Lightroom Only

My “Magic Number” for Nice Subtle Edge Vignetting

Adding a vignette (darkening the edges all the way around the image to focus the attention on your subject) is definitely one of those things you either love with the passion of a thousand burning suns, or you hate with every fiber of your being. Most folks fall on one side or the other (kind of like people feel about HDR), but I think one reason is that, like HDR, people tend to greatly overdue their vignettes making them really obvious and over the top.

Personally, I’m a fan of adding a very subtle vignette. One that you wouldn’t really even notice was there (a kind of “less is more” thing). I use my “magic number” for any time that I’m adding a vignette. It’s enough to make a difference but not enough to draw attention. That magic number is -11, but I only apply this using the Effect panel and by just moving the Highlight Priority Amount slider. That’s it. -11. I have it on a preset that does just that one thing, and nearly every portrait, wedding shot, or other image (besides sports photos) of mine has that added. Here’s what that subtle bit of vignette looks like (see below).

If you’re looking at the image above and you’re thinking to yourself, “I can barely see it,” then my work here is done. 🙂

I hope you find it helpful.