Burning and Dodging
While Burning and Dodging are listed as tools in most photo editing software, they are digital versions of techniques originally developed by darkroom photographers years ago.
Burning is a trick for getting more detail out of a section of a picture. The photographer makes his print normally, and then masks off a large section of the print, usually with his hands. Then, with the light blocked, he adds a bit more exposure time to the print, so that the area that wasn’t masked gets more exposure. Dodging, on the other hand, involves using a small piece of paper or cardboard to block the light from a section of the photograph.
Burning, then, means adding extra exposure to some element of the picture, while dodging is less exposure. In general, this is different from the Brightness of a picture because brightness is applied to the entire picture, while burning and dodging are only applied to areas of the picture.
Photoshop, as an example, offers tools for Burning and Dodging. You can adjust the size of the “brush” and apply it to any part of the image, and the program will lighten or darken the area, just like a classic burn or dodge would have.
Both techniques are used for “balancing out” a picture. For example, if a landscape or cityscape turns out perfectly, but the sky behind it is overexposed (looking like a big white blob rather than the normal blue and white of sky and clouds), then dodging the sky will reduce the exposure, and hopefully bring the color back down to a normal level. If the sky exposed in the perfect shade of blue, but the windows are too dark to stand out from the buildings, then burning the windows would help to expose them better, bringing out more detail and clarity.
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