Friday Tip – Lens Vignetting

Think of this tip as a public service announcement. I’ve seen many questions on how to get Lightroom’s Lens Vignetting slider to work on cropped photos when you want to darken the edges of a photo. See, the vignette (edge darkening) gets added to the original uncropped image – regardless of the crop you’ve applied. It actually kind of make sense. Think of it this way. The Vignetting adjustment wasn’t really added so we could use it to darken edges creatively. It was added to counteract the effects of lens vignetting with certain lenses (especially when shooting wide open). Since you’d only be removing a vignette from the entire uncropped image it makes sense that it works this way. It’s really only later that people started using this creatively. Anyway, currently (as of Lightroom 1.3) there is no way to change this. So if you find you’d like to slightly darken the edges you could always edit the photo in Photoshop. Then click the Filter menu, choose Distort > Lens Correction and use the Vignette settings in there. That said, make sure you ease up on the settings for this. The edge darkening technique looks nice when used sparingly but tends to look too fake when used at too high of a setting.

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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17 Comments

  1. Matt,

    You can apply vignetting on a crop inside LR. What I do is:

    Crop the image in Lightroom, transfer it to CS3 by Edit Option. This will make a copy of the cropped version in PSD. After CS3 opens the file, I just close it, use the LR vignetting option, and export or print.

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  2. Great workaround Jorge! But ain’t it better to export as TIF, so that the EXIF data isn’t lost?

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  3. sweet tip, Matt and Jorge! I have been trying to figure that one out for a bit … both great workaround tips! Thanks.

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  4. MarkH, yes, I said PSD but applies to both file formats. It should be: “PSD or TIFF” :)

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  5. Thanks for the discussion, Matt. I’ve known all of this before, and the workarounds mentioned, but it’s still frustrated me that there isn’t a built in way of applying it to the cropped area rather than just the original.

    Any idea if Adobe will address it in a future release?

    Thanks again for all of your tips!
    Jason

    Jason D. Moore Photography
    Photoshop & Photography Blogroll

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  6. Yes, I’ve been doing this for awhile. It seems the best way to apply vignetting to the cropped image.

    The only problem comes if you want to re-crop for some reason. Thus, I’ve found it’s best done as the very last step in the editing process. Then, you can just go back to the original, re-crop and then add the vignetting back.

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  7. Making a virtual copy of the cropped image you want to vignette will allow you to vignette like it was an original uncropped image.

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  8. I have noticed that since I upgraded to 1.3 the format option in the print module is gone, is this an upgrade?

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  9. LightMachine: It applies vignette to a cropped (virtual or not) but at the original edges of the photo. So you don’t have too much of effect if it’s a big crop. It works well for small crops.

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  10. Hy Matt,

    I konw that my question is not related with today’s theme, but I try.

    I got a problem with my web site. I develop my pictures and when I upload them to my web site I lost all the contrast and the profiles. It happens to me as well when I create a pdf with LR. I ask around and anyone with me an answer. What I am doing wrong? Maybe this can be a theme for forwar tips

    Thanks for your time. Great site, by the way, I am learning a lot.

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  11. It works for me… Any time I make a virtual copy of an image that has been cropped, lightroom applies the vignette like it was an original. Even on heavily cropped images.

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  12. LightMachine: I’m using LR 1.3.1 and can’t have the same effect. If I crop an image heavily, the vignette effect is nothing to compare with the original not cropped version. (Using PC version). But as you said is applied to all the image.

    PS: Sorry for my English, I’m Portuguese. :)

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  13. Hi Matt
    Thanks for the tips, thanks to you and the good people at Adobe I enjoy my photography a whole lot more than I ever did. And I did enjoy it a lot before, but the control over the final image with Lightroom and your tips is fantastic. I noticed this issue with a cropped image and edge darkening with your presets. I just export the cropped image as a Tiff and import it straight back into light room and apply any edge darkening with no need to open Photoshop. Because it’s the last thing I do before printing this workflow works ok. Thanks again Matt keep up the good work.

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  14. Matt,

    Is it possible to create a video tutorial about color management? Differences in color spaces and different devices – recommended workflow and setup for photographers especially.

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  15. Matt,

    Love the website. I hear you say that you get tons of emails from listeners, but I can’t seem to find an email address for you, so I’ll add my question here and hope you get to it.

    I want to get better at adding more to my metadata, but I don’t know needs to go in some of the tabs, for instance what goes under ‘copy name’ ‘label’ or ‘description writer?’ I know you’ve done a video on using metadata, but can you do one to show what should go where?

    Thanks

    Glen

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  16. Great tutorial Matt,

    Edge darkening really has some cool offerings to select images we photographers shoot.

    If possible,
    is there a way to give your photos a vintage hand tint effect like in the old days of printing a black and white and color tinting it to appear as if it were color. this was done before color film was introduced back in the 20’s ect..
    I am looking for a way to either batch process in lightroom or PS (as an action).

    Ron

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  17. Matt,

    I have a doubt about metadata. As an brazilian photographer, I put some metadata information with extended characthers, like accents (ç á ê õ…). They will look fine on other computers? I’m working on Mac, so on Windows they’ll look good or that terribles square boxes? I wanna make this information the most cross-plataform as possible.

    I dont know your email, that’s why I’m asking this here!

    Thanks and please, answer me!!!

    Thanks a lot! I love your videos, and you are the responsible to make me abaddon Photoshop a little bit… Lightroom saves a lot of time, and is incredible on editing raw files.

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