Quick Tutorial Shows How to Dodge and Burn Using Curves in Photoshop

In addition to taking beautiful fashion photos, Serbian born photographer Elena Jasic also occasionally uploads a tutorial or two to her YouTube channel. One that has gotten some attention lately is this simple video that offers one way to dodge and burn non-destructively in Photoshop.

Before you dive in, it’s worth noting that this is certainly not the only (and maybe not even the best) way to dodge and burn in Photoshop. This is just one way to approach it that offers maximal control and yields a natural look by making it difficult to “over do” it and easy to scale back if you did.

Here’s a before and after using this technique:


Also, if you really want to speed up your workflow while doing this, keep in mind that you can change brush size and hardness without having to move the slider every time. Just click Control+Option and drag your mouse left to right to change brush size or up and down to change harness (Windows users click Alt and then press and hold right-click while moving the mouse).

The advantage of using a method like this rather than the actual Dodge and Burn tool is that this is non-destructive. It limits the amount you can actually do, and allows you scale back and forth until you reach a happy medium, like she does at the end.

As we said before, there are many different ways to approach dodging and burning in Photoshop, and this isn’t necessarily any better than other non-destructive methods. But if you’ve never used anything other than the Dodge and Burn tool in the standard way, this’ll offer a good non-destructive alternative until you find your favorite method.

(via Reddit)

  • aa

    paint in photoshop instead of using make-up to shape the face or the light. People this days really don’t rely much on the actual shoot. How hard it is to think ahead?

  • ATrapAtNoon

    You know dodge and burn comes from the film days, right?

  • aa

    does this make any diference? Wouldn’t that be the same extra work? probably even more labour intensive?

  • wayne.carroll

    Works well if you’re shooting aliens . . . ;-)

  • Alan Dove

    Fine, but what’s going on with those eyes?

  • Bob Simmons

    Are you saying the LR dodge/burn tool is destructive?

  • Dennis Manske

    Just one more tool in the tool box folks. Some people need to get over themselves, or post their own videos! Put up or shut up. Thanks for sharing and taking the time Elena.

  • Carlos

    I don’t know, but they look strange. I cannot stop looking at them.

  • Jeanie Irving

    After watching a bunch of videos about dodge & burn, this has to be my most favourite. It’s simple and easy to understand. Thank you.