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This tutorial will walk you step-by-step through the process of adding a subtle vignette in Photoshop! | Find more free photography tips and Photoshop tutorials at

Adding a Subtle Vignette in Photoshop

This tutorial will walk you through adding a subtle vignette in Photoshop using a Gradient layer.


Step 1.

– Click the Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of your layers panel. (half-black, half-white circle button)

Step 2.

– From the flyout menu, select ‘Gradient’. (Be sure you don’t select ‘Gradient Map’, these are different adjustments.)


Step 3.

– When the ‘Gradient Fill’ box pops up, click the Gradient bar to edit the gradient.


Step 4.

– When the ‘Gradient Editor’ box pops up, select the gradient you wish to use. For a subtle vignette, I like to use the ‘Neutral Density’ gradient. Click OK when you’re done.


Step 5.

– After clicking OK on the last step, you should now be back at the ‘Gradient Fill’ box.

From here, adjust the settings to your liking.

– Change the Style to ‘Radial’ to get a circular effect

-Be sure the ‘Reverse’ and ‘Dither’ boxes are checked. (Reverse allows the gradient to appear along the edges of your image, leaving an open center. Dither smooths the gradient to avoid banding.)

-If you wish, you can drag the Angle dial so that the line points toward any corner of the photo.  (This widens the gradient, allowing more clean space to show through in the center.)

– If you’d like even more center space, you can adjust the Scale setting.

Before hitting OK, you can use your mouse to click and drag on the image to move the opening of your gradient over to wherever your subject may be.

Once you’ve adjusted all of the settings and dragged to place the gradient where you’d like it, hit OK.


Step 6.

– Change the blend mode of your gradient layer to ‘Overlay’.  (This step is optional; if you prefer a hazier vignette, you can leave the gradient in Normal blend mode. I like my vignette to bring contrast and increase the darkness around the edges, so ‘Overlay’ blend mode is my favorite for this.)


Step 7.

– Lastly, you can lower the opacity of this layer for a more subtle effect.  The exact opacity may vary depending on the image.

And that’s it! You’re all done!

Related Posts:

Creating a Matte Effect in Photoshop
Using Gradient Maps to Convert an Image to Black & White
Increasing Contrast in Photoshop without Increasing Color Casts

Looking to dive deeper into Photoshop editing?

If you enjoyed this tutorial, I’d love to invite you to join me for my online Photoshop course, The Photoshop Fanatic.

The Photoshop Fanatic is an easy-to-follow, go-at-your-own-pace course that starts from the very beginning of Photoshop. We begin with a walk-through introduction and explanation of the various tools, layers, and filters in the program. Then, we work our way up to creating full, in-depth edits with ease.

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This tutorial will walk you through adding a subtle vignette in Photoshop! | Find more free photography tips and Photoshop tutorials at
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  • Laurie Weber

    Great tutorial! Thank you! 🙂

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Morgan Burks - Manhattan, KS Family & Couples Portrait Photographer - Online Photoshop Education, Editing Tools, & Resources for Photographers

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