Dodging and Burning with Landscape Images


Adobe Lightroom® CC for Beginners


Lesson Info

Dodging and Burning with Landscape Images

So now, let's talk about what we wanna do in addition to this image. So, on this image, I want to actually get rid of this light here, and I want to brighten up her arm a little bit and soften it up, and maybe even get rid of a little inconsistency in skin and stuff like that. So first, I'll go in with my cloning tool, or my healing brush, and instead of trying to get rid of dust spots, I'm gonna get rid of this little light thing, whatever that is. I'm gonna get rid of that, I'm gonna get rid of this. And then I'm gonna go up and get rid of this little dark spot on her arm. So, I'm just gonna go like this and get rid of that. Okay, so now that I've gotten rid of those types of things, I'm gonna zoom out and I'm gonna say, what do I wanna do with that arm and basically her body? I'm gonna click on a brush tool, and I'm going to just brighten her up. So, I'm gonna double-click the effects so that it's zeroed out, and then I'm going to go up and I'm going to do what I call a smart dodge.

So, a smart dodge is different than just taking exposure up, and I want you to pay attention to this because these are important settings. So, I'm gonna click on smart dodge. Let's zoom in here so you can see what's happening. See how it brought the exposure up, the contrast up, the highlights up, the shadows down, the black down, right? So, it's doing all this, it brings the noise up, or the noise reduction up, because when you increase exposure you get noise so that you also want to add some noise reduction to kind of counteract that noise that you're getting. So, I'm doing a lot of things. Now, this is where presets inside of this panel become very important. So, we want to have those presets so that we can come in and start brushing on her. And it will brighten her up, but it will also make sure that if I go past a shadow, like, say an eyebrow or whatever, it's not gonna increase the dark. It's only gonna increase the stuff that we want to increase, which is the highlights and that, right? So, I'm gonna bring this down, bring it down, size. And then watch it's gonna work really well on her little sweater thing here. So, I'm gonna go in and brighten up her sweater, and then probably, I'm at 100 aren't I? Yeah, way too much. But that's okay, it'll give us an opportunity to fix some things. So, notice that it is brightening up the highlights, but the shadows aren't getting any brighter. So, now if I take my exposure, and by the way, every time you use a preset, you're gonna get it in the ballpark, and then you can fuss with it a little bit. So, I can take my exposure up now, see that? So, I'm increasing the brightness of that sweater, but the shadows inside the sweater stay down. I didn't have to go in and brighten up the little individual threads, because I want the shadows to stay where they were, and that's part of the smart dodge. Now remember, see how I spilled over? I didn't have to be super accurate on my selection of her sweater, because I can always go into the erase, turn on auto-mask, and then just come in right along that edge and register the sunset, and see how it comes in? Now, you're gonna see a little bit of a... see that edge? That's a problematic edge because it's like how do I get in and deal with that? So, you zoom into it. So that's where you would come in just a little closer, try and do it again, see how it's starting to work a little bit better now? And you just have to do that piece on it's own. And if it's still giving you grief as an Auto-mask, you can turn off the Auto-mask and then just come in and just run along that, like this. And you're just kind of hitting it with the feather of the brush. So, if you look at my brush, there's two circles. The middle circle is where everything's being applied and the outer circle is where nothing's being applied, so the feather is in between the two circles. So, if you just hit the edge of that weirdness with the feather of your brush, it's going to just barely get that at like a 50 percent. And so now, that's all set to go. So, now I can just play with her sweater until I like exactly the way it looks. And if I think that I've gone too far with something, just like we did yesterday, I can hover over this with the option or the alt key, and it turns into this two way arrow. So, I click on it, and then I can drag the whole effect up or down. So, I can just kind of minimize what I've done so that I don't have too bright a sweater there. So, now I've just increased that sweater. And then I can do the same thing and add a whole new layer of dodging, but I can do an enhanced dodge which is not quite as smart. Basically, it's bringing up the exposure and contrast and little bit of clarity, but it's not doing all the shadow stuff. And then I can go in and zoom into her hair, cause we gotta really sell these buns, right? Look at that, so we're gonna sell those. Now, again, I went 100 percent on that which was wrong, so I'm gonna go back down here and take the flow down to about 40, and then I'm gonna do it again. There we go, we're just selling that hair because it's so cute. And we'll just come down to the neck and just brighten her up a little bit. We'll zoom back out. See how now I'm working on the things that need to be brighter, rather than brightening the whole thing up and trying to fuss with stuff in the shadows, and stuff as a global thing, because that's not what I wanna do. I want only her to be just a little bit brighter, right? So, then I'll do one last one where I come in and do a burn. So, I'm just gonna go into my effects and choose a one stop burn. But with this one stop burn, realize when you burn something, you also increase the saturation of that thing. So, as you burn a color it's gonna get a deeper color. And if it's orange, it's gonna get uglier orange. So, what I'm gonna do is I'm also gonna come in and I'm just gonna take the saturation down and the temperature down just a little bit on the orange, cause I'm trying to burn in this right here. I wanna burn in this, so that it doesn't look as flashed. Right, see that? Burning in, burning, burning. And by doing that, I am calling less attention to my flash that I put out there in the desert. And I just want it to look a little bit less like a flash and a little bit more like just light that's coming from the sun, right? So, here's the difference now between what we did and what we are doing now. So, this is without any burns and dodges, and then this is with. So, now your attention is more up on her, not down here on this bright thing that's down here. You can look at the sunset a little bit more, and we could work on this a little bit more. The other thing I like to do is click on here and double-click that and just bring up the exposure and the temperature here out in the desert. And by doing that, see how I'm adding to the light that's out there in the desert? And by doing that, it makes it seem like the light that you see below her feet is actually the light that's coming from the glow of the sun. I'm gonna do a little bit over here, like that. So now, see how it's starting to match there, and I can take the exposure up just a little bit more, and I can take the temperature up just a little. Oh my gosh, look at that. So now, it's starting to look like the sun is the one that was doing all of that lighting instead of my tricky little flash. Which is not a little flash, cause it's a Profoto B1, sitting over there in the desert flashing back at her. But, now it looks like the sun did that and I didn't. To me that's the most important thing, when I'm lighting up something, I want it to look like it was just natural. I don't want it to look like a flash, and so the more I can make this effect happen, the better. But I just don't have a flash big enough to light the whole desert. (laughing) Profoto needs to get on that. (laughing) Like a huge... that's as powerful as the sun. (mimics explosion) Light the whole desert. It'd be an expensive flash. Okay, so anyway, you can see how burning and dodging and using these tools like the brush tool and like the gradient tool are really, really useful in selling the effect that you want on the image that you're working on, right? And then if I have a whole bunch of images, I can simply use that same thing on a whole bunch of those images, and then you might have to tweak here and there, or erase back differently as the model has moved, or something like that. So, one last one that I will work on is this one, because I wanna show you the idea of working on a true landscape image. This one the auto worked pretty well, so we'll click on auto, and there we go, we're done, right? Well, we're not done, because first off we need to crop this thing. So, we're gonna crop it, and I need to get this straight. When you're cropping, you can go over to the outside and there's a little kind of curved arrow, and that allows you to do the cropping. I mean, I'm sorry, the straightening, like that. And then you can, of course, do the cropping like this. And if you wanna lock the aspect ratio so it always stays the same four by six ratio, just click on this little lock over here. Or you can choose an aspect ratio that you want, and you can also enter custom ones. So, the custom aspect ratio is really important cause when I'm doing a Vimeo or a YouTube video cover, I want it to be a 16 by nine aspect ratio, and so I have a 16 by nine already in there and I click on it, and now it's 16 by nine. So I know that if I export this it's gonna perfectly fill a 16 by nine cover for Vimeo or YouTube. And so, let's do this as a video cover. So, I'm just kind of looking. And when I crop, cropping to me is one of the most important things in photography. In fact, if everybody learned how to crop, your images would be 10 times better than they currently are. Most people don't crop very well. Cropping is one of the most important things that you can do. When I look at an image, the first thing I do is I look at the crop. What did they do with the crop? What are they trying to show me, what are they trying to cut off? Because, the crop is what activates the photo, it's what creates the energy, it's what creates the stability, it's what creates the mood of the photograph, is the crop. If you want something to feel vacant and soft, and somber, and calm, then you make sure that the crop is really far away from anything, and then it becomes calm. If you want it to be vibrant and exciting, you actually cut peoples heads off and you twist the crop so that it creates angles. But, it's all about crop. Of course you wanna do your crop in the camera if you can, but if you can't, then this is where you do it. So, crop is incredibly important to me. See how I'm looking at the bottom of the crop and I'm making sure that this line right here comes down and swoops and almost touches the crop, and then becomes parallel with the crop there. That's what I'm looking for, because that's gonna sell the bottom of the photograph. I need to have something holding it all the way across. If I were bad at my crop, I would go all the way down or I would go like this, and then suddenly I would have this sliver happening here, which is gonna be ugly. So, and I know people are thinking wow, that's really specific, but that's an ugly crop. So, I want a good crop, so I'm watching that area right there for my bottom to make sure that I have the proper bottom to my image, cause every image needs something holding it up. So, you need to have something at the bottom so it's an appropriate base. Okay, so I'm gonna have the appropriate base down there. And then, at that point, I'm gonna start looking at the edges, over here and here don't matter all that much because there's not anything interesting or specific over on these sides. So, now the only thing I'm worried about here is the top. Do I go up a little bit, do I go down a little bit? I don't want this little extra blue thing sticking into the photo, because it'll call your attention to it. So, I'm bringing down the crop until that's gone. So, now I just have to look at my clouds and decide, where do I want that structure right there? So, where do I want that actual piece? I'm gonna put it over as far as I can to the right, so that it's kind of on the appropriate third mark. So, you can see how the most important things are down here on this third and over on this third, and that puts that in a nice area. Plus, I get the added advantage of seeing that cloud puff close to that crop, close to this crop, so it's kind of a nice look. I think I'm gonna bring it over just a little bit more so I can get a little bit more of this shape coming in, and then I'm going to close the crop. So, there we go, that's my crop. Now, I wanna show you one other thing inside of there. If you want to have an angle, and you're just not sure that you're getting it right, if you click on this little angle tool, then you can draw your horizon line. So, you can just grab here and then draw where your horizon line should be. So, you can follow various items in there to make sure that you've got the right horizon line, and then let go and it just straightens to that horizon's line, so you have the absolute best option for... So you know, that's my horizon, I'm straight to the horizon. Okay, so now once we're done with that, I'm gonna hit close, I've got that, that's my crop. Then I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna do a gradient on the sky, pull the sky down. And remember, I just made a gradient, but I didn't even choose what my effect was gonna be. I'll come over and do the effect later. Just double-click the effect, and now I'm gonna do what I like to call a blue sky burn. So, I'm gonna go into here, and I'm just gonna go into my gels and filters area and hit a blue sky burn, and you see what just happened? Now, that was too much, but that's okay. Because all I wanna do now is just double-click the exposure part and now look at the difference between before and after. See how it keeps it nice and blue, and it adds some puffiness to the clouds. Those effects that you want to set up can be kind of over the top and then all you have to do is remove the pieces that you don't need in that particular time. So, this blue sky burn is perfect for an empty sky that has like one cloud in it, and it'll darken it up. But if you don't need the exposure, you just come in and double-click the exposure and it zeros that part out but everything else stays. And then you can come in and tweak the blueness to your liking, and then you're all set. So, now it makes that look a lot better. And then I'm gonna take another. So I'm gonna click new again, and I'm gonna come up this time, double-click this, and I'm just gonna bring the exposure down a little bit, and grab here and go up like this. Now, that's too much, but that's okay. Again, what we're doing is we're setting a gradient and then we wanna watch it happen. So, we're just gonna come in and just kinda play with that gradient and try and get... I just want that to be a little bit richer down here. And notice that this is already fairly rich, so I'm gonna spin it this way a little bit so that it doesn't even touch over here and it's just affecting right here in this corner to bring that corner in, yeah? Jared, why is it every time it goes to custom when you adjust? Because if I'm clicking on a assigned preset, it's telling me, you're on this preset, you're using this preset. As soon as I slide it, it's saying you have just customized that preset. So, if you adjust any preset that you already had, then it's a new... basically it's different. It becomes custom. Now, and that tells you I'm not on a preset, but if I wanna keep that one as a preset as a new one, I would just simply click on custom, and then I would go down to the bottom of that set of presets and I would say save as a new preset, and then I could have a brand new one. But, notice that I've got all these named so that I can see them in the right order. And that's important, because otherwise, you wouldn't be able to find them. So this one, if you look here, I've got burns and dodges, then I've got gels and filters, then I've got repairs, I've got fill flash, I've got hair and makeup, I've got effects down here, and I've got these, they do nothing. So, if I click on this, it'll just do nothing. It's just a divider. I made a preset that does nothing in order to have a divider.

Class Description

“What an excellent class. I'm a semi-beginner, already know the basics, but wow ... this class adds an extra layer of super AHA moments that shave years off your life! What a great teacher, thank you so much Jared!” – Elaine
Get your photos out of your camera and into the world by using Adobe Lightroom® CC. Organize, enhance and publish your photos all in one place by creating a workflow that fits your lifestyle. Veteran instructor Jared Platt will get you started in this amazing program. You’ll learn how to: 
  • Import and organize your images
  • Develop and retouch your images 
  • Create a workflow that works for you 
  • Publish your images and create prints or books
Adobe Lightroom® was designed to make your post-production process efficient and help you achieve consistently professional results. This class will be your quick start into this program.

Never opened this program before and want to make sure you have the basics covered first?  Check out Adobe Lightroom® CC Crash Course for a quick primer and learn Lightroom® CC in 60 minutes.

Software Used: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.4 - 2015.8


Kat Jones

Well, I've been a Photoshop girl since the beginning and have dabbled with LR and thought I knew quite a bit about it!! It turns out I've just been playing with bits of it! This is an amazing course. I will need to buy it for all the tricky bits that I just haven't quite grasped. Jared is amazing. Clear, concise, methodical, smashing. Thank you, Creative Live. What a service! Cat Jones Wormit Fife Scotland PS - Delightful to see Jared's Scottish piccies - very familiar, although not with the model!!!


What an excellent class. I'm a semi-beginner, already know the basics, but wow ... this class adds an extra layer of super AHA moments that shave years off your life! What a great teacher, thank you so much Jared!

Jo Wilkens

Really amazing class. Incredibly informative. Mr. Platt is incredibly accessible and easy to understand. The course is thorough and I can't begin to tell you how helpful this class has been!!!! I fumbled around in LR but couldn't get half of it to do what I wanted, thought it should be able to do, and thought it probably did do (to live up to all the accolades I hear from other photographers).... I'm so happy I'm just about in tears to see what I'm going to be able to do going forward. Thank you, thank you, thank you!