Related Articles


  • Dodging is brightening and Burning is darkening parts of an image.
  • Use a Black and White adjustment layer to work in mono so that you only see tomes.
  • Rotate (R) the image so that you don’t look at the picture, just the tones.
  • Use Dodge and Burn to even out skin, emphasise and contour skin highlights and shadows to add dimension, emphasise hair highlights etc.
  • Always work on the midtones setting for skin and hair for best results (Sue Bryce Experimental Portraits 27, 8:00)
  • PixImperfect uses an extreme curves adjustment and 1% flow on a mask to produce an extreme effect, which he then dials back with the curves adjustment and opacity of needed. (Ref 37:43)

 Using a Grey Mask

  • Create a new layer (CTRL+SHIFT+n), fill it with grey (Edit > Fill or SHIFT+ DELETE and chose 50% grey from the menu), change the blending mode to Soft Light (or Overlay for a stronger effect.
  • Can use a separate, named layer for dodge and burn or highlights and shadows.
  • Phlearn Retouching uses opacity 100%, flow 10%, or 5% for larger areas. Digital Photography uses opacity 15%, flow 10%  (Ref). I find Phlearn’s settings can be too harsh.
  • Use default black and white colours (Press D to go back to this).
  • Zoom well out for evening out tones and contouring.
  • Add Gaussian blur when finished (20-40 pixels) and reduce the opacity as required. 01.
  • Set the range to Highlights, Midtones or Shadows to get more control (Lara Jade, Experimental Portraits Lesson 22)

Using Curves

  • Using Curves - Use a blend mode of luminosity (Aaron Nace Q&A video)

Select Highlights and Shadows Automatically

  • Use Blend If and Apply Image to automatically select areas to make the process more automatic, and then separate the dodge or burn separately. Can also change the colour of shadows separately. - 01***, 02, 03, 04
  • Use Channels to automatically select highlights or shadows, then use blend modes - 01 24:52,

Using Luminosity

  • Can use an adjustment layer set to luminosity to sample and paint at 10% to even out difficult transitions. (Phlearn Retouching 101 Section 9, 48:00)

Using Apply Image


  • Phlearn Retouching 010 Section 5.

Colour Dodge and Colour Burn

Dodge and Burn - Paint over with white or black at 10% flow and use Blend IF in Normal mode to only lighten or darken the area using the bottom sliders. Adjust the Opacity to suit.


Links From