‘Local adjustments’ is a bit of a catch-all term. It means picking out an area of an image for adjustment while leaving the rest unchanged. So how do local adjustments work and which software does them best?
Dodging and burning and why it's still needed
Dodging and burning is an old black and white technique for darkening or lightening different areas of a print while it's being developed. For many photographers this was and is an essential part of the black and white process Capturing the image in the camera is the mechanical stage of the operation, and manipulation in the darkroom is the creative stage.
Dodging and burning is a creative process that's just as relevant now that we process images digitally as it was when it was done with chemicals. It's all about enhancing the tones, the composition and the balance of a picture to create a visually satisfying image.
Dodging and burning isn't restricted to black and white, and many colour images benefit from selective lightening and darkening too – though black and white seems to withstand heavy manipulation much better.
There are many different ways to apply dodging and burning. In Photoshop you might use selections and adjustment layers or the Dodge and Burn tools. In Lightroom you might use the Adjustment Brush, while Viveza (Nik Collection) uses intuitive control points.
Silver Efex Pro is one of the best-known plug ins in the Nik Collection and widely regarded as the premier tools for fans of black and white photography. There are lots of really good ways to create black and white images in all sorts of software, but even now Silver Efex Pro has a magic […]
I met my donkey friend while I was out testing a Leica M10 Monochrom and 28mm f/2 Summicron lens. For those who don’t know, this is a rangefinder camera with manual focusing, so getting my friend’s eye sharp was a special challenge as he was getting restless because I didn’t have any carrots. The Leica […]
What is the mood you’re trying to capture? For his image of an Elizabethan country house, I wanted and sombre and forbidding look, and this required black and white, some dodging and burning and subtle toning.
Back in the days of film, a ‘straight’ black and white print was only a stepping stone. A properly finished print was almost always enhanced with some skilled ‘dodging and burning’. Dodging and burning is a classic technique in black and white, where certain areas of a print are held back (dodged) under the enlarger […]
Maybe you wouldn’t normally think of Capture One Pro as an image-editor. It’s a superb RAW converter and general image enhancement tool, but most of the time you’d probably swap to a plug-in or an external editor for really detailed effects work – especially any that required localised adjustments. But I’ve been spending some time with Capture One […]
Viveza 2 is part of the DxO Nik Collection, and I think it’s in danger of being overlooked in favour of the newer, flashier or more versatile plug-ins in the collection. Viveza 2 is designed to offer localised adjustments for your digital image using the ‘control point’ technology now found throughout the Nik Collection. Viveza […]
Dodging and burning was a standard darkroom technique for black and white photographers, but it works just as well on colour shots. ‘Dodging’ is where you lighten selected areas of the image and ‘burning’ is where you darken them. With the Lightroom adjustment brush tool this is really easy to do, and you can control […]
The Soft Contrast slider is one of the new features introduced in Silver Efex Pro 2, and its effects are quite different to the regular Contrast control. At first it can seem quite difficult to work out a use for it, but you’ll soon discover when you start digging around in the presets that it […]
Black and white photography relies heavily on dodging and burning to add emphasis to certain parts of the image, to balance or contrast areas of tone, and improve the overall composition – and Silver Efex Pro’s control points let you do this in moments, without masks or selections. You don’t always need them. Silver Efex […]