Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adding a vignette to photographs

Digital cameras have greatly advanced even an amateur photographer's ability to capture sharply focused images - sometimes too sharply focused. Back in the days when film photography was the only game in town, there were a lot of camera lenses that couldn't focus across the entire area of the film, leaving photos dark and a bit blurry at the edges and corners. Sometimes a lot dark and blurry.

For those times when you want to subtly age your photos or even emphasize a certain part of the picture, you can simply add a vignette via a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop Elements, which retails for around $80.

To create a vignette, use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to select nearly the entire photo. Feather the selection (240 pixels on a 10 megapixel image works well, use less feathering for smaller images), then invert the selection. Go to Enhance/Adjust Lighting/Levels and slide the right Output Level slider to the left, which will darken the edges of the photo slightly. You can then add some soft blur (Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur) to your liking.

Photos © 2009 James Jordan.

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Anonymous Mark said...

This is how stupid I am. I had no idea people were altering their photo's with computer programs. I have just recently found an interest in Photography and your site is just full of info for me to absorb. I will put your link on my blog so I can continue to take advantage of your expertise.

March 17, 2009 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

Wonderful site. I've been using Photoshop for more than 10 years for everything from creating original art to tweaking my old drawings and paintings to making my photos look like drawings and paintings. I even did a "makeover" of the Mona Lisa (see how I did it here: http://proartz.blogspot.com/2009/01/creative-process-art-2.html).

But I learn something new every day, mostly from experimentation. Thanks for this little bit on making a vignette. I immediately pulled up one of my photos and tried it and it worked wonderfully.

April 8, 2009 at 2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

April 12, 2009 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Bob Towery said...

Such a simple technique that really helps a viewer focus on an image.

BTW, this is built into lightroom, there is a simple slider to add vignette. And get this, it is "smart." It's called "post crop vignette." You can crop and recrop an image (since LR is non destructive) and the vignette is continually re-applied.

If you haven't made the jump to LR, you don't know what you are missing!

May 15, 2009 at 11:19 AM  

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