Dodging and Burning Julia


Recently I did a model shoot with Julia, a native of Ukraine who has just moved to our country. Regular readers will be familiar with the style of “beauty” headshots that I take, with the model looking straight ahead at the camera and soft, flattering light.

Sometimes the lighting is – well – too soft.  Then, in Photoshop, I’ll do some dodging (lightening) and burning (darkening). The terms “dodging and burning” come from the good old days of film and refer to making contrast adjustments to certain areas of a print in the development process in the darkroom.

Look at these too versions of the same image. In the first one, above, I did the dodging and burning. The version below is without those changes. The difference is pretty subtle – you can see it around her eyes and cheeks.


Be sure to click on each image to view it in a LARGER and CLEARER size. The colors are truer in the larger size as well.

The idea is to add a little depth and drama. As with most retouching, a little bit goes a long way. Which of these versions do you like better? I’d love to hear from you!


Here’s another image, with the dodging and burning applied.

My technique for this, which I learned from Scott Kelby of, involves using two curves layers, one greatly darkened and one lightened. Then, with a soft “brush” at low opacity, on fully masked layers, gently adding light to highlight areas and darkening the shadow areas.

Thanks, Julia, for a great shoot!  Here’s one last photograph, the fashion image below, showing Julia’s great smile.

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”



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