In my last article, I wrote about Sinulog Photo Contest shooting tips. This time, after reading the rules and regulations of the contest, I learned that you are allowed to apply dodge and burn to your image. In this article, I will show the different ways of doing it using Lightroom or Photoshop.
Dodge and Burn is a technique that has been around for quite some time now. The idea behind this technique is to adjust the level of exposure on a certain part of an image to retain details or to wash it out. It can also influence how the contrast between the image’s light and shadow is presented.
Using the Adjustment Brush Tool, you can set the exposure higher or lower. If you want to Dodge or lighten up certain areas, increase the exposure accordingly and start brushing. Reducing the exposure will do the opposite, which is referred to as Burning. Note that you have to make a new brush for each exposure settings.
When brushing, you can set the diameter and the softness of the brush according to your preference. It’s important to make sure that your brush is not spilling outside your targeted area. If ever you make some mistakes, you can always undo it or just use the eraser brush to remove it.
When using Lightroom, all original images are preserved. Adjustments are just temporary preview on top of the image and in order for you to fuse your adjustments and your image, you need to export it under File/menu. After exporting, your original is still preserved and a new file will be created according to your settings.
No matter what version you are using, dodging and burning tools have been there from the very conception of the application. Under the Tools palette you can directly choose the tool and set the parameters under the control panel, which is located just below the menu, and you can immediately start brushing on the image already.
When setting the parameters, you can set the exposure of the Dodging and Burning Tool in the control panel. You can also narrow down the editing to only the highlights, midtone or shadows. Should you make a mistake, you can undo it or you may use the History Brush.
In my case, I use the Curves Adjustment Layer to do my Dodging and Burning. It gives you almost the same result compared to the first approach, but the second approach gives you more control. It is also a non-destructive way of editing since you are just temporarily editing the image on another layer.
One of the pitfalls of Dodging and Burning is the obvious brush strokes. This happens when you’re pushing the tones so much that it will start to jump and result in an obvious tonal shift. Carefully using the right brush size and softness will spare the image from looking edited. The objective is to make the image look as natural as possible.
Good luck to all photographers who registered. Stay safe and keep on shooting everyone!
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