The EASIEST Way to Add a Vignette in Photoshop

Have you ever wondered how to get that buttery vignette around the border of your picture to make it stand out? Here you'll see the EASIEST way to add a vignette in Photoshop! #davesdraw #photoshop #tutorial

So you want to add a vignette (that slight, typically black, ‘haze’ around the edges of a picture) and jumped right into  Photoshop thinking “oh, it’ll just be a quick setting” only to find out that it’s not as easy as you imagined?  Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.  Luckily, you stumbled along the easiest and quickest way to add a beautiful vignette in Photoshop – using the ‘Camera Raw Filter’.

Step 1: Crop The Picture

If your photo is already cropped with the external bounded pixels deleted than you can proceed to step 2.  If NOT (or you don’t know what I mean), then check this out.

‘Fig 1’ is what my Photoshop workspace looks like. This is what I want the final picture to be (before the vignette of course). 

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 1
Fig 1


However, if we proceeded to step 2 before deleting the pixels then you’d see ‘Fig 2’. This is because the original image is there in the background in case you want to move it around willy-nilly.

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 2
Fig 2


To crop the image just click on the crop tool (fig 3) {keyboard hotkey: c} and hit ‘enter’ or ‘return’ on your keyboard (added note: the crop tool does not work on artboards by design, but that’s another story altogether).

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 3
Fig 3


Line up the image the way you want it and select “Delete Cropped Pixels” in the ‘options bar’ (located above the workspace, below the Photoshop menu) (fig 4).

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 4
Fig 4


Commit the changes by clicking the check mark to the right of “Delete Cropped Pixels”.

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 5
Fig 5

Warning: This will delete the rest of the picture that isn’t in your cropped frame.  While you can always undo this with Cmd+Z {Ctrl+Z on Windows} immediately following the crop it’s always a good idea to be certain before proceeding.


Step 2: Open “Camera Raw Filter”

Before proceeding to the Camera Raw Filter, make sure to duplicate your layer.  You do this because Camera Raw adjustments are final (or destructive) to the layer being adjusted.  Simply put, if you make changes and decide later on that you don’t like them, you’re out of luck (unless you made a duplicate layer!). 

It’s also worth noting that this will only apply to ONE layer.  If you have many layers making up this squirrel picture than you’ll have to merge all your layers into a new layer {Mac: cmnd+alt+shift+e}  {Win: ctrl+alt+shift+e}.  To do this, make a NEW LAYER at the top of your layers panel and use the merge hotkey.  Once this is done, go to the Camera Raw Filter.

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 6
Fig 6

Step 3: Go to the “fx” tab

Located in the right panel under that colorful mountain display called the histogram.

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 7
Fig 7


Step 4: Create your vignette!

Adjust the first slider under “Post Crop Vignetting” to where you like it.  Left will make the traditional black vignette while right will make it white.  Play with the other sliders and other settings to get it the way you want it.

Photoshop Vignette Tutorial Image 8
Fig 8


And there you have it! The EASIEST way to add a vignette in Photoshop!  As with anything in Photoshop there are a hundred ways to do the same thing but this has by far been my favorite for vignetting.  It’s worth noting that while this is the easiest, it is destructive so make sure to keep track of your layers and create duplications before committing changes.  Good luck to you and happy vignetting!


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