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A vignette is a powerful tool when used intelligently. Very simply, it is a tool to help focus attention on a subject or subjects when the background is busy or it's a mess. When composing images, always try your best to produce creamy, out of focus, pleasing backgrounds behind your subjects. With this image of flowering gorse, I knelt down and positioned myself to get a gorgeous blue sky filling the frame in the background.

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But what do you do when you can't compose a photo with a pleasing background? I liked this daffodil, but couldn't compose it without a messy background. Normally I would drag an image like this to the recycle bin, but I felt the gorgeous soft sunshine bringing out the yellow glow from the petals was worth trying to keep. Here's a perfect scenario for vignettes.

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Dark vignette? Light vignette? Sometimes I find a light vignette can work, but mostly it's dark vignettes that do it for me. Can you see how the vignette focuses attention on the daffodil here and away from the messy background? In the image above, your eyes won't remain on the daffodil but keep getting dragged into the background. In the photo below, your eyes stay focused on the daffodil. I only use vignettes to focus attention on a subject that is fighting for attention with a busy or messy background.

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