Vignette Tutorial

Hi friends. I’d like to share another tutorial. I’ve been blessed to have a few people ask me how I go about making a vignette on my photos.

I’m excited about this because it’s something I’ve come to realize is easily and often over done in photos. I’ve seen moderately big name professionals add vignetting where it couldn’t possibly exist. And I’ve definitely over done it myself.

Case in point this photo:


I’m really happy with many of my images from this photo shoot with my dear friend Breann. But I look at this photo, and a few others, and think, “what the crap Adam? Were you looking through a peep hole?” There is just way too much vignette going on here. I just cringe at the obviously post processed nature of the vignette. In real life I would have needed a ton of filters on the end of my lens to get that much black on the corners.

NOTE: I believe it’s important to understand a few things about why vignetting happens. One of two things can cause vignetting. A set of filters intruding on the lens glass, or the natural contrast cast from the lens’ natural flaws. Please understand that, vignette is a flaw. A flaw that we can sometimes use to draw attention to our subject.

When the lens does it naturally, like with many prime lenses (especially wide angel), it will cause subtle dark areas in the corners of the photo. This will not occur in exposed light sources, or in over-exposed high-lights. The best example I can think of is a wall. If you take a picture of a wall straight on you will likely get subtle vignette around the edges. Now take a picture with that same wall only filling the bottom half of the frame. The top half filled with an over-exposed/bright sky. There will be no vignette in the sky.

Most likely you’ve been making your vignetting with the RAW editor in Photoshop. I’m going to ask you to stop doing that at this point. I, like many people, thought this was just thought this was the best way. What kept happening to me was I could get it to look right in RAW, but by the time I was done with all my typical color enhancements I had some super dark corners spread across several layers. I had no way of removing them with out making all my work until then look unnatural.

So here we go. We’ll start with an image that has already gone through all my typical color enhancements. I’ll show the before and after of the original and post processed, then add the vignette. I apologize for the choppy nature of the video, this is my first screen video and I’m still learning/ironing out the kinks.


That’s it guys.

Please remember two additional things:  Do not add white vignetting. It is rarely acceptable. Please don’t let me catch you with a white vignette. And if you think you are that one in a million photographer that can do it the right way, I’m going to be real with you and tell you that you most likely aren’t. And when adding vignetting subtlety is the best policy.

Thank you for letting me share with you. I hope you find a way to express your heart today.

God Bless You,

-Adam Allen


Stellar - Hey, Adam. Thanks a bunch for the tutorial! Really great lesson. Just wanted to ask. You did mention that white vignette is a NO-NO.

Well, is it acceptable in this case? 🙂

Thanks again.

-Stellar K-