Dodge/burn Effect using Adobe Photoshop



We always want some quick methods to process our photos, especially when it’s wedding or model photo shoot when we have process a large amount of photos. As we designers sometimes are also the photographers we have experienced sometimes the fact that most of the time people want their photo as earlier as possible. Since it’s tough to process all the photos individually it is better to use presets. In my case, I don’t like to use those presets as everyone else; I like to create my own preset to develop a huge bulk of photos with same lighting condition. If you use made up presets, they won’t fit your work every time. Suppose you want a photo with increased contrast but your preset doesn’t allow you to give the look you want; therefore I will suggest you to create your own preset for a set of photographs. In order to change each single picture by controlling the light and dark I am going to show you how to control the light and shadow by “Dodge/Burn tool”.

First of all you need to investigate the photo set you want to process. Here I have some picture of a girl sitting on a train, she was beside the window. It was a gloomy weather and the temperature was little bit low. So for this kind of photo I want to give a cool effect, then all I need to do is to select one photo which will become the standard for processing. To find the standard one you should put them in the Adobe Photoshop and see the histogram of each one. If the histogram is between the left triangle and the right triangle, then it is a good photo with perfect light balance. If the histogram crosses the left triangle, it means the photo you are using has more dark and shadows then necessary and if the histogram shows that it crosses the right triangle that means this photo contains excess highlight and exposure.

Considering all these you must select a less qualified photo, because you can change the preset effects whenever you want. So let’s get started.

The photo I am using is a RAW file.


First you need to open the RAW image in Photoshop. To open it, click “File”. Then “Open” and select the photo.



Click “Camera profile” and it’s auto selected to “adobe standard”. You can change it to your like wise.


White balance is a very important fact in case of color photo since it can change the whole photo “feel”. As I said I want to give a gloomy effect, then I make the temperature cold.


The histogram helps you spot any exposure problems. If the histogram graph fails to stretch to the far right so we can see that the shot lacks strong dark shadows. The graph’s highlights drop off before they reach the far left, too, which means that the image consists mostly of mid-tones.


To darken the shadows without changing other tones, drag the Shadow slider right or left according to your choice. The histogram has now collapsed, because we have decreased the range of tones to include more highlights and shadows. Untick, then tick.


This will convert your photo to black and white and give you a wide field to change the tone of your photo by changing the amount of individually each color.



Tone curve is very essential to give a great tone in the photo. You can give your photo to any look by changing those tone curves. Here you can see a “Straight Line” which represents the whole RGB of your photo, change it according to your taste.




With this option you can have a quick access to width or narrow the lens view. For this picture I think my original lens view is pretty good, meaning that I don’t need to correct the lens width. In case I want to use a vintage effect here is where I can apply it by using vignetting.


Here’s the final part. Now go to the “Preset” option and click to the “New preset” option at the bottom. Now a dialogue box will appear showing like the image as shown in below.


Now if you want to set any individual field as preset you can select that one from the toggle menu as shown in the image below.


I kept everything checked and renamed the preset as “B&W”.



Click “Ok”. Now our preset is done. Now you can import any picture and simply click on this preset to see the result. Click “Ok”.


Now go to the tool option menu and select “Dodge/Burn” tool and simply paint over the place where you want to dodge and where you want to burn.


So here is the result of my photo after the “Dodge/Burn”. I think it’s quite a good way to highlight the subject of your photo.

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