Apply a vignette
Learn how to darken the corners of a moody landscape in Lightroom to help add impact and drama
To add a subtle vignette to a moody landscape
Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Lightroom 5 or later
Following on from our ‘Add a subtle tone’ tutorial in issue 65 (November 2016), we’ll work from our split-toned image. If you didn’t follow that lesson, download the split-toned start file ‘Vignette start.jpg’.
Our landscape looks quite interesting with the split-tone effect and contrast, but the sky lacks impact due to bland clouds. To help, we can add a vignette. Vignettes occur naturally as less light enters the edge of a lens and causes the corners of the photo to look a little darker.
By deliberately darkening the edges in Lightroom we can give the sky’s flat white highlights more tonal variety. Darker details at the top of the frame will help to give the landscape more balance, because they’ll echo the darker tones of the ground. A vignette will also help to add a touch of atmosphere to our bleak-looking landscape image.
Once you’ve added a vignette, you may decide to crop the photo to change its composition. In some applications this would crop out your vignetted edges. As its name suggests, Lightroom’s Post-Crop Vignette tool is clever enough to reapply the vignette effect to your recomposed photo.