THE IMPORTANCE OF VIGNETTING – Alberto Giurelli

VignettedAll art forms are designed to create an emotion and possibly take us into the author’ s world in an intimate and personal way. I was talking just last night with a friend, who is a music teacher, and told me that regardless he didn’t speak German, it felt like he has a deep understanding of Beethoven’ s intimate thoughts. There is no language barrier as
far as “ talking to the heart” goes. It is the same for photography. We need to convey a
story, a place or simply an emotion to the viewer.

The way I work to achieve this is: Try to keep the viewer as interested in our image as long as possible and keep there attention where we want them to be looking. It’ s true, sometimes less is more, but it’ s not always possible to cut out everything from our main image. So… let’ s look at how I personally try to keep my viewers interested and cut out fringe distractions: Give them an unequivocal subject, take them to a place in the frame where you want them to look and finally don’t let their eye slip out too early from your picture.

The best way to do this is by vignetting your subject. May it be a landscape, portrait or any subject for that matter vignetting really improves the photo. I tend to darken the corners of my work by creating a mask in Photoshop, then feathering it (up to 100 pixels)and applying negative brightness (darkening). Yet some images improve with lightening the edges and corners. At times I apply a desaturated touch and other times I will blur the corners. This is something you’ll have to experiment with and pick what works best for you and your image.

Why is vignetting effective, because we create a gentle barrier where the human eye tends to bounce off and return to the brighter or more revealed subject. At times I use vignetting to cover background colour that may clash with our main subject too.

The biggest secret with this technique is not to over do it and more importantly to fade the effect from dark to light or vice versa making it seamless. There is nothing worse than strong demarked shading. You will find your viewers trying to figure out why the image is not pleasing, distracting their attention from the photo altogether. The samples I attached show how your attention is guided towards the heart of the images and the untouched shot seems to loose your attention quicker. In conclusion, no matter how you achieve it, give it a go and see the improvement for yourselves.

Untouched    Vignetted

Untouched                                                                  Vignetted

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