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Dodging and Burning Natural HDR in Camera Raw and Photoshop

We look at two methods of dodging and burning. One is with Camera Raw (exactly the same in Lightroom) and the second is a non destructive method for bringing our the details in a photograph. Learn how to contour and add dimension to photographs using these techniques.

Dodging and Burning Natural HDR in Camera Raw and Photoshop

Enjoy these two methods of Dodging and burning.

Dodge and burn are techniques that come from the darkroom. When projecting a negative onto photopaper through an enlarger, photographers used to either block light, or cup the hand to direct light into certain areas. This allows underexposing or overexposing of different parts of a photograph. This is the kind of technique that Andsel Adams employed.


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Today, we can perform the same function very easily in Photoshop. There are two main reasons to dodge (brighten) and burn (darken).

The first is to fix photos. For example, you may want to open up shadows in a portion of a photo or tone down the highlights to reveal the detail better.

The second is purely creative. As the eye is usually drawn to brighter parts of a photograph, the creative use of dodging and burning can be used to guide the viewers eye to the areas of the photograph that you consider important. Toning down less important areas and enhnacing other areas can simplify the composition and create a very eye catching composition.

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Colin Smith

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

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Colin Smith

About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

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