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Photography 101 - Tips and Editing Techniques

How to Dodge and Burn in Photoshop cs4

Recently I learned a new technique on how to dodge and burn in photoshop cs4! It works great for dodging and burning on a different layer so it doesn’t impact your main picture. This way you can turn the layer on and off to see exactly what has changed in your picture.

I recently went to a scrimmage game at the University.  The clouds were amazing that night swirling around in different formations. One minute you thought it was going to rain the next the sun was shinning through.

First you will want to open a new layer

  • Layer -> New -> Layer
  • When the box comes up name your layer (good habit to always name your layers)
  • Mode – Overlay
  • Once you change the mode you will you want to check the box directly underneath that says “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray)
  • Click o.k.

Now you should have a new layer above your picture that is completely gray. This is the layer we are working on so make sure it is selected by just clicking that layer in your layer panel. If your layer panel isn’t open go to window -> layers or press F7.

Next we need to select a tool

Dodge – will  lighten

Burn – will darken

Right click on your tool bar to see the options

Once you choose your tool you will have a few options on the top of the screen

Brush size (You can also use your brackets on the keyboard to increase or decrease the size of your brush while you’re working on it.  Choose how hard or soft you want your edges to be. I went with a softer one so it would blend nicely into the picture.

Range  – I usually start with the midtones at an exposure of 20%.

Play for awhile and then turn on and off your dodge and burn layer to see the difference! this works great on clouds or lighten up faces, playings with shadows etc.

This picture was taken with the Canon 60D using the Canon 18-55mm lens at a focal length of 18mm.  Set to Manual / shutter speed 400sec at f/8


Related posts:

Selecting a Picture Style
Understanding F-Stop
Blending Modes in Photoshop


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