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You have likely seen photos on the internet which are well-exposed at the center, but the brightness starts reducing towards the edges. If you are not familiar with the name of this effect, it is called an edge vignette or image vignetting.
Interestingly, a vignette is an effect which occurs naturally but can also be achieved intentionally during the post-processing stage. Not everyone likes the vignetting effect in their photos, for some, it is a useful technique and for others, it is a disaster. Honestly, a well-done vignette can help draw viewer’s attention towards the subject placed in the center. You can use it to your benefit if you are a portrait, wildlife, or a wedding photographer.
But vignetting could also make your photos unappealing if you are a landscape, interior, or commercial photographer, as you would not want the edges of your photos to be too dark.
There are multiple reasons why the vignetting effect gets applied to your photos when using a digital camera. One of the main causes of vignetting is the use of wide aperture openings such as f/1.4 or f/1.8. But if you increase the aperture value by 2-3 stops, you can easily eliminate the vignetting effect in your photo.
Another cause of vignetting could be the use of a longer focal length, but as you go wider the effect starts getting less visible. Some low-end lenses are also more likely to have an edge vignette than their more expensive counterparts.
Using multiple lens filters or mounting low-quality lens filters can also result in strong vignetting, as they can block the amount of light entering through the lens from various angles. Did you know that even a third-party lens hood can result in a vignette? So make sure you buy the correct hood compatible with your lens to avoid any vignetting in your photos.
If your camera has captured a photo with the vignette effect due to one of the reasons mentioned above, you can easily remove it using Adobe Lightroom. This method is very impressive and the first time I used this feature in Lightroom I was happy with the fact that I can get rid of vignetting anytime I wish in the post-processing stage.
NOTE: You can use this technique of removing vignetting only if you are processing RAW files in Lightroom.
As you can see in the screenshots above, the RAW format file had a hard vignette as this photo was shot using 50mm lens at f/1.8. In the second image, the vignetting has almost been removed with the help of one of the Adobe Lightroom’s handy features called “Enable Profile Corrections”.
This feature automatically detects the lens make, model, and profile, if it is available in the Adobe database. Lightroom has the lens profiles of almost every manufacturer, except for a few such as Samyang. This magical feature then corrects the vignette as well as distortion in your photo automatically. You can manually adjust them as well using the sliders. Isn’t that cool!?
To access this feature in Lightroom, you must be in the Develop module and the Enable Profile Corrections checkbox can be found under Lens Corrections tab on the right-hand side panel.
With just a click you can remove vignetting from your photo with Lightroom. Just make sure you are using the RAW format file only as this feature is not applicable for JPEGs.
One of the easiest ways of adding a vignette to a photo is by using the Post-Crop Vignetting feature in Lightroom. You can find this tool located under the Effects drop-down menu. To keep it simple, you can start with moving the Amount slider towards the left (a negative number) in order to add the vignetting effect. Then you can adjust the Midpoint slider to define the spread of vignetting effect in the photo as per your desire.
The Roundness slider further allows you to define the shape of the vignette on the photo and the feather slider lets you define the falloff or how gradually it fades to the edges. The Highlights slider allows you to retain the highlights from the parts of the photo where you have applied the vignetting effect.
The only limitation of this approach is that you can not adjust the placement of the area where the vignetting effect starts. It only gets applied from the edges of the image moving towards the center (the vignette is centered).
The best thing about using the Radial Filter to add a vignette is that unlike the post-crop vignetting tool, you can change the position of the area where the effect gets applied. This means that you can select a particular area which remains unchanged as shown in the image above, and the vignette effect can be applied to the rest of the image.
As you can see in the image above, the Radial Filter tool gives you the freedom to play with much more diverse adjustments such as White Balance, Shadows, and Clarity. To start with you need to click and drag to select the area outside which you wish to apply the vignetting effect. Once that’s done you then can get started by adjusting the sliders.
Initially, you will have to bring down the exposure to darken the area selected, then you can play with the sliders to get the desired result.
Do you have any other alternatives for adding or removing vignettes in your images? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.