Mono man­ual dodg­ing and burn­ing

Stop press! Adobe did not in­vent im­age en­hance­ment tech­niques

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

For tra­di­tional dark­room pho­tog­ra­phers, im­age en­hance­ment was not sim­ply used for spe­cial ef­fects, it was an in­te­gral part of the print-mak­ing process. No land­scape was com­plete un­less the sky was burned-in ( given more ex­po­sure un­der the en­larger) to give it a richer tone, and por­taits al­most al­ways ben­e­fit­ted from del­i­cate dodg­ing ( less ex­po­sure) in key ar­eas. These dodg­ing and burn­ing tech­niques make a huge dif­fer­ence in black-and-white, and most fans would ar­gue that the im­age shot by the cam­era is just the first half of the process. Here’s an un­mod­i­fied black-and-white im­age. It has a good range of tones and is sat­is­fy­ingly sharp, but it lacks the con­trast and care­ful tonal con­trol that black-and­white pho­to­graphs need in or­der to stand out.

In El­e­ments or Pho­to­shop, cre­ate a new, empty layer and set the blend mode to Over­lay. Now se­lect the Brush tool, set the colour to black and paint on this layer over ar­eas you want to darken. A big, soft brush works best.

To ‘dodge’ parts of the im­age, set the brush colour to white in­stead. The beauty of this tech­nique is that the pic­ture un­der­neath is pre­served in­tact and you can re­paint over the top layer to tweak the ef­fect.

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