Jury-Rigging: Natural Vignetting (Dark Corners)

Why bother using Photoshop to do “artistic vignetting” when it’s as simple as attaching something to your flash unit that distorts and shapes the light? The answer would probably be lazyness, but Photoshop probably can’t produce the such unique lighting as I’ll be showing you below!

First, let’s start off with the result:

The goal was a sharp well lit subject with unique unevenly darkened corners.

Here is a picture of the camera setup:

The light modifier consists of:
1. Cardboard that was shaped around the flash unit on one end and on the other it was tightened more to produce a slight cone effect.
2. Electrical tape wrapped around the cardboard.
3. A silver translucent anti-static bag I had lying around. This was the first thing I could find that I though would work to smooth out the light coming from the flash.
4. A lens hood used backwards to hold the bag in-place as well as to produce a round shaped hole on the end of the modifier.

The camera settings were as follows:
– Flash in HSS (High Speed Sync) mode
– Manual mode at f4, ISO 100, 1/800th

On a while cloth background, the result is like this:

The image was edited a bit in Photoshop to bring out contrast in the scene. We can see the setup really vignettes the corners.

Here is a closeup of the modifier:

The modifier was “free as in beer” and quite effective given the goal of the test.

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