Create edge vignetting
Vignetting (the darkening of the edges of your image) is often seen as an undesirable lens-induced aberration, that should be removed using software before the final image is printed
Vignetting (the darkening of the edges of your image) is often seen as an undesirable lens-induced aberration, that should be removed using software before the final image is printed. This is easily accomplished in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, Photoshop’s Lens Correction Filter or a multitude of other software options. However, there are occasions when vignetting is beneficial to composition and actually adding to the effect is attractive for create purposes.
By darkening the periphery of your frame, it is possible to draw your viewer’s eye towards the centre of the frame, focussing attention on your subject and minimising distracting detail. This too can be done in ACR, Lightroom or Capture but in this tutorial we’ll cover how to add a vignetting effect quickly in Photoshop, as a finishing touch to an almost completed image
Duplicate your Background Layer
We need to be working on a duplicate layer so that we can access blend modes to create the vignetting effect. Hit Ctrl + J (PC) or cmd + J (Mac) to create the duplicate.
Change the Blend Mode
Change the Blend Mode of your duplicate layer to Multiply, selecting this from the drop-down menu. This will have an image-wide darkening effect.
Create a Layer Mask
Add a layer mask to the duplicate background, either by clicking on the layer mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel or by going Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. This will add a white mask to the layer.
Make a selection
Next head to the top left of the Photoshop workspace and select the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Draw a selection from one of the corners of your image, positioning the selection so that it is in the centre of the frame with an even amount of space on either side. If you need to move the selection go Select > Transform Selection.
Work on the mask
With your layer mask selected, go Edit > Fill and fill the selection with black to erase the centre of the mask. This will remove the darkening effect and leave this only at the edges of the image.
Blur the effect
At the moment the vignetting effect is far too hard-edged. To soften the transition between the light and darker areas we can use the Gaussian Blur filter. With the mask still selected, go Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set a radius appropriate to your image. If you want a harder effect use a lower radius. Higher resolution images will require a greater radius for the same strength of effect.
Optional step: if the effect is still too strong, lower the opacity of your top layer to around 70%. For shots with lots of empty space (such as a sky) try 30% so the darkening isn’t too obvious