Tag Archives: vignette

The Oldest Trick in the Book

Why does this image seem to "pop" off the background? I used the oldest trick in the book!

My main mission here at Luminescence of Nature is to educate photographers. To that end, there’s always lots of discussion about camera settings, RAW converters, and software settings. But even though we live in the digital age, there are some old tricks that just work. The difference is knowing how to apply the effect in your software of choice.

The effect I’m talking about is corner shading, or vignetting. This was the old darkroom trick of “burning”  or “dodging” the edges of the frame to draw attention to the center of the image. This technique can be applied via a variety of tools in your digital darkroom, but the concept is simple. Your eye is subconsciously drawn to bright, colorful, contrasty areas, and conversely avoids dark, low-contrast, low-color areas in a scene. What’s great about this effect is that it need not be applied so strong as to be obvious, and yet it still delivers a powerful impact. Let’s take a look at three different ways to apply a vignette effect in post-processing.

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