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Two photos merged in Photoshop

The ability to merge multiple photos is a useful skill for real estate photographers. Even though most of them want to get the photo right directly in the camera, there are certain scenarios where merging the pictures together is proven useful and nece ...

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How to Add a Vignette in Photoshop

Published: 21/12/2021

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Vignetting is the darkening of an area in a photo, especially towards the edges of the frame. Real estate photographers do everything they can to make sure it does not appear on their images so that it won’t ruin the overall look of the property that they took pictures of. They even go as far as getting camera lenses with aspherical glass elements to filter it out.

However, recently, it has become quite a popular effect, even in real estate photography, and one which designers are keen to replicate in Photoshop. Photoshop lets you add a basic vignette effect via its Lens Correction filter. This method is versatile and it gives you control over the position and the strength of the vignette effect

How to Add a Vignette in Photoshop

To create a vignette effect using photoshop, you need to use the oval selection tool to choose the key area that you want to focus on. Increase the feathering of the area and flip it. 

iPad being used to edit photos

After which, you can add an adjustment curve layer to make the necessary changes so you can control how the vignette will appear. You can also make a vignette via the vignette slider that is located inside the Camera RAW Filter, under the Effects option. 

In order to properly apply the vignette effects in your images, we have broken down the process step by step.

Selecting the Area

Begin by selecting an image that has a central object that you want to focus on. It can be a property, an object amid a landscape, or a building amid a street image. 

In that particular image, you need to highlight the object in the foreground. It is important to estimate just how much of the area of the object that you want to focus on.

Creating a Shape

Now, you need to create the shape for the area. Choose the rectangle or sphere shape tool from the toolbar. Select the color that you desire to use for your vignette border. Next, drag the box around the area that you want the vignette to be applied to.

If it looks like you placed a colored box over the subject, it means that you are doing the right thing. It may not look like a vignette yet because there are some modifications that you need to make. 

Subtracting the Color

You want to have the opposite effect of the shape’s placement. The color needs to surround your object and it should not cover it. In order to do this, all that you have to do is to remove the shape's influence over the image.

  1. Once you have selected the shape layer, click on the Properties tab and scroll down the menu to look for the Subtract Front Shape button. It will look like a black box that is placed right in front of a white box. 
  2. Once you have applied the Subtract Front Shape option, you will be able to see the layer reverse all of the influence of the color on your image. The color will now surround the subject and will not cover up the shape.
Image of the sky with vignette effect

However, the result will not seem like a vignette just yet. The border of the image is so bold and sharp that it looks like the image is popping out the border of color. To give the area a vignette effect, there are still some properties you need to adjust. 

Feathering the Area

The final step is to adjust the feathering of the area. In the Properties section, choose the Mask option located at the topmost part of the tab. It is a white-colored box with a dark circle added right in the middle. When you open this, you will see an option for changing what the mask looks like.

Choose the Feathering feature and play it with the slider. When you push up the feathering, it will automatically produce a vignette effect. You can preview the adjustments immediately, you can put on several types of levels to see which one has a better result. You will also notice that the object has a lighter quality to it after being highlighted amid the colored and natural fall off. A rigid shape can turn into a more fluid vignette border. 

These are just the essential components of applying a vignette. If you review the Properties tab more, you will see different sets of tools that you can use to make different types of effects. You just need to rework a shape depending on what you want. 

Post Crop Vignetting

Photoshop has a Camera RAW Filter feature that gives you a lot of photo editing tools that are easy to operate. With sliders, you can easily change everything from the contrast of the image to its temperature. 

Weeds on a dessert edited with a vignette effect in Photoshop

Applying Post Crop Vignetting

In order to apply the filter, you need to navigate your way through the upper toolbar to choose Filters, then go to Camera RAW Filter. As soon as you select this, you will be brought to a new menu with your image present and a host of photo editing tools. Among the many slide features that are present, there is an option for creating vignettes too. 

While in the Camera RAW Filter window, you need to scroll up and down to find the Effects menu. In there, you will see the option for creating a vignette in the form of a slider. Drag the slider and you will see a soft, white border appear around the edges of the image. You can tailor this vignette to be as big or small as you wish using a simple drag that creates real-time results. 

Note that the tool is limited, especially when it comes to the density and placement of the vignette. You may want to consider the filter-free version first for better control if you do not want something fast and dirty for a vignette. Once you are happy with the results, just click OK, and you will be taken out of the filter window with the changes applied to the layer. If you need to make some adjustments, just reopen the Camera RAW Filter in the same way you opened it. 

Conclusion

Vignettes can be useful as they can add character to a photo, even in real estate photography, and you don’t need an expert level of skill to add them to your photography. You can do it by either creating a shape or by opening the effects of the Camera RAW Filter in Photoshop. 

The technique can be used to improve your images of real estate properties and create a specific tone. Vignettes can be added as a simple touch on your photos to make them brighter or you can use a rustic color to give the effect of the old west. 

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