Photography studio, gallery and training complex

Posts tagged “mistakes

Murder By Vignette. Chimp Held For Questioning

Once upon a time, I embarked upon a self-righteous rampage against the willful abuse of sepia in photography – my so-called CAMOS (Campaign Against Misuse Of Sepia). Well, I now have a new photographic bete noire…

Vignetting, a phenomenon which started out as an inevitable consequence of taking rectangular pictures through a round hole, is basically that distinctive darkening (or in some cases, lightening) of an image’s corners. Back when I spent half my life in a darkroom I would often “burn in” the corners to add a vignette where required. I like vignettes – but only when they suit the image and when applied with some sensitivity.

I’ve noticed an alarming rise in the number of images on websites and social media that look like a vignette has been applied by a chimp with a 6″ paintbrush and a pot of black paint. Eurgh! Here’s a few randomly acquired images (sadly, I can’t use some of the worst offenders I’ve seen on Facebook)…

Who thought this effect was a good idea?

Who thought this effect was a good idea?

So if you’re a bit slapdash with your vignettes, read on… At best, the vignette will darken parts of the picture (for instance, one of your portrait subject’s eyes) more than others, and at worst it will look as though your entire portfolio was shot through the porthole of a convict ship (which is possibly the best place for you if you’re a “excessive vignette offender”).

A case for the RSPVA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Vignetting on Animals).

A case for the RSPVA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Vignetting on Animals).

Shoot me now.

Shoot me now.

And so the motto of this story is: Children, have fun with your vignettes, but when you start to feel you can’t do without them, please pass your camera on to me, and go take up crochet.

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