Vignetting is a photo-editing technique used to help draw the viewer’s eye to the intended subject. I apply it on certain photos that have above average appeal to me, but have distracting backgrounds; the ugly chain link fence that is always present at little league ball games is a perfect example. This photo would be a fantastic “catch” (no pun intended) of the player’s intensity if not for the distracting background. The white vignette helps keep the viewer focused on the subject. Other examples are shown below:
This scene is too large for vignetting to hide all of the distracting background, but it helps. Even severe cropping won’t improve this background. Using a larger aperture when taking the shot would give a shallower depth-of-field and blur the more distant background, which would improve this shot considerably.
Vignetting would have done a good job here, but the coach is too close to the subject. Even with a shallower depth-of-field, the coach’s legs will be in focus and taking the viewer’s eye away from the subject. With a little effort, the coach’s legs can be removed from the scene too, but that’s an entirely different and more time-consuming editing process.
The vignette is more subtle in this photo; darkened corners give the image a more finished look. This type of vignetting is more traditional, and is often used in many other types of images: landscapes, portraits, still-life, architecture, etc. Its very subtle and probably not even noticed unless you’re really looking for it.
Thought for the Day: Why is it that at class reunions, you feel younger than everyone else looks?