A Straightforward Dodge and Burn Technique in Photoshop

Dodging and burning remains one of the most classic and powerful techniques to shape the light in your photos and emphasize your subject in a straightforward and natural way. This quick and helpful tutorial will show you an easy way to dodge and burn your images using Photoshop.

Coming to you from Aaron Nace over at Phlearn, this awesome tutorial will show you a straightforward, nondestructive method for dodging and burning your images and blending the adjustments in Photoshop. The term "dodge and burn" is a holdover from the film days and was a way for selectively brightening or darkening different areas in an image. Even though the technique has been around almost as long as photography itself, it's still one of the most effective ways for drawing your viewer's attention to the subject. One thing to note is that dodging and burning isn't a replacement for good lighting; it works best when it's augmenting what's already there. You can get some pretty weird results if you attempt to work against the lighting in the photo. And it's not just for people; you can use it for almost any image where you want to emphasize a certain area. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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6 Comments

Chris Rogers's picture

Das handy.

Elan Govan's picture

Very handy tip, making learning fun

John Dawson's picture

I've done the curves dodge and burn, but not with the added apply image step. Thanks for the info!

Thanks for the information.
Love from http://clippingpathcore.com/

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Great tip!

Lee Christiansen's picture

What does the "Apply Image" step do?

I couldn't see any change in the image, or am I missing something?