This is a great technique that lets you focus attention by using dramatic, soft lighting. The technique I’m showing you here, I learned from famous nature photographer Vincent Versace. I had been getting a similar look by filling a layer with black, making an oval selection, feathering the edges significantly, and then knocking a hole out of the layer (as you’ll see in the next technique), but Vincent’s technique, using the Lighting Effects filter, is so much easier that it’s just about all I use now.
Open the RGB photo to which you want to apply a soft spotlight effect. In this example, I want to focus attention on the bride by darkening the area around her. Next, press Ctrl-J (Mac: Command-J)