1. Create the Dodge and Burn Layer
With your Photoshop document open, go ahead and create a new layer by going Layer>New>Layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N). Next, go Edit>Fill and choose “50% Gray” from the drop down menu and hit OK. I will now name this layer “Dodge-Burn” just to keep track of it in larger Photoshop documents.
2. Soft Light Helps
Dodging makes the area lighter and Burning-you guessed it-makes the area a bit darker. We want to dodge and burn on this 50% gray layer and make all the gray drop away and just leave the brightness adjustment. Set this new layer to the blend mode “Soft Light” and grab the Dodge/Burn Tool (O) in the tool area.
When we set this layer to “Soft Light” it drops out all that 50% gray and as we dodge or burn we are simply brightening and darkening the gray on the layer which will show on this “Dodge-Burn” layer.
3. Dodge and Burn Tools
With the Dodge or Burn tool selected, look to the control bar across the top of the screen and set the exposure to 10%. I also like to set the range drop down menu to “Midtones”. Now as I paint with the dodge or burn tool, I am looking to follow and/or accentuate the natural shadows and highlights in the image to add pop and contrast. Dodging and burning allow you to have a great amount of control for selectively adding contrast anywhere in your image.
Check out the video at the top for another bunch of tips and tricks for using these tools and this dodging and burning technique that is quick and easy to start with as you begin dodging and burning like a pro in Photoshop.
Examples: Check out some of my photography work on my personal photography website to see examples of this dodging and burning that I speak of: http://nathanJosephDodson.com