How to Make Your Event Photographs Pop out Using Vignettes

How to Make Your Event Photographs Pop out Using Vignettes

Vignette, also known as “light fall-off” is a technique used in event photography and optics. Vignette simply means darkening or blurring of image corners in comparison to the center.

You can add vignette to your photographs using photography equipment or implementing post processing in software like Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. In simple words, vignettes will make the edges of a photograph fade away. Vignettes can be added deliberately or they can be completely unintentional. But the effect is the same for both. Deliberate use of vignettes is basically done to add a creative tint to a photograph.

How to Make Your Event Photographs Pop out Using Vignettes

Vignette is a photography technique that people usually hesitate to use. In the 5 years that I have spent behind the lens, I have experienced and learnt some amazing usage of vignettes.
Use of vignette solely depends on the photographer and the type of photograph it has been used in.

Vignette exaggerates the perception of the viewer when they look at a photograph. It is all about sharp focus and highlighting the center using available light with dark and blur edges. Maybe this is the reason why vignette is so attractive. I often darken or blur the edges of a photograph so that the focus is on the center.

Vignette can help in making a photograph more dramatic

I personally believe vignettes in a photograph make it more dramatic. But that doesn’t mean I will use vignette in each and every shot that I capture. I generally use vignette depending on the mood of a photograph. If I want to draw the attention towards the center of the photograph, vignette can be a really good option.

The photograph looks more creative, while isolating the subject from the negative space. Again, I will definitely use vignettes when I want to bring out some action or drama in the photograph. This is because vignettes cut down the distractions around a photograph and will bring out the drama from the center.

Where are vignettes widely used?

Vignettes are widely used in black and white photographs. I prefer using vignettes in cases such as:

  • Documentation photography
  • To generate a serene mood in landscape black and white photographs
  • Photograph showing action or centralized drama, as for example, a photograph of a football player kicking the ball
  • Black and White photography
  • Portraits, other than human ones
  • Wedding and event photography
  • Fashion photography

Typically a vignette is used in a subtle way since human vision tends to get darker or fuzzy around the corners. However, there are times when a more dramatic vignette is used, for example, in black and white photography to add a touch of emotion or in an intense portrait to generate a darker mood.

Sometimes, old and cheap cameras such as Holgas tend to generate unintentional vignettes owing to poor optics. Camera optics is one of the major causes for unintentional vignettes. Even though a vintage touch in a photograph was not always appreciated previously, it is widely used nowadays.

However, this article is not about unintentional vignettes caused due to camera optics. Instead, it discusses more about how to add vignettes deliberately using post-processing software. Here’s how:

  • The easiest steps to create vignette in Adobe Photoshop is to create a new layer first, then select the elliptical marquee tool and create a circle or oval shape around the corners of the photograph.
  • Choose a feather for the selection in between 50 to 80 pixels
  • Select>Modify>Feather in Photoshop
  • You can choose the square marquee or even use the lasso tool to create a custom shape which should be creative enough. At this point, you can follow these steps:

Select>Inverse and fill the center of the selection with black or white depending on the desired emotional content you want to add in your photograph. If it is too dark, you can easily light it up by increasing the layer opacity.

Keep in mind that photography is all about experimentation. It does not follow any hard and fast rule. Adding vignettes to photographs is a form of experimentation. I believe the more you experiment, the more creative you can get with your photographs. I would recommend you to always try out different creative experiments to develop a distinct style in your shoot.

So, the next time you hire any party planner or an event management company, ask them to incorporate this effect in your event photo shoot. The end results can be mind-blowing.

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