Burning & Dodging — A Simple Technique For Enhancing Your Photographs

Burning and dodging are terms used in the process of finishing digital images in Photoshop and similar image processing software. In the context of film and print processing, where the terms originated, dodging means withholding light from an over-exposed part of an image projected onto on photo paper under an enlarger, and burning means just the opposite, i.e., to add more light to under-exposed areas. Thus, dodging makes part of an image lighter, while burning makes selected areas darker. It is necessary to mention at the very outset that burning and dodging must not be used indiscriminately. They must be applied judiciously in a subtle manner so as to give little clue to the viewer that such processing has taken place. For photographers who are at the stage where they see an image in their mind’s eye and then proceed to create it, these two tools invariably find a lot…

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