Add a Vignette for Drama and Focus

This Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday focuses on a very simple, but pretty powerful trick.

Add a vignette!

This can help draw and keep viewers’ eyes within the frame, and can also add to the photograph’s mood and drama!

Photography of a snowy ridge in the mountains of Colorado.

It can be subtle, to give a touch of focus to the center of the frame…

A vivid green forest

…or dark, moody, and dramatic!


Vignettes are simple to add in Photoshop and other editing programs:

  • Create the vignette on a separate layer, either a ‘regular’ layer or a levels/curves adjustment layer with a mask.
  • Use a soft brush at low opacity (10% or so) and build up around the frame on the separate layer.  You don’t have to paint only around the edges, but you can paint around the center of the image to push back details.

Avoid using a gradient tool, as this can result in banding!

  • There are several layer styles you can use.  I often go with Overlay, Color Burn, Soft Light, or Multiply.

Watch how different layer styles affect the image! Sometimes Overlay and Color Burn will blow out highlights and warp colors!

  • Consider using several layers of gradients for better control.


And there you have it!

It’s a simple trick, but it’s one that can truly make an impact on your photography, whether you prefer subtle or dramatic!


If you have any questions or suggestions for Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Tuesday, please leave a comment or contact me!

See you next week!

Photography before and after

Before and after editing of a fine art landscape photograph of a woodland path.

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