Add vignettes using Photoshop in 6 simple steps

In photography vignetting, or light fall-off, is the loss of brightness at the borders of an image and it is a lens characteristic or weakness.

Usually vignettes are not desired however it is not uncommon to add them during post-processing for example to draw the attention of the user to a particular portion of the image or to give it an aged look.

I am going to show you how to add vignetting to your image using Adobe photoshop in just a few simple steps.

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Photoshop tutorial: Stacking star trails pictures

Trails (2008-10-19_ 40D_100-0746)
Picture by Antoine Khater

In the last tutorial we discussed how to shoot star trails pictures and we agreed that, in digital photography, you’d better go for multiple shots of 30 seconds each rather than one long shot to keep the noise under control.

So you’re back home with a handful of pictures, let’s see how to turn this exposures into one star trails pictures using Adobe Photoshop CS3.
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Photoshop Tutorial: Shadow noise removal

This is a guest post from Tage Solberg from Solberghifi. Tag was kind enough to share with us his post processing method to control noise that can appear the shadows/dark parts of any digital image.

Even with a low noise cam like Canon EOS1DmkIII, “lifting” the shadows in an image will increase noise considerably. I often expose for the highlights to avoid clipping, and raise the shadows i post-processing.

When printing large I use this following method to get noise-free, saturated and detailed shadows.

The downside is; it will only work with static objects because it needs a +2 to +3EV bracketed shot.

I’m not talking about an awful HDR result here, but an natural looking image with shadows as clean as the highlights!!
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Stina Stockholm on HDR

A few weeks ago I’ve had the chance to feature Stina Stockholm as photographer of the week and in the comments Ivan asked

I love your work. I would love for you to write a tutorial on how to do your post editing in photoshop. especially the street pic with the brick, how do you get that depth and contrast? Have you used filters on any of these photos? thanks

Stina was kind enough to comply to Ivan’s request and shares with us her thoughts on HDR

The internet is full of tutorials. Many are both excellent and extensive. This one is not that kind. It is rather a quick guide, or a check list, of what I do to almost all of my pics to give them a little spark.

1. I try to avoid camera shake by shortening exposure time as much as I can. When it’s possible, I shoot with a tripod.
2. I make sure that my focus is on my selected focus point.
3. I use aperture to control background (big for blur or small for depth)
4. My camera is set to shoot RAW. That way, if necessary, I can correct exposure (to a certain degree) and white balance before I start working in Adobe Photoshop.
5. In Adobe Photoshop, I always enhance contrasts by adding adjustment layer “curves”. Most of the times I simply add a nice S-curve. That is, I drag the top right of the line upwards, and the bottom right downwards. The adjustment layer “brightness and contrast” works fine to for enhancing contrast, but I find I have more control with curves. I often exaggerate contrast, and use the opacity-slide to adjust the amount of contrast by lowering the percentage.
6. Some times I use the “levels”-tool for contrast, dragging the arrows on the left and right towards the middle, just a little.
7. If I have shot with high ISO, I use a plug in called Noise ninja from PictureCode ( to reduce noise, or grain.
Once I’m happy with my changes, I flatten my photoshop-file, and save a version of it as a post processed original.
8. As I publish most of my pics on the web, I alway make a web version of them: I size down the original to a width of about 1200 pixels, and save as a new file.
9. The last thing I do is to to sharpen. For the web version, I use smart sharpen, amount set to about 150% and radius set to 0,3.
10. Most of the time I add a frame. I do this after sharpen, otherwise the frame to is sharpened, and I do not want that.

The picture of the rainy street in Stockholm is actually shot with a technique called HDR, High Dynamic Range. To know more about this and for an extensive guide, please have a look here

Again, a quick guide of mine:

1. Since HDR consist of blending exposures, it’s wise to use a tripod when shooting. Note that the photo mentioned above is a free hand HDR. As you can see, it’s quit possible to pull off hand held HDR shots.
2. When shooting for HDR, I go as low as I can on ISO, since the images tends to get very noisy even at low ISO.
3. I use the bracket mode on my camera, and I set it to expose three times -2, 0 and + 2. On my camera that’s the most you can go.
4. I have set the camera to shoot in a series, so I hold down the shutter button until I have three exposures.
5. To merge my exposures, I use HDR software Photomatix from HDR Soft ( You can use Photoshop, but it does not tone map, and you want that, since that’s the way to really reveal highlight and shadow details in the image.
6. Once I’ve merged my exposures, and tone mapped them, I go through the steps above in Photoshop. I find that the photos come out rather dull directly from Photomatix, and Noise ninja is almost alway required.

Learning more

The book I’ve have had the most use of is Photoshop for The Photoshop CS2 Book for Digital Photographers, also available for Photoshop CS and Photoshop CS3, by Scott Kelby. It’s well written, and pedagogical and simple to follow.

I read a lot of photo magazines with tutorials, most of them in Swedish, or French. When I see a tutorial that I like, I try it out on my own photos.

Photoshop case study: from picture to Christmas card the final

This article is part of a series of 4 posts “Adobe Photoshop Case Study from picture to Christmas card” make sure to visit other articles in the series

  1. Photoshop case study: from picture to Christmas card I
  2. Photoshop case study: from picture to Christmas card Let it be dark
  3. Photoshop case study: from picture to Christmas card Let there be light
  4. Photoshop case study: from picture to Christmas card the final

N.B.:If you want to follow this tutorial make sure to click on the picture to download a higher resolution version
Ok today I might be a bit long, but I think I have to finish with this series specially that from now on it becomes the same idea repeated over different objects, now launch Adobe Photoshop and let’s get started
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