Oct 03, 2014

The Fastest Way to Dodge and Burn in Photoshop

We’re old schoolin’ it in today’s episode as we show you the fastest way to dodge and burn in Photoshop!

Lightning Speed

To start out, duplicate the background layer by pressing Cmd/Ctrl + J. Next, desaturate that layer by pressing Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + U. On that layer, change the blending mode to Vivid Light.

Now, go to Filter -> Other -> High Pass. This is the same technique you would use to sharpen an image; the only difference is that we are going to bring the radius very far up. This focuses on the details in a broader way.

At first, this effect will probably be much too intense. So, to have more control, create a layer mask and then paint back in what you want to be visible. You can also change the blend mode to something like Soft Light if you want a more subtle look.

Thatโ€™s all it takes to dodge and burn quickly in Photoshop!


user image You
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  • user image

    Forgot you can also use a low blur afterwards so it’s no so strong of an effect

  • user image

    Aron .. the way you teach the techniques is simply awesome. I learnt a lot from your tips and tricks and wait for your episodes every week.

    Do you have tutorials on astrophotography please? It will be really helpful if you can make one if possible.

    You are the best and as always keep phlearing .. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • user image

    It is a fast way.
    but I would rather spend more time on dodging and burning and do it manually, beside it’s really fun and you have control on what you do you will also get better results.

  • user image

    I wander if you know if about select technique for selecting a subject dressed in black in a black background. Thanks a lot In advance

  • user image
    Chuck Staley

    Good one. I’ve learned so much from watching your tutorials. Just finished this one today.

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    Juan Pablo

    If the high pass filter affects small or big details depending on the radius; using several high pass fiters with different radius, should be the perfect method for sharpening. But, how would you mask just the details you want ? Maybe with apply image ?

  • user image

    Even quicker is:
    Add new layer; 100% white/black; use “Blend If” underlying layer, only when it’s lighter/darker.
    You could have done that is under 4 minutes.

    Is this still about quality or taking short cuts.

  • user image

    Hi, I would love it if you once make a tutorial on how to add galaxy to an image.

  • user image

    This is great if there’s not much time or if you just want to try it in some random pics.

    But I would love to know if there is a way to get rid of his hair on the back an smooth that skin out.



  • user image

    Aaron I strongly recommend you investigate into unsharp mask that does these things with a lot more control! great job love ya

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    This is awesome. I really needed this tutorial. I photograph a ton of athletes being able to dodge and burn their bodies for muscular separation is going to be priceless. I have a few images that I will be working on ASAP. I learned a ton when you were at CL with Rob and Gary…I was in the audience….

    As always, keep on doing what you are doing…I appreciate it.

  • user image

    Great tutorial and thanks for sharing.

    I’m often given images that I need to work with that are exaggerated in the dodging and burning process. Would you mind sharing with us the process you would take to lessen the effect on an image that has been overly processed with dodging and burning?


  • Cheri

    Again Great Job Aaron..!!!!….. Have Phlearned so much in such a short time and I think I can actually add something to this free tutorial… I also love the look of some dodging and burning, in this picture I used the high pass to create the lights and dark, de-saturated the colours and then added some blur to the gray image. linear light blend and used a 10% flow brush tool over just the lights and darks which gave me a much softer effect and still getting great easy Dodge and burn effect…..

  • user image

    I’v some images it’s water art
    and it will be cool if you make a tut for how it was made
    Thanks PHlearn
    first image

  • user image

    Ai Aaron,sou brasileiro e curto muito teus tutoriais, tem me ajudado bastante. Thanks!
    Then Aaron, I am Brazilian and his very short tutorial has helped me a lot. Thanks!

  • user image

    Hello Nace, Pls could u do a tutorial on photo collage and contour line distortions? plssssssssss. reply

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    Bill C

    Another great technique. What I would like to see is a good work flow for combining many of the techniques in one PSD. Such as this dodge and burn along with frequency separation and wrinkle removal, etc.

  • user image
    Carlos Garcia

    Just wanted to say, thank you for all your tutorials and extremely useful advice. You are the best! Thank you!

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    Ig Ro

    GREAT Job. As with all your tutorials, very informative, but can you please slow down a bit. Thanks.

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    Pat O'Bryan

    What is really neat is you can use this technique to make any cell phone photo or low resolution photo very very sharp. Hard light as a blending mode works the best.

  • user image

    hi, Aaron how would you go about making the left eye the same dimension as the right eye if the right eye is too sleepy.

  • user image

    Sir plz plz guide us how to make joker(the dark night) face by photoshop.

  • user image

    You are terrific! Your skills are wonderful! Your personality and style are extremely enjoyable! Thank you!!!!

  • user image

    AWESOME tutorials. Every single one of them. Much better late night viewing material than Netflix!