It has been many a moon since I have written a tutorial so I figured I’d give it another shot. This time I plan to show a very simple and effective technique that can help enhance your photographs. There are many different ways to create vignettes, and since I have been using custom vignettes a good bit recently, I thought it would be a nice thing to share.
My dog loves to have her picture taken, so I decided to use the photograph above for the lesson. With the file open in Photoshop, the first step is to create a new layer for the upcoming vignette. You can click the new layer button, or use the keyboard shortcut, Command + J.
With the new (empty) layer selected, we are going to grab the elliptical marquee tool (you could also use the rectangular marquee tool) and drag a selection right around the dog’s face which will be our main focal point.
Then, we need to invert the selection by going to Select, and then Inverse, or by using the keyboard shortcut, Shift + Command + I.
With the inverted selection, the next step is to feather the edges of our selection. There are a few ways to do this, however my suggestion is to use the Refine Edge option with the Magic Wand Tool selected. Depending on the size of the image you are working with, the values will differ, but in general you want a pretty decent feather. I used 150 pixels because I was working with a fairly large image.
Now that the edge of our selection is feathered, it is time to fill that empty layer. I generally just use pure black for this, but you are welcome to experiment.
As you can see, it creates a very heavy vignette and really draws the viewers’ eye to the focal point of the dog’s face. I like to then lower the opacity of the vignette layer to fine tune it to my tastes. Here’s how it looks if you back the vignette off to 50% opacity.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this tutorial on creating vignettes in Photoshop. Thanks for reading