Photographer Chris Clor takes you behind the scenes in his digital darkroom as he transforms an image from humdrum color to stunning black-and-white.
Step 5: Dodge and Burn
Dodging and burning gets painted in on its own layer.
Clor’s dodge and burn method is another classic Photoshop technique and a killer way to make subtle, nondestructive adjustments to darkness and lightness. Here, he used it to reduce the atmospheric haze on the mountain and to clarify the difference between values; his main focus was on the side of the mountain where the light was falling. To try his technique, go to Layer > New Layer. In the dialogue box that comes up, change the blend mode to Overlay and check the box for Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray). Name the layer Dodge & Burn, and click OK. From here, dodging and burning works similarly to painting on a mask: Paint with black to darken and white to lighten. Clor keeps his brush set to a very low opacity (around 6 to 10%) so that he can work slowly and build up brightness and darkness where the image needs it.
Tonal Shifts Set the blend mode while making a new layer (left). Check out Clor’s adjustments in this detail of his dodge and burn layer (right).