3 Ways How To Apply Vignette in Lightroom

by Lucia

Vignetting is a great way to enhance the composition and mood of an image. It simply means darkening some specific areas (as corners and edges), so a viewer’s eye is lead towards the main subject. There are 3 ways how you can apply a vignette in Lightroom.

A vignette is important in landscape photography, but not less important in food photography. So, if you are one of those, creating moody and dark images, this blogpost is for you.

To give you an example, below, the image on the left is after applying a vignette, the right one is before. I think the right image is already great, but I wanted to put more attention on the chocolate and the cake, so the other objects in the image do not take the attention away from the main subject.

In my case, vignetting is more a signature of my photography style, you can notice it on all my recent images. For adding a vignette into this image, I used a combination of different advanced tools in Lightroom, such as Brush, Radial filter and the Post-Crop Vignetting tool.

Why a vignette is important

  • Vignetting leads the eye towards the main subject. Sometimes an image can be distracting if containing too many objects, that might take away the attention from the main subject.
  • will help enhance the composition and mood of an image,
  • it can be an important aspect for your signature style.

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3 ways how to add a vignette in Lightroom

There are a few ways how you can create a vignette in Lightroom:

  1. Post-Crop Vignetting Tool
  2. Radial Filter
  3. Brush Tool

1. Post-Crop Vignetting Tool

Post-Crop Vignetting Tool is the main tool you use for adding a vignette into your image. It’s easy to learn and makes good effects. You can find it in the right hand panel, inside of the Develop Mode – under Effects.

See the example of vignetting. To make it clearer, I moved the slider all the way to 100.

There are a few options inside of this tool, but what you use mostly is the Amount Slider. It starts at 0 and goes to -100 (darkening the area) to 100 (lightening the area). How much you move the slider, depends on you, your style and the image you edit. I usually keep it at a lower amount and after I continue vignetting by the Radial filter or the Brush tool. We will talk about it later in this article.

Other slides inside of the Post-Crop Vignetting Tool:

Midpoint serves for adjusting how big vignetting you wish to add. It gives you the standard option at the value of 50, then moving the slider to the left, your vignette will be larger, moving it to the right, your vignette will be smaller.

On this image below you see the midpoint slider on the left at -100 (vignetting is larger), on the right at 100 (vignetting is smaller).

Roundness slider simply means what shape will a Vignette have. See the example below, on the left, the value of the Roundness is -100, whether in the right image, the Roundness value is +100.

Feather slider determines how hard or soft a vignette transition will be, see the example of these two images below. I personally do not use this slider often, so I keep it at the default.

The last slider is Highlights. This slider start at 0. After you add a vignette into your image, the Highlights slider gets unlocked. This slider serves for not applying the vignette on the brighest areas of the image. If you move it to the right, you will see how the brightest areas of an image won’t get effected by the Vignette.

Pros and cons of the Post Crop Vignetting

Pros:

  • simple and easy to use
  • makes good effects on the image with simple adjustments

Cons:

  • less flexibility
  • applies globally into an image and not to some parts only
  • limited editing options

2. Radial Filter for adding a Vignette

This is a more flexible and advanced method of applying a vignette into your image. Radial Filter has a lot of options and after you learn how to use it, it’s quite easy to use.

To use the Radial Filter, open the tool on the right hand panel, or use the shortcut (Shift+M). Drag the filter across the image to the size you need. You can adjust the edges by pulling them further or closer to the center point. You can also freely move the center point to where you need to place it.

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Now, go back to the right hand panel and you see the sliders inside of the Radial Filter. Lower the exposure until you reach a vignette you like.

You can adjust the softness or roughness of the vignette by the slider Feather, which you find as the last slider within the Radial Filter.

Deleting certain areas from a Vignette

As I mentioned before, the Radial filter gives us more more flexibility and it allows you also to delete certain areas from where the vignetting is applied.

To do so, stay inside the Radial Filter and choose the Brush tool (left image). Then, within the Radial Brush tool, go down to Erase (right image):

How to apply a vignette in Lightroom | Lucia Marecak Photography

If needed, adjust the Erase sliders as the Size or Feather and start painting with the Brush on those areas of an image you need to delete the vignette from.

While deleting those areas from the Vignette, and if the effect is too strong, undo the adjustment and go back to the right hand panel into the Erase settings. Adjust the Density (the last slider) and apply the erase tool again.

Why would you want to delete some areas from a Vignette?

These areas can be for example some dark areas in an image and when applying a vignette, they can lose the data. Do you remember the my blog post about the Clipping Indicators? They serve to indetify pure black or pure white areas in an image. These areas do not contain any texture (or any data) and it can be very distracting in the final image.

Pros and Cons of the Radial Tool

Pros:

  • advanced options
  • quite easy to use, after you get used to it
  • very powerful tool for creating a vignette
  • give you possibility to erase some areas from a vignette
  • you can even change the colour of a vignette (the colour option is under all sliders within the EDIT area of the Radial Filter. We will talk about it also at the blogpost about the Radial Tool)

Cons:

  • requires more steps to create a vignette
  • it’s more complicated than Post-Cropping Vignette Tool

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3. A Vignette by using the Brush Tool

You can apply a Vignette in Lightroom by using the Brush tool too. I do it quite often, especially when I want to darken only some specific parts of an image. Sometimes it also happens, that there are some areas in the image, that stay visible even after applying the Radial Filter or Post-crop Vignetting Tool. In this case, the Brush Tool is the best to adjust the exposure only of those areas.

To use the Brush tool, go to the right hand panel, choose the Brush tool or use the shortcut (K), adjust the Feather before applying the Brush tool, click on the Show Selected Mask Overlay and start painting on the area you wish to darken. Then, un-click on the Show Selected Mask Overlay, go back to the sliders in the Brush tool and lower the exposure, until you reach the effect you like. Read more about how to use the Brush tool in this article.

Pros and Cons of the Brush tool

Pros:

  • very flexible tool if you need to apply a vignette only to some areas of an image
  • has a lot of editing options

Cons:

  • it’s not the best option is you want to apply a vignette globally in an image

Some final advice:

  • while vignetting your image, check the Clipping Indicators too,
  • Radial Filter has more flexibility than the Post Cropping Vignetting tool,
  • Apply the Brush tool when you need to adjust only some speficic parts of the image.
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Author: Lucia Marecak
Author: Lucia Marecak

Hi there! My name is Lucia, I am a food blogger and food photographer. 

Here, at Healthy Goodies by Lucia, apart from creating delicious recipes, I also write about motivation, time-management or blogging itself and share my knowledge about food photography & editing.

My goal is to   help  & inspire  you to achieve a better work-life balance through healthy eating, self-development, blogging & food photography.

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