Dodging and burning to make your images pop

Going back to the old days of printing in a darkroom, one of the only tricks I had up my sleeve to edit prints was to dodge and burn. Dodging was the process of blocking light from certain portions of the photographic paper as it was being exposed, reducing light to that part of the image. The result was a lightening of the area.

Burning was a technique used to add light to certain areas of the image that I wanted to be darker than the rest of the image. If I wanted part of the background darker, I burnt it. If I wanted a petal of a flower lighter, I dodged it.

It wasn't an exact science, and I couldn't see the results of my efforts until the print came out of the chemical process, washed and dried. Worse yet, I had to dodge or burn each print individually to have the same effect across all prints. Multiple copies of the same print meant multiple dodges and multiple burns — a long, hard process. With Photoshop, you can edit your images, dodge and burn each image once, and print as many as you want.

Here's a hands-on look at dodging and burning your images:

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