Post Crop Vignetting in Lightroom 3

When Lightroom 3 came out last year they added a few new features that really made the upgrade worthy like film grain and improved on the post crop vignette. If you use the normal vignette tool thats under the lens correction menu this really only works when you don’t need to crop a photo. When you placed a vignette around the edge of your image and then cropped the image that vignette would be lost. With Lightroom 3 there is an additional set of adjustments you can make in the Develop module for Vignetting after you crop the image. I’ll do a quick walkthrough on how to use these sliders to get the best results with your images. Also check out our article on using the normal vignette tool in Lightroom for more info on vignetting and why it is a good tool to use.

The post crop vignette tool is in a separate section from the main vignette tool and can be found under the Effects tab in the develop module in Lightroom. Here you will see many more options compared to the normal Vignette tool. So lets take a look at what this tool in Lightroom can do. First there are 3 different types of styles of a vignette you can apply.

  • Highlight Priority
  • The Highlight priority vignette style will recover highlights but with that it can have a color shift in the dark areas of a photo. This vignette style works well with bright image areas that you want to darken.

  • Color Priority
  • This vignette style will minimize the color shifts in the dark area but will not help with the highlights like the above style.

  • Paint Overlay
  • This style of a vignette will mix the image values with white or black pixels. This can lower the contrast of the image though and give it a overall flat look.

    Once you have the vignette style set in Lightroom you can start to fine tune the amount and overall look of the vignette. In the main settings there are 5 different sliders that you can adjust to modify the vignette.

    vignette in lightroom 3

    Amount – This slider will simply adjust the strength of the vignette. If you use a negative number it will darken the edges of the image, however you can also do the opposite and use a positive number to create a vignette with a white edge around your photo. I am not normally a fan of having a light edge that distracts the viewers eye but as with anything there always can be a use that works well for this.

    Midpoint – The midpoint will adjust how far the vignette effect goes into the photo. When you have a lower number and a small midpoint this will apply the vignette to a large area while a higher number will keep the vignette effect closer to the corners. Here are a few examples of the differences.

    Lightroom Vignette Midpoint Review1

    Midpoint set to 5

    Lightroom Vignette tutorial

    Midpoint set to 80

    Roundness – This slider will effect the roundness of the midpoint. With a low number the effect will be more oval in shape. If you have a high value here the vignette effect will be a circle.
    Feather – Feathering will adjust the gradient from the edge of the vignette to the end. If you choose a low number there won’t’ be as much of a gradient from the edge of the image to the end of the vignette. Try choosing 0 to see how this effect the vignette, you will now see a sharp edge instead of a nice flow from dark to your photo. A higher number here will increase the feather so it will give you a nice gradual transaction from dark in the corners and then blend right into your photo.

    Highlights – This slider is only for if you are using the Highlight Priority and Color Priority style. It will control how much of the highlight contrast is preserved when Amount is negative.

    That’s it, a quick review of Post Crop Vignetting in Lightroom 3. Now time to get processing your images and see what you can do with this. I love to see your artwork so if you use the vignette tool for some images today post one on our Facebook wall here.

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    Author: Mark

    Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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