What does “Dodging” and “Burning” even mean when referring to the post-processing of your images? Both are terms used in the old days before digital Photography. What was once a delicate process, can now be done simply and easily in Lightroom or Photoshop. In today’s digital world, dodging means lightening pixels while burning means darkening pixels. Dodging and burning not only adds contrast to your images, but it can take your images from flat to compelling. Still wondering if this technique is for you? Just scroll on down to find a simple, quick tutorial on how to dodge and burn in Lightroom and Photoshop.


how to dodge and burn in lightroom and photoshop


Today’s tutorial comes from Laura Ludwig, of Laura Lynn Photography. In this quick tutorial, Laura shows us how to dodge and burn in Lightroom and Photoshop. I really love this technique, because it is a great way to really bring out features for your clients, and to help things pop!




  • You will be using your Adjustment Brush and go to Burn (darken)
  • Whenever you are burning, you want to play around where the shadows already are
  • You can go over to the Adjustment Panel and make it a little less drastic or really drastic
  • Pro Tip: Nice subtle adjustments make any photo look great!
  • When you are contouring, you are trying to get the features to pop a little more
  • Use a New Brush to burn whenever you need a different look
  • For the highlights, you will want to go to Dodge (lighten)
  • You will want to dodge wherever the highlights are naturally hitting
  • Adjust as needed


  • The first thing you want to do is to duplicate your background
  • On your Tool Bar, you can right click and see options for Dodge & Burn
  • Remember, when you are burning, you wan to go where the shadows already are
  • And when you are dodging, you will want to dodge where the highlights naturally are
Comment below if you found this tutorial helpful. Have you ever tried to use the Dodge & Burn tools in Lightroom or Photoshop? Did you like the outcome?


Laura Ludwig is a Lifestyle Family Photography servicing the Joshua Tree, California and surrounding areas. Her focus is on capturing the emotional connection between those who step in from of her lens, and providing exceptional customer service and heirloom quality products.








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