I’ve Been Framed; Well Technically, Vignetted

One of the differences between snapshots and photographs is that a snapshot records what is there, while a photograph directs the viewer’s eye toward a specific focal point. One of the easiest tools available to you in post processing is an old-fashioned one going back to the earliest days of plate and film development—the vignette. Vignetting is a technique which creates a window to better frame your subject.  It can be used on portraits or landscapes.  It can be subtle or very dramatic. There are tools in both Adobe® Lightroom and Photoshop which provide a variety of options. We are going to focus on LR today.  Here is a photo of my musically talented, close friend, Al.  Those people in the background are distracting and I want to hide them.

Working your way down the menu choices in the Develop module provides a good workflow for image processing.  In the Effects panel, you will see the Post-Crop Vignette menu.  Even if you go back and re-crop the picture the system will keep your vignettes framed in proportion. As with all LR choices, the best way to learn them is to play with the controls and just look at the results, adjusting them until you are happy.

The first choice, the Amount slider, allows you to have a white border if you push it all the way to the right or a black one if you push it all the way to the left. 

The Midpoint slider lets you control how far into the image the effect goes, while the feather slider lets you control how hard the inner edge is. Here I’ve pushed it all the way to 0 for a very hard edge.

Finally the Roundness control does exactly that, pushing the frame to a perfect circle at 100 or a round cornered rectangle at  -79.  What you select is entirely up to you.  Mess with it and enjoy!