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Edge Burning or dark vignettes

Vignettes are useful for keeping the viewer's eye within the image, and are suitable for many images. This video focuses on using the burn tool to darken edges (create a vignette). Several examples lurk towards the bottom of this page as well.

Presentation: Deals with issues regarding displaying an image on a black background

Composition and other stuff: evaluating images

Composition and other stuff: evaluating images, Page Two

Split Toning
a color image

White Vignettes
A good way to enhance many images.

Edge Burn - Vignettes
Keep the viewer's attention on the intended subject.

Once the movie begins, it can be paused and restarted with the space bar.

View in darkened conditions if possible.


Below are some examples of edge burning.


Mouse over these images to reveal the edge burning that was applied.

Because we often react negatively to a first impression of changes, give the altered images a moment to soak in. Don't condem a change without first giving your vision a brief period to adjust to it.

For example, when altering color balance it can sometimes be hard to accept an improvement because we had adapted to the image as it was.

Keep in mind these are examples, and you may prefer less, or perhaps more burning. The idea is that edge burning can help reduce distractions, and direct the viewer to the intended area of image.

For the barn window above, in addition to edge burning, I cheated a bit and dodged (lightened) the window as it was kinda dull.


These examples could benefit from crops and other editing. They are pretty much "out of the camera images" I've used to demo edge burning.

They are not offered as finished works.


In the above image, I think the edge burned image sucks the viewer's attention right down the old cobble stone road. The burning seems to practically eliminate the visual distractions found toward the edges of the image.

You may notice that I removed the piece of trash and a couple distracting highlights in the cobbles in the burned version.

Digital burning and dodging pretty much mimic the way I used dodging and burning on darkroom prints. I find some comfort in that fact, as I still favor the "look" of a well made "photographic" print from a negative.

Don't take that the wrong way, I think digital is fantastic. Digital has revived my interest in photography, and I find the ease of altering color balance, saturation, contrast, etc etc etc, truly marvelous. I just prefer to apply changes to an image in a way that does not call attention to the fact that it is clearly a digital manipulation.

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