To improve flat photos we usually increase the contrast in post-processing. This method is very common for beginners who don’t know how to improve their exposure and sharpness. Overcooked underexposed or overexposed photos with noise are the result. To avoid this, light painting is the best method. Some parts of the photos require more light and others less. In Photoshop this is called dodging and burning.
Dodging when we light up a specific part of the image and burning when we do the opposite. Let’s see how to use the dodge and burn tool.
Step 1 > Open the image
Open the image you want in Photoshop.
Step 2 > Dodging and Burning
First, duplicate the layer so you don’t have to import it again if something goes wrong.
Before you use the tool, look at the image and decide what parts of your image need dodging (lightning) and what burning (darkening).
The goal is to give the main object a 3D feeling. Usually, try to darken parts where the light naturally would be less. And use dodging in parts where the light would be more.
To use the burning tool go to the tools palette and pick it or press (O). Below I used the burning (darkening) around the face to make it pop out.
Burning (darkening) around the face and hair.
Dodging (lightning) on eyes and hair
When you want to use dodging on highlights make sure you change the range to “Highlights” and when you want more darkening for shadows to change the range to “Shadows”. You can use Dodge and Burn Tool (O) for portraits to landscapes. With dodging and burning you can emphasize specific parts of your image making it more appealing.
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