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Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait

From: Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

Video: Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait

There are so many different reasons why you might want to burn or dodge one of your photographs. A lot of times it might be that you're trying to add a little bit of drama or focus; other times perhaps you want to diminish a shadow or a highlight. Well, here I want to take a look at how we can continue to burn and dodge with this photograph here, and this is a picture that I captured yesterday. What I want to do is I want to brighten up a little bit of these shadows that I'm seeing on the photograph. So in order to do this, let's create a new layer, change the Blending mode, and then I also want to talk about some advanced techniques when using this technique of burning and dodging.

Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait

There are so many different reasons why you might want to burn or dodge one of your photographs. A lot of times it might be that you're trying to add a little bit of drama or focus; other times perhaps you want to diminish a shadow or a highlight. Well, here I want to take a look at how we can continue to burn and dodge with this photograph here, and this is a picture that I captured yesterday. What I want to do is I want to brighten up a little bit of these shadows that I'm seeing on the photograph. So in order to do this, let's create a new layer, change the Blending mode, and then I also want to talk about some advanced techniques when using this technique of burning and dodging.

So let's click on the New layer Icon and then go ahead and name this layer burn and dodge. The next thing that I want to do is go ahead and take this Blending mode to Soft Light. Well, now that we have a Soft Light Blending mode, I want to show you something which is going to be a bit of an exaggeration but can help illustrate a point. We've seen before that what we can do is if we paint something; in this case, like white or if we paint black, we can either brighten or darken. Now the disadvantage of using black or white is that eventually the pixels underneath it, they become white or black.

Well, we can change this and let me show you how. If you click on your Color Picker, rather than just using black and if you turn off Only Web Colors, you can sample, say, a skin tone. Here you can see that skin tone here. Then I could darken that up a little bit and then click OK. So now if I paint with this, rather than having it go black, it's going to go towards a certain hue. You can see the difference between these values and also how this one has a little bit of color in it.

The reason why I illustrate this is that in order to do this right, what you really want to do isn't so much to burn or dodge the black or white, but to a color which will work best for your photograph. Well, let me delete all that I've done there just as demo and let's work on this image. So here I'll click on my Color Picker Icon and then I'm going to sample a nice bright skin tone. In this case, this color that I'm seeing right around here on the face, I'll click around a little bit until I get a nice tone that I think will work. Next, click OK. Well, now that we have that, I'll go ahead and diminish my Opacity because typically we want a relatively low opacity.

And on this layer which is on a Blending mode of Soft Light, I'll bring my brush over the image. Now here I want to change my Brush Size and I want to do this in context. To do that, you can right-click or Ctrl+Click. Here we can see I can decrease my Brush Size and also remove any Hardness. Another way to do that would be of course just to use your shortcuts. The Left Bracket key is a really handy one. Next, I'm going to start to paint over this area of the photograph and I'm just going to start to paint this little adjustment in on these shadows.

I'll make my brush smaller in order to paint in the smaller areas. And then I realize that this isn't quite bright enough, so I'll go back to my Color Picker, I'm going to brighten that up even more, and then click OK. Once again, I'll continue to paint over this area just trying to take out these shadows. A lot of times when you do this work, as I say in other places, you shouldn't really notice anything super-dramatic here. Rather, you should feel like you're subtly improving the image. And basically what I'm doing is I'm just painting over a few little shadow areas where I want to diminish the shadows, where I want to kind of take those back or take those down a little bit.

And as I make these brushstrokes, I'm changing my brush size and I'm painting over different areas of the photograph just to change the overall look in this picture. Well, when we then turn off the visibility of this layer, you can see the before and now the after. We were able to paint in light into those areas, yet my brushstrokes as we've discussed before, they're too harsh. So we need to diminish those. To do that, we can go to our Filter pulldown menu and then choose Blur and Gaussian Blur. By adding just a little bit of Gaussian Blur, this can just soften those edges of our brushstrokes.

Here we can click OK and then look at our results. This is before and now here's after. If ever we want to paint more intensely, we can just go back to our Eyedropper tool, brighten this up even more here, click OK, and then also increase our Opacity. Next, we can go ahead and reposition the cursor over the area that we want to work on, say this shadow here. I just want to take that out even a little bit more and I'm just painting back and forth over that shadow. I also want to hit a couple other shadows that I'm noticing as well.

And then next after we've done that, again, we'll want to look at our before and then after. Now that I've added these new brushstrokes, I want to blur this one more time. Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. As I add this blur, I need to be aware that I'm really stacking the blur up on top of itself, so you want to be careful. Another thing that you can do is if you have a brushstroke which isn't good, you can grab your Eraser tool. With the Eraser tool, you can use a nice soft-edge eraser and then you can go ahead and lower the opacity and then just slowly kind of erase some of the edges, some of areas that don't look very good.

So while this is pretty technical what we've done here, it's also incredibly powerful and I'm showing you how to do this on a portrait. Yet you can use this burn and dodge technique in so many different situations with all of your photographs regardless of the subject matter. I just think it illustrates a good point when working with a portrait because by looking at the before and after, all of a sudden we see that image differently, we're drawn into different elements. And ideally with this picture we're more drawn into the face and into the eyes rather than into those shadows.

So by creating this new layer and by painting with a certain hue, whether that's a dark or bright hue, we can really brighten or darken our image in some specific and incredibly helpful ways.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

173 video lessons · 26646 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 43s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      45s
  2. 11m 49s
    1. Ideas for how to learn Photoshop more effectively
      4m 25s
    2. Isolating what you've learned and taking quality notes
      3m 53s
    3. Getting creative and being ready to be surprised
      3m 31s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Customizing the Bridge workspace
      4m 46s
    2. Reviewing and evaluating your photos
      4m 22s
    3. Rating, ranking, and filtering photographs
      5m 42s
    4. Organizing photos with stacks
      3m 55s
    5. Grouping pictures together with collections
      3m 56s
    6. Adding metadata and keywords
      4m 47s
    7. Renaming images
      1m 45s
    8. Accessing the Photoshop tools from within Bridge
      2m 28s
    9. Working with Bridge and Photoshop
      2m 40s
    10. Working with Mini Bridge
      4m 36s
  4. 45m 29s
    1. Setting up your color settings
      3m 31s
    2. Choosing preferences for the HUD color picker
      3m 50s
    3. Setting image interpolation preferences
      3m 3s
    4. Modifying zoom preferences
      4m 20s
    5. Changing HUD brush options
      3m 41s
    6. Customizing interface preferences
      3m 30s
    7. Opening up documents in tabs
      4m 11s
    8. Reviewing file-handling preferences
      5m 4s
    9. Setting performance preferences
      4m 23s
    10. Choosing cursor preferences
      5m 14s
    11. Reviewing guides and type preview preferences
      4m 42s
  5. 21m 4s
    1. Exploring two simple steps for more accurate color
      2m 57s
    2. Introducing color profiles
      5m 17s
    3. Opening and saving files with embedded profiles
      7m 33s
    4. Setting up your studio
      1m 59s
    5. A demonstration of monitor calibration
      1m 46s
    6. Finding color management resources
      1m 32s
  6. 28m 34s
    1. Introducing the Tools panel
      4m 53s
    2. Changing the view mode and working with panels
      5m 33s
    3. Opening and arranging multiple documents
      6m 31s
    4. Combining, saving, and closing multiple documents
      5m 17s
    5. Creating custom keyboard shortcuts
      5m 11s
    6. Working with a Wacom tablet
      1m 9s
  7. 18m 24s
    1. The foundation of digital imaging: pixels and bit depth
      6m 12s
    2. Introducing image resizing
      3m 42s
    3. Resizing images effectively
      3m 48s
    4. Resizing and straightening with the Crop tool
      2m 28s
    5. Creative tip: sizing images correctly
      2m 14s
  8. 41m 56s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      2m 47s
    2. Accessing the Camera Raw preferences
      3m 16s
    3. Improving your images with the basic controls
      7m 0s
    4. Correcting color and white balance
      4m 44s
    5. Processing multiple images at once
      5m 56s
    6. Utilizing the Crop tool to recompose your pictures
      5m 28s
    7. Creating dramatic black-and-white conversions
      5m 34s
    8. Reducing noise and making tack-sharp photos
      7m 11s
  9. 32m 55s
    1. Introducing layers
      2m 22s
    2. Understanding layers and layer transparency
      1m 29s
    3. Working with layer opacity
      3m 29s
    4. Aligning layers
      1m 32s
    5. Creating new layers
      4m 53s
    6. Organizing layers
      2m 31s
    7. Filtering and finding layers
      2m 8s
    8. Adding layer style effects
      5m 28s
    9. Creating a clipping mask
      6m 50s
    10. Targeting and moving layers
      2m 13s
  10. 33m 22s
    1. Making selections with the marquee tools
      4m 50s
    2. Using the three lasso tools
      4m 56s
    3. Selecting with the Magic Wand tool
      5m 43s
    4. Working with the Quick Select tool
      7m 21s
    5. Selecting based on color with the Color Range controls
      7m 13s
    6. Correcting skin tones with Color Range
      3m 19s
  11. 23m 2s
    1. Introducing masking
      1m 14s
    2. Painting away the contents of a layer with a mask
      3m 59s
    3. Using a selection to build a mask
      3m 3s
    4. Removing a subject from the background with a mask
      6m 37s
    5. Using a mask to selectively sharpen an image
      3m 58s
    6. Making selections with Quick Mask
      4m 11s
  12. 13m 42s
    1. Creating a custom border using selections and masks
      5m 4s
    2. Painting custom border effects
      3m 34s
    3. Using prebuilt borders
      4m 13s
    4. Exploring the PhotoFrame plug-in
      51s
  13. 11m 49s
    1. Adding brightness and contrast
      3m 3s
    2. Using hue and saturation and the Target Adjustment tool
      5m 34s
    3. Working with vibrancy and saturation
      3m 12s
  14. 14m 36s
    1. Working with auto levels
      3m 36s
    2. Enhancing color and tone with levels
      4m 12s
    3. Painting in adjustments with levels and masking
      4m 10s
    4. Creative tip: checking in
      2m 38s
  15. 29m 50s
    1. Introducing the Curves dialog box
      3m 12s
    2. Using auto curves and adjustments to enhance an image
      4m 17s
    3. Changing brightness with curves and masks
      3m 59s
    4. Using curves and masks to improve tone and color
      4m 56s
    5. Making advanced selections and masks
      3m 53s
    6. Enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks
      5m 53s
    7. Using, modifying, and saving curves presets
      3m 40s
  16. 20m 12s
    1. Introducing the magic of blend modes
      6m 33s
    2. Blending multiple images together
      3m 50s
    3. Using blending modes to remove white or black
      2m 8s
    4. Improving exposure, contrast, and color with blending
      5m 37s
    5. Using blending shortcuts
      2m 4s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Working with color correction in Camera Raw
      1m 21s
    2. Correcting color with the eyedroppers
      3m 11s
    3. Correcting color and tone with the eyedroppers
      5m 54s
  18. 36m 1s
    1. Using a Replace Color adjustment
      4m 14s
    2. Using Replace Color, Hue/Saturation, and masks
      5m 32s
    3. Replacing color with advanced masking
      7m 14s
    4. Selecting and modifying color with the Hue/Saturation eyedroppers
      2m 30s
    5. Using Color Balance to create vivid color
      4m 3s
    6. Modifying color with Selective Color
      5m 3s
    7. Changing color with Photo Filter
      4m 4s
    8. Making creative color changes with Color Lookup
      1m 44s
    9. Creative tip: shoot more
      1m 37s
  19. 35m 13s
    1. The modern equivalent of a traditional technique
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing two burn and dodge techniques
      7m 22s
    3. Burning and dodging with the Brush and Gradient tools
      4m 18s
    4. Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait
      6m 0s
    5. Using selections, masks, and curves to change tonality
      7m 21s
    6. Improving a black-and-white landscape
      8m 32s
  20. 16m 9s
    1. The power of black and white
      4m 14s
    2. Converting a portrait to black and white
      4m 6s
    3. Converting a landscape to black and white
      4m 23s
    4. Adding grain and tone to a black-and-white image
      3m 26s
  21. 31m 57s
    1. Introducing Smart Filters
      3m 36s
    2. Applying Smart Filters
      6m 20s
    3. Creating a soft contrast effect
      6m 38s
    4. Changing focus with the Blur Gallery
      3m 40s
    5. Working with Tilt-Shift Blur
      3m 52s
    6. Creating a realistic lens flare
      2m 45s
    7. Adding light with the Lighting Effects filter
      5m 6s
  22. 12m 33s
    1. Using the Noise Reduction filter
      3m 46s
    2. Exploring advanced noise reduction using channels
      2m 49s
    3. Masking in noise reduction to a specific area
      2m 1s
    4. Reducing noise with Surface Blur
      3m 57s
  23. 48m 30s
    1. Cleaning before you enhance
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the healing and cloning tools
      7m 22s
    3. Cleaning up the background of an image
      6m 21s
    4. Basic portrait retouching
      3m 15s
    5. Brightening shadows under the eyes
      4m 53s
    6. Brightening the eyes
      2m 30s
    7. Retouching selected areas
      5m 27s
    8. Using Content-Aware Fill to remove distractions
      5m 34s
    9. Moving a subject with the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 54s
    10. Changing shape and dimension with Liquify
      4m 12s
  24. 24m 2s
    1. Using the Lens Correction filter
      6m 52s
    2. Reducing exaggerated distortion
      5m 16s
    3. Applying Free Transform to correct perspective
      3m 49s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Perspective Crop tool
      3m 45s
    5. Using Puppet Warp to correct perspective
      4m 20s
  25. 26m 48s
    1. Combining two photos with movement
      4m 12s
    2. Using two frames for a group photo
      4m 57s
    3. Creating a panoramic photo from multiple frames
      3m 37s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle correction
      7m 34s
    5. Cropping, filling in the gaps, and making final panographic adjustments
      6m 28s
  26. 27m 24s
    1. Working with Smart Sharpen
      6m 17s
    2. Using Unsharpen Mask
      4m 49s
    3. High Pass sharpening an image
      4m 47s
    4. Selectively sharpening the in-focus areas of an image
      3m 35s
    5. Selective sharpening with hand-drawn masks
      7m 56s
  27. 22m 44s
    1. Preparing images for the web and email
      4m 38s
    2. Sharpening for the web
      3m 5s
    3. Using Save for Web to create an optimized JPEG
      4m 26s
    4. Exporting images to Facebook or Flickr
      4m 46s
    5. Creating a web gallery
      5m 49s
  28. 26m 6s
    1. Desktop printing recommendations
      2m 46s
    2. Creating a PDF layout and contact sheets
      5m 56s
    3. Using a soft proof to visualize the print
      8m 0s
    4. Adjusting printer settings
      3m 43s
    5. Customizing the Print dialog box options
      5m 41s
  29. 32m 4s
    1. Opening up a video file in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    2. Editing a video clip and adding text
      5m 15s
    3. Using adjustment layers and adding an audio track
      4m 47s
    4. Creating a project with multiple clips
      4m 55s
    5. Adding a cross-dissolve fade and creating custom shortcuts
      4m 43s
    6. Customizing the workspace to review your project
      3m 2s
    7. Exporting a project
      2m 15s
  30. 3m 4s
    1. Exploring additional resources and ways to keep in touch
      2m 29s
    2. Goodbye
      35s

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