Dodging And Burning

Next, select the Burn tool, which we will use to darken the background and the shadows. Note that the size and parameter settings will also change when you change tools, so you'll need to re-set the brush size and the exposure setting. Set the exposure to 20 percent again, and start off with a mid-sized soft brush.

For the background we want enhance the shadows without making them so dark that they become a black mess. The best way to do this is to alternate the range setting between mid-tones and highlights, building up the shadows carefully.

Only use the shadow range setting for the final touches, with a smaller brush size, to paint in some darker shadow areas and enhance any existing shadows. Again, be careful not to overdo it. Ideally you should be able to strike a balance between the highlights and shadows over the entire image.

With practice and patience you can use the Dodge and Burn tools to achieve both very subtle and very dramatic lighting effects, and to add a personal creative touch to your pictures that is a lot less predictable and clinical than the simple contrast and brightness settings or levels adjustments. The finished results are really all your own work.


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