Improving Your Dodge & Burn Retouching Results With Better Brush Settings

Improving Your Dodge & Burn Retouching Results With Better Brush Settings

Anyone who is interested in portrait, fashion or/and beauty retouching knows how wonderful the Dodge & Burn technique is for skin retouching. We have talked about various methods and the fundamental knowledge of light and shadow rendering in 2-dimensional art before, and I would like to offer you yet another important piece of the D&B puzzle - the brush settings in Photoshop, which will help you achieve greater results when using this technique.

It is next to impossible to find an artist who works in Photoshop, but isn't familiar with simple Photoshop brushes, and I am sure you know them very well. But do you really understand what combinations of brush settings will help you to Dodge & Burn better?

I personally had been working with the same settings for many years, until I decided to challenge myself after being inspired by a few conversations with fellow artists. I knew the difference between brush Opacity and Flow, and I thought I knew what was convenient for me, but I was quick to change my mind after actively forcing myself to work with completely different settings.

Recently, my Retouching Academy developers team and I updated our Beauty Retouch Photoshop panel and added new brush presets specifically for Dodge & Burn work. I recorded a video about these new brushes for the RA panels' users, but I quickly realized that this video can be just as helpful for anyone who uses the Dodge & Burn technique in their retouching. 

D&B Brush Presets & Practice File

I'm also happy to share the D&B practice file along with our D&B brush presets. Simply register at and find the download links at the bottom of the Member's Area. You can see how I use this practice file in the video below.

Dodge & Burn practice file by Retouching Academy

Dodge & Burn practice file by Retouching Academy

Salvador Dali said, "Don't be afraid of perfection - you'll never reach it," and Vince Lombardi said, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." So, practice like you mean it!

Come Learn Beauty Photography & Retouching With Me at the Bahamas

If you would like to learn more about Beauty photography and retouching with me in person, come join us at the Fstoppers workshops at the Bahamas this May. I will be teaching two 2-day workshops - shooting and retouching - on the 13-14th and the 16-17th of May

We will begin with an overview of the entire process of planning, organizing and executing a Beauty photo shoot with a creative team, regardless of whether it is your personal project or a commercial assignment. After that we'll spend some time learning how to set up the lights, so that you can be confident with the lighting you can achieve and the images you can deliver after you are back in your studio on your own. 

We will take turns shooting and working with models, and I will be right there behind your shoulder, peeking at your camera monitor, listening to what directions you give to the models and watching how you hold your camera. I will comment and help you adjust and perfect all of these areas. At the end of the day I will ask you to select a handful of the images that you think are the strongest from the shoot that same night before you go to bed. 

We will retouch our images the next day and I will again peek into every student's screen to share my thoughts on the images they have selected and explain why I think they are strong, or not so strong, and what can be done with them in post-production to make them outstanding.

My mission is to walk you through the entire process of creation of a beauty image, teach you to set up beautiful lighting and work with your creative team, as well as drive your attention to the areas where things can go wrong, so you don't allow them when the time comes for you to organize your own shoots.

Check out the details of my Beauty Studio Photography & Retouching workshops here, and join the big group of obsessed artists from all over the world at the Bahamas in May!


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luke smith's picture

In order to get the D&B practice file, I tried more than one time to register at, but they didn't send me any email. Could anyone please tell me what I have to do to get them, or upload the files here, at least? Thank you.

Marcelo Moran's picture

Additional Goddier for RA LAb memember Practice file is gone, I cant see it :(