Dodge and Burn


Here I going to explain why I believe extensive editing in Lightroom/Photoshop of images is a good thing, this is a bit contentious with some photographers as some believe it should be as near to  straight out of camera as possible, this is great if the light is perfect and subject are illuminated well, but life being what is, this very rarely happens.

In landscapes for instance the sky will usually be a lot lighter than the foreground, this can be corrected by using graduated filters which helps a lot giving balance to the whole image (so I not saying to not use them, they are a wonderful tool if you have them).

I feel that Lightroom & Photoshop and good quality digital cameras has given us the freedom to express ourselves like at no other time before, before we needed a darkroom now we have a computer and are able to do the same tricks to improve  our images as the pros used, such as dodging and burning.

I have a book called Darkroom were well known photographers talk about the techniques they use in the Darkroom, one of the photographers was the brilliant W. Eugene Smith in my mind one the greatest photographers of the 20th century, he dodged and burned most of his images, bringing out shadow or highlight detail etc. I know some people go over the top with extreame colours or heavy HDR but that is their choice.

So I say if it is good enough for Eugene it is good enough for me, here below is an image (not a great image, but it shows the point I am trying to make) shown in 3 stages the first is straight out of camera (very flat), the second is enhanced colour and the third is black & white.

Please feel free to criticise or comment, many thanks.


heart of gold 3 images


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Smaaak says:

    I know that term ! Dodge and Burn ! lol, I just started with Photoshop Trial and am still at the level of layers and selection before I can even get started with Dodge and Burn. It’s quite a learning curve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. realdelboy says:

      It is a long curve but one worth learning, levels is the way to improve images easily, I have seen images on photo sites taken with really expensive equipment look dull and flat because they didn’t spend 5 minutes adjusting levels, thank you for comment and if you need help just ask.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Smaaak says:

        Thanks. I’ll take Ps as a journey with no expectations. That way, I might last ! I have some concept what they do but actual lying working those buttons and commands is another thing entirely. At the moment, if I were to put a photograph in Ps, It is like sending it to the chopping board !


  2. Smaaak says:

    I like that B & W one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. realdelboy says:

      I agree, the light was not great for colour.


  3. Bren says:

    Tha black and white version is brilliant… I love the drama in the sky. I too believe like you… there is nothing wrong with using these filters to enhance your photography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. realdelboy says:

      The black and white version is the one I prefer and the one I unloaded to a photo site, as I say not the best image but was shot while I waited for my brother to finish his coffee at a service station, so was done on the run.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bren says:

        Sometimes those done on the run shots turn out the best.


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