop to add a vignette to your wedding photos

1. With the Marquee Tool & Adjustment Layer Curve

Start the process by opening your chosen wedding image in Photoshop. Next, find the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the Marquee flyout menu in Photoshop’s Tools panel. Then, select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and make a large oval selection around the center of your photo.

Drag your mouse to start the selection near the top left corner of your image and end somewhere near the bottom right. Now, add Feather value before you create a vignette effect so that the darkening is gradual and doesn’t come out looking like an unnatural sharp line in the image. To add Feather value, go to Select and then Modify. In the modify section, you will see the Feather option. You can choose a value from 50 pixels to as high as 250 pixels depending on the size of your image and the effect you want.

You will need to inverse your selections because you want the vignette effect to work on the area that isn’t selected by the Marquee Tool. So you will have to go to Select and then Inverse. Next, go to Layer and select New Adjustment Layer. From here, select the Curves option. Now, take a look at the Layers panel, and you will be able to see a New Adjustment Layer placed above the Background Layer. The adjustment layer will display a related mask looking like your selection. Here, you will be able to make any changes to the Curves layer and adjust the vignette effect for your image. To do this, you can click on the Curve and add an adjustment point somewhere in the middle of the Curve. To darken the corners of your wedding image, drag this point downwards and drag it upwards to make them lighter. You can keep making adjustments until you get the desired effect. The best part is that you will be working on a different layer, enabling you to completely delete your edits if they go wrong without affecting the original image.

2. With a Levels Layer

To create a vignette in Photoshop with a Levels Layer, click on the Create New Fill or the Adjustment Layer icon. Next, go to Levels, and you will see the Levels panel. In this panel, go to the gray triangle and drag it to the right to darken the image.

You can go to the white triangle of the slider below and drag it to the left for a more intense effect. Now, you will have to select the Paint Brush and set it to the color black. Before moving ahead, make sure you go to the Curves layer and select the layer mask thumbnail. Then, paint over the middle area of your image with a large and soft brush. All the places you paint black will become lighter, and you will see the change in the mask thumbnail. If you want any area of your image to become dark again, you will have to paint the image with white color. This method of adding a vignette effect to your image will allow you to adjust the size and shape of the effect you apply. By double-clicking on the Levels layer, you will also be able to change the intensity of the effect.

3. With the Lens Correction Filter

Infographic stating the lens correction filter is the easiest and quickest tool

This one can possibly be credited for being the easiest and the quickest way to get the vignette effect on your wedding images in Photoshop. To use the Lens Correction Filter, you will have to open the Lens Correction Window. First, select and open the image you want to work on in Photoshop. Next, go to the Filter menu and choose the Lens Correction option from there. Then, click on the Custom tab, and you will find two sliders there. These sliders will help you control the intensity or impact of the vignette effect on your image.

One of these sliders will allow you to set the amount of the effect, while the other one will let you set the midpoint from where the effect will graduate. Once you have made your adjustments, you will see the preview of your image with the final vignette effect applied to it. The only weak point of this method is that it won’t allow you to customize the effect.

Suggested Read: How to Use Photoshop Lens Correction Filter

4. With the Dodge & Burn Tools

For beginners, the Dodge tool in Photoshop helps you lighten the image, while the Burn tool does the exact opposite. These tools can also be used to create vignette in Photoshop, and you can do so by following a few easy steps. But again, before you begin editing your image, create a Duplicate Layer so that you do not lose your original image. Now, select the Burn tool and then choose a large and soft brush from the toolbar above. Photoshop will allow you to adjust the hardness or softness of your brush by moving the slider. Also, you can adjust the exposure to achieve cleaner and more natural results. The lower the exposure, the better your results could be. Now, paint over the corners of your image. Once you are done, see the results in preview. If you are not satisfied, you can make adjustments to the settings of tones, shadows, and highlights. Rework your image until you are satisfied.

Related Read: How To Dodge And Burn Your Images In Photoshop

5. With the Radial Gradient

Infographic stating using radial gradient to create a vignette is a great tool for your editing toolbox

You can also create the vignette effect in Photoshop using the radial gradient. The special thing about using this tool is that your subject need not be at the center of your image, and you can position the radial gradient anywhere accordingly. To add a vignette to your image, go to the Radial Gradient Tool icon in the column on the right side and click on it. You can also open it by pressing the R key on your keyboard.

Next, drag your mouse over the focal point of your chosen wedding image. Again, as we mentioned above, the focal point doesn’t necessarily need to be at the center. Before moving forward, just make sure that the invert checkbox in the Radial Gradient Tool is selected. This will allow you to apply all adjustments outside of the Radial Gradient outline.

In the Radial Gradient panel, you can drag sliders to make any adjustments. You can move the exposure slider to the left or right to create a dark or light vignette and also make color, sharpness, and saturation adjustments to draw attention to your image’s focal point. To enhance the focal point even further, you can add another Radial Gradient and adjust its brightness. The effects will be applied inside the gradient outline.

Suggested Read: Make Hue/Saturation Photoshop Elements Adjustments to Change Colors Easily

Silhouette of a couple holding hands while facing each other in the rain
Image Credit @saltpinephoto

We hope our tips on creating the vignette effect in Photoshop for your images will help you understand the basics of the process. The kind of vignette you create for your images depends on the image, your photography style, and your preference. There are many more ways of achieving this effect in Photoshop, but we’d suggest you try the different methods before finalizing which one works best for you. It will also give you a chance to practice more. This way, you will be able to better understand the method that suits your workflow and style. So keep practicing and creating gorgeous images with the vignette effect.

At ShootDotEdit, we love sharing tips and new ideas to help you grow as artists and business owners. But that’s not it. We also help you speed up your post-production workflow by offering professional photo editing services. To learn more about our services, check out our pricing plans.

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