Banda Neira, Spice Islands
Banda Naira, Indonesia. M-Monochrom, 75mm Summicron.

Even though lens designers go to considerable lengths to make lenses with very little edge fall-off, vignetting a shot does hold the viewer’s eye in the image and it’s something I do to 90% of my photographs. The image above is straight out of camera and, whilst I like the intensity of his gaze, my eye does tend to skip off into the corners.

Adding a vignette in Lightroom 5 is simplicity itself, just head to the Effects pane in the Develop Module and adjust the Amount down until you are happy. You might consider adjusting the Midpoint slider too, to about -25, to focus the lighter centre on the subject a bit more and feather the vignette effect so it is less obvious.

Here are three different different vignette amounts on the above photo:

Screen-Shot-2014-04-10-at-10.19.27-am
Vignette 15
Screen-Shot-2014-04-10-at-10.19.43-am
Vignette 30
Screen-Shot-2014-04-10-at-10.19.57-am
Vignette 45

I think you’ll agree that the last one, with Vignette set to 45, is the most compelling, or maybe you’ll prefer the one set to 30. It’s all subjective but the resulting effect of holding the viewer’s eye in the shot is clear.

As a huge time saver I save my Vignette settings as Presets – for Amounts of 15, 30 and 45 which are values I seem to use a lot. Creating Presets is very easy to do:

Click on the + sign at the top right of the Presets Pane on the left of the screen in the Develop Module.

Develop Module - Presets on the left of the screen
Develop Module – Presets Pane on the left of the screen. Click the + sign.

This opens the Presets Dialog Box

Preset Dialog Box
Preset Dialog Box

Make sure you choose the Folder “User Presets” and type in an appropriate name. Then “Check None” because a Preset should really only affect one parameter at a time, better to have lots of Presets than a few Presets that affect a lot of parameters.

Now check the Effects > Post Crop Vignetting box and then click Create. Don’t worry about the Process Version being still checked – this is default behaviour and should be left alone unless you have good reason to turn it off.

That’s it, done.

To apply a Preset simply find the one you want in the Presets Pane, under User Presets, and click on it to apply the effect to the currently selected image. You can apply it to multiple images at the same time as well – whichever images are currently selected will be the target of the preset.