question on dodging and burning

Panhu

TPF Noob!
Joined
Mar 18, 2017
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hi,

I've been reading about dodging and burning and found it difficult to understand;

"dodging decreases the exposure for areas of the print that the photographer wishes to be lighter, while burning increases the exposure to areas of the print that should be darker."

If the exposure is decreased, shouldn't it make the area darker instead of lighter? On the same note, shouldn't increasing exposure make the area lighter?

could anyone explain this to a newbie who never used a film camera before?

Thanks
Panhu
 

Ysarex

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 27, 2011
Messages
6,777
Reaction score
3,301
Location
St. Louis
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hi,

I've been reading about dodging and burning and found it difficult to understand;

"dodging decreases the exposure for areas of the print that the photographer wishes to be lighter, while burning increases the exposure to areas of the print that should be darker."

If the exposure is decreased, shouldn't it make the area darker instead of lighter? On the same note, shouldn't increasing exposure make the area lighter?

could anyone explain this to a newbie who never used a film camera before?

Thanks
Panhu

In the darkroom when your making a print exposure works in reverse to how it works in the camera. No exposure leaves you with a white print and if you take the printing paper out of the darkroom and wave it around in the light you get a black print.

Joe
 

Gary A.

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
22,357
Reaction score
7,540
Location
Southern California
Website
www.garyayala.com
Dodging and Burning are term adopted from the wet darkroom. Printing a photo from a 'Negative' is the reverse of capturing a positive image.

With a Black & White negative film, the more light hitting the film will build up the chemical reaction. Therefore the area of high light capture on the film will have a denser buildup of chemicals while an area of low light capture will have less chemical buildup. When the negative is in an enlarger ready to create a photograph on 'white' paper the process is reversed. The light from the enlarger shines through the negative onto the paper and the areas of the negative with greater density/chemical buildup will hold back more light than an area with less density/chemicals buildup. The light sensitive white paper will turn dark and darker being exposed to light while the areas of the negative with more chemical buildup will project less light onto the white paper making those areas gray and lighter gray.

So in a wet darkroom while making a print, you would stick an opaque object, like a hand or thumb between the enlarger light/lens and paper, casting a shadow on the paper and reducing the amount of light hitting the paper, thus making the area of the shadow/dodge lighter.

Burning is the opposite. As opposed to reducing light in a certain area, you add light to a certain area to make it darker. Most wet darkroom operators will use their hands to burn as a hand is always closeby. After the paper takes an initial exposure from the enlarger, the operator will make a second exposure adding more light to the paper. But this time the operator will typically cup their hands together leaving a hole in the middle and moving the hands/hole to where the extra light needs to be added. Thereby adding more light to a particular area via the hole, while blocking light with the hands.

In essence, the terms dodging and burning as used in what you are reading, are referring to the wet darkroom and negative printing, (where more light = dark and less light = light), as opposed to the camera and positive image capture (where more light = light and less light = dark).
 
Last edited:

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,916
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Try this. Take a photo into your editing app, and darken it toi Minus 4.0 EV. Then, take the dodge tool, ser the opactity to 90% and then set the Dodge tool to a positive value of +1.25 EV. Dodge some areas in the image to a +1.25 EV setting. Do that three times, and see how it looks. Each use of the Dodge tool will successively lighten up the image, until the point that you have dodged (brightened) the image close to the original brightness, before you applied the Minus 4.0 EV darkening to begin.
 

fmw

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
3,694
Reaction score
493
Website
www.foodieforums.com
Hi,

I've been reading about dodging and burning and found it difficult to understand;

"dodging decreases the exposure for areas of the print that the photographer wishes to be lighter, while burning increases the exposure to areas of the print that should be darker."

If the exposure is decreased, shouldn't it make the area darker instead of lighter? On the same note, shouldn't increasing exposure make the area lighter?

could anyone explain this to a newbie who never used a film camera before?

Thanks
Panhu

These are techniques used to change brightness level of a portion of an image rather than the whole image.
 

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,916
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
fmw said:
These are techniques used to change brightness level of a portion of an image rather than the whole image.

HERE is a PERFECT example of how the dodge tool can be used to brighten small, selected areas, to create a vastly more appealing final portrait image. One of the best short how-to articles I've read in the past few years! This can be done in Photoshop or in Lightroom.

A Makeup Tip I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started Photography | Fstoppers
 

fmw

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
3,694
Reaction score
493
Website
www.foodieforums.com
I was fortunate to attend one of Ansel Adams' workshops back in the 1960's. His images are all dodged and burned without exception. He made an art of it. He could take a bright daylight image and make it into a dark moody image with his techniques. I watched, I learned and I was never able to reproduce what he did. He had definitely mastered the darkroom.
 

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,916
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
On my TPF profile page, I have a small section under PHOTOS, which shows how to use the dodge too to selectively lighten up small areas, as well as how to darken the entire frame by Minus 3.0 to Minus 4.0 EV, to a near-black image, and to then "dodge back the lightness", in two to three steps, each at about a + 1.25 EV brightening-up step. Three steps at + 1.25 EV will bring an almost-black image "up", and you can do this in steps, using the mouse and a Lightroom Adjustment Bruish and the Dodge option for it.

Derrel TPF Profile PHOTOS page.jpg


You can see eye-dodge, forehead dodging, eyebrow dodging, bridge-of-the-nose dodging, hair highlight dodging, and so on. This gallery was the very first time I had ever done this. As you can see, these images were darkened using the EXPOSURE MINUS TOOL, to Minus 4.0 EV, and then, the people were selectively dodged on key areas, like their foreheads, eye brow line, cheeks, chin, and so on, using a fairly small-diameter brush tool and then, they were, overall, Dodged Back To Lightness, in three steps of + 1.25 EV, just using the mouse. This created a modulated type of light. Small-area dodging, and then large-area, heavy dodging.

By beginning with a Minus 4.0 EV Darkening of the entire frame, the Dodge tool was used to "paint light back onto" the people to create a type of lightiung effect that looks a bit more painterly rthan just plain, straight umbrella-box flash, which is what ALL of these were lighted with, a single 40-inch Umbrella Box and one flash head at 100 Watt-seconds.
 
OP
P

Panhu

TPF Noob!
Joined
Mar 18, 2017
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Thank you guys for posting replies. Now I understand that more light means more chemical reaction in wet darkroom setting.
 

Most reactions

Top