Photoshop Tip 2: Dodge and Burn

TIP 2: ADD SOME PIZAZZ TO YOUR LANDSCAPES WITH DODGE & BURN TOOLS

Dodge and Burn tools can be found in the tool kit menu in Photoshop on the left hand side (see image below).  They are brush tools that have 3 different tonal ranges that can be brushed over certain sections of your photo to add shadows, midtones and highlights to those areas, providing a tonal range that really gives your image punch, by adding depth and texture to photos, most especially to landscape shots. Using these tools you have complete control over the size of the brush and the exposure factor of each tonal shading, to really ensure the right degree of tonal ranges are added for your choice of look to your photo.

Dodge and Burn Tools
These can be found in the tool menu on the left hand side of Photoshop

The Dodge tool lightens the shadow, midtone and highlighted sections of the photo depending on where you use the brush, and the Burn tool darkens these areas. The degree to which they lighten or darken depends on the exposure percentage level you select – the location of which can be found on the top left menu in Photoshop. The brush selection menu is also located there. Select your brush, your range and exposure percentage before you begin.

Exposure level can be selected by percentage and this is found on the top left hand in Photoshop.
Exposure level can be selected by percentage and this is found on the top left hand in Photoshop.

You need to ensure you select an appropriate brush size for your image (I prefer also selecting feathered rather than ones with solid edging as the effect is more natural) and I recommend you choose an exposure level of 3-5% to begin with and increase as required or desired for the effect you are after. Play around and see what effect both tools have on your image at different exposure levels for each of the tonal ranges – the effects can be subtle to transforming. You can rescue hazy shots, over or under exposures, and recover images you thought were unusable.

Here is an example of one I did earlier to show you the difference:

Landscape photo before using the Dodge and Burn tools - the image looks less textured and flatter.
Landscape photo before using the Dodge and Burn tools – the image looks less textured and flatter.
Landscape photo after using Burn to darken the shadows and midtones and Dodge to lighten the areas highlighted by the sun.
Landscape photo after using Burn to darken the shadows and midtones and Dodge to lighten the areas highlighted by the sun.

The effects can be subtle or dramatic depending on what you require. Any questions – get in touch!

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