The term vignetting in optics and photography means darkening of the border of the image as opposed to the center. Vignette portraits tend to have edges that may gradually fade to either white or black due to optical mistakes, which is known as optical vignetting. However, the effect can be artificially added in post-possessing of the photograph.
A subtle vignette would mimic the way our eyes may perceive a particular image in a way they are not used to with standard photographs. The dramatic vignettes can be an effect in a black and white landscape photo adding an element of drama or in an intense portrait creating a darker mood. Mostly, travel photos or any other outdoor snaps tend to have the lights fall-off effect. Nonetheless, vignetting is not necessarily a blemish for all types of photos, as many consider this as pleasing to the naked eye.
Since older cameras often had poor optics, many of the vintage photos tend to have vignettes being created unintentionally in the process of optical photography. In fact, the vintage look, not fancied in the days of darkroom era, is nowadays recreated in a professional picture editing software like Photoshop.
Vignettes help to veer the attention away from the image’s border towards the center of the image to where the subject may reside. That is why some photographers opt for artificial vignetting effects in retouching or post-processing of the image in professional picture editing.
The editors often rely on the elliptical marquee tool to artificially create a vignette with a layer in Photoshop. The tool will help to draw a circular shape on a select area on the photograph preferably the border. Often, the center of a given image will have ideal light sensitivity and focus. However, in the occurrence of optical vignetting, the focus and brightness would fall off toward the edge.
The editors will choose a feather selection on the photo ranging anywhere from 50 to 80 pixels from the feather filter and will fill the center of the image with black or white during artificial vignetting. If the photo seems too dark subsequently, the editors will lighten it by lowering the layer opacity to create the look, which clients may need from professional Photoshop services.