Black and white photography made easy: tips for pro-quality results from start to finish

    | B&W | Photography Tips | 05/11/2012 02:00am

    Master the Dodge and Burn tools

    Master the Dodge and Burn tools in your black and white photography

    The Dodge and Burn tools refer to two traditional darkroom techniques, in which areas were given more exposure to darken the image (burning), or less exposure to make them lighter (dodging).

    The effect is similar to using selective Levels or Curves adjustments, but you simply ‘paint’ the effect onto your image rather than using Layer Masks.

    It’s good practice to create a duplicate of your Background layer, and do your dodging and burning on this new layer.

    This allows you to easily assess any adjustments you’ve made by switching between the layers, and also get back to your original image if your first attempts go wrong.

    The most common mistake when using these tools is applying too much of the effect in one adjustment, so the darkening or lightening is obvious and uneven in the final image.

    To avoid this, set the Exposure to a low amount between 3% and 5%, and slowly build up the effect. The other way to ensure the effect is subtle is to use a soft-edged brush when using the Dodge and Burn tools.

    Dodge tool
    The Dodge tool is used to lighten areas of your image. You can choose whether you lighten the highlights, midtones or shadows. Lightening the highlights will increase the contrast between these and the shadows, while lightening the shadows will reduce the contrast.

    Burn tool
    This has the opposite effect to the Dodge tool. Again, you can choose whether the tool affects highlights, midtones or shadows. Darkening the shadows will increase the contrast in these areas, and darkening the highlights will reduce the contrast.

    How to dodge and burn

    How to dodge and burn: step 1

    1 Choose the tool
    Once you have created a duplicate Background layer you will need to select Dodge or Burn from the Tools palette.

    How to dodge and burn: step 2

    2 Adjust the highlights
    Choose Highlights and you can darken the highlights to reduce contrast, or lighten them to increase it.

    How to dodge and burn: step 3

    3 Adjust the shadows
    Choose Shadows and you can darken areas of shadow to add more contrast, or lighten them for less.

    PAGE 1: How to compose for black and white photography
    PAGE 2: Good subjects for black and white photography
    PAGE 3: Try using in-camera filters for your black and white photography
    PAGE 4: Shooting images you can easily convert to black and white
    PAGE 5: Black and white conversion in Photoshop Elements
    PAGE 6: Black and white conversion in Photoshop CS
    PAGE 7: Master Photoshop Levels and Curves
    PAGE 8: Using the Levels sliders
    PAGE 9: Master the Dodge and Burn tools
    PAGE 10: Toning techniques for black and white photography


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    Posted on Monday, November 5th, 2012 at 2:00 am under B&W, Photography Tips.

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