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Common Mistakes

Lesson 11 from: Local Dodging and Burning for Beauty Retouching

Chris Knight

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Lesson Info

11. Common Mistakes

Lesson Info

Common Mistakes

Let's take a look at the what not to do. Alright, so I'm gonna show you a few different variances of this particular image and point out a couple of the problems. These are some practice images I've done with some students before, and I tend to encounter a lot of the same issues over and over again. So, this is where the image started, and, you know, looks great, great skin, generally overall, but we wanna really even out some certain issues, and so when I say alright, I want you to darken the light stuff, and lighten the dark stuff, you can go too far, and remember the blue is burn, and the red is dodge, and so what this particular person has done is darkened everything that was bright, and lost the dimension of the light itself, so you lose a little bit of dimension on the subject. Ideally a smaller brush would have been a lot more effective. And you'll also see that as I mentioned, you know, be careful of the background, because this is a completely clean background, the dodging on ...

the background created a weird kind of halo around the subject. This is what it ended up looking like. Which it's tough to kind of tell, so let's look at it side by side, and the left image is obviously the color image, the right image is gonna be the more exaggerated version so that you can visualize it a little bit better. Flattens it out. You lose the depth. This particular person kinda treated it a little bit more like a global... than a local. So it's more about doing fine tuning, not trying to reshape the image, in this particular step, so use a smaller brush. Here's another one, and this one was a little bit too harsh in certain areas, it wasn't necessarily about using it on the whole face, it was about, oh I see a problem area, (grunts), right, and so they just kinda slathered it on in a couple of the areas that were over exaggerated. We need to make those changes a little bit more gradual. And we need to actually fixate on everything, so heres the before, there's the after. The cheek transition, it's too abrupt, it almost makes it look like a hard edge, here on the cheek, so you wanna be careful about that. Here is another one, and this is an example of having too hard of a brush. Make sure you're using a soft brush, make sure your transitions are soft. If you really pay attention to that chin, it almost looks drawn on with a marker. And you'll see it here. So too hard, too harsh, too hard of a brush, those transitions need to be a little bit softer. Here is before... and after. Before... After. And what ended up happening is that actually because he went too bright on here, it made the jaw look a lot more broad, changed the shape of her face, and it also changed what the chin looks like as well. So you can totally change the shape of someone's face in this process, if you're not careful, so you really have to be careful. And then finally, a better example, and so this is where it started, the changes were a lot more scattered throughout, and a little bit less harsh in the areas that it needed to be. The brushwork was a lot more surgical, and it ended up making the face a lot more pleasing, to be honest. Here's the before... And here's the after. Before... and after. It's like I said, for those of you interested in some practice images, they are available on my website for free: under the download section, just put in your email and I'll send you a link to the downloads if you are so inclined. Other than that, that's gonna be all for me on the local dodging and burning. (Narrator) Awesome, thank you so much Chris, that was fantastic.

Ratings and Reviews

Andreas Böhrnsen

Great course on dodging and burning and beauty retouching in general. Think he went through all the steps very thoroughly. Well explained and overall a good course. Would highly recommend it to anyone into portrait and beauty photography.

Bjorn Carlen

A highly recommended class! Chris Knight is super efficient and tremendously clear an instructor. He manages to sqeeze so much useful information and tips into this hour, that I have to go back and revisit several times before i get it all. That may say something anout me myself, but I think also about the efficiency of the instructor. Very good!


I have viewed many Creative Live classes and rank this one among the best. Chris very effectively organized his class to impart knowledge. He Starts with an overview and summary level walk thru of the process and then goes into details and does an actual retouch. He concludes with a lesson on what can go wrong and provides practice images. I highly recommend this class to anyone seeking to learn Dodge and Burn. Thank-you Chris for a great educational experience!

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