I recently got a shot of a gorgeous clematis flower. I liked the original image, but did my usual touch up work. I thought I’d share some of the process I used for this particular shot.

Adjustment layers are great and I love them. But there isn’t a specific dodge and burn adjustment layer (that I know of as of CS5.5). There’s a work around for that though involving blending modes and some brushes.

Start with your original image with whatever modifications you like to perform before dodge/burn in your work flow. Add a layer above that and fill with 50% grey, then set that layer’s blending mode to overlay. Overlay ignores 50% grey so you see your original image untouched.

Select the brush tool and reset to default colors (D). Use a low opacity (about 10-20% works for me) and paint in white where you want to dodge and black where you want to burn. Using the low opacity gently shifts the 50% grey layer darker or lighter which, in turn, lightens and darkens your image.

The picture is the dodge/burn layer I used for my shot. An advantage of this method is that you can use it much like an adjustment layer in that you can readjust it however is needed without altering your original image. You can also view the layer on its own to see exactly where you’ve made changes.


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