I was recently looking around for some cool Lightroom Presets to replicate vintage and toy camera effects. I found a couple of Lomo ones which had some good features but one horrendous failure that really made them usable in all conditions and that’s sad ’cause it didn’t have to be that way.

You see the problem was that the designer didn’t know the difference between vignette tools in Lightroom and they picked the wrong one to use. They used the Vignette tool in the Lens Correction panel to add the vignette – Way Wrong Technique. This tool is for removing vignettes and while it might seem to work for adding vignettes when used on one or a few images it won’t work on all images – hence it is a very poor choice for a preset when there is a better alternative.

The Lens Correction vignette tool removes a vignette from (or adds one to) the edges of the image. So, if you later crop the image, the vignette gets cropped away. If you’re using the tool to remove a vignette then that’s not an issue at all. However, if you are using it to add a vignette – it is a big issue. The presets I found with the vignette added using Lens Correction made a mess of any image I’d cropped – the vignette either got cropped away or worse still it appeared on one side of the image and not the other – yikes!

The correct tool to use to add a vignette is the Effect panel’s Post Crop Vignette. This, as its name suggests is a vignette added after the image is cropped so it always appears around the edge of the image regardless of whether it is full size or severely cropped or anything in between and regardless of when you choose to crop the image.

To add a vignette to darken the image edges drag the Amount to the left – dragging to the right will lighten the edges. The Midpoint setting moves the vignette inwards or pushes it outwards. The Roundness setting makes it rounder or squarer and Feather adds a softer or harder edge. For Style, I prefer Highlight Priority although Color Priority is ok – Paint Overlay is an overlay effect and not a blended one so I like it least of all.

So, next time you need a vignette effect for an image, choose the one that not only has plenty of customization options but also the one that will survive any cropping applied to the image.

Helen Bradley