There’s no escape…It all starts ‘in camera’

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: February 4, 2011

Category: General

Following on from Wednesday’s post I thought I’d finish off the week by going through just a couple more images from the same photo shoot; however the difference being that as these aren’t composite images there’s fewer steps involved in the editing…

Again, the idea here is to show by the use of ‘before’ and ‘after’ images the importance of getting the shot ‘in camera’ and also give you more of an idea as to how and why I use Photoshop the way I do; i.e primarily to enhance what is already present in the original RAW file.

Talking of Photoshop the majority of the editing time in these images and others in the same series was spent ‘dodging’ and ‘burning’ and it’s the technique I use to do this that I wanted to mention in this post.

The Lighting Set Up
First of all though a quick look at the lighting set up for the photograph at the top of this post…

Could not have been simpler; a single light source in the form of a gridded Beauty Dish above aimed down towards our subject. Using a light and aiming it down at an angle on a muscular physique in this way adds shadows into the areas between the muscle groups consequently giving them more depth/fullness.

Dodging and Burning
Quite simply all I’m looking to do here is to enhance the highlights, midtones and shadows in the image to a point where I’m creating more shape, structure and depth. However, despite the whole concept of dodging and burning being a very simple one, it’s certainly not a process that I rush. There’s definitely a fine line between the right amount and doing too much so for me it works best to do a little bit, then close the image and walk away. I’ll then re-open the image a short while later and look at it with fresh eyes, seeing straight away whether more needs to be done or not.

  • Step 1: Add a blank layer, fill it with 50% grey, change the blend mode to ‘Soft Light’ and then rename the layer ‘Dodge’
  • Step 2: Add another blank layer, fill it with 50% grey, change the blend mode to ‘Overlay’ and then rename the layer ‘Burn’

In an earlier post I included a complete walk through of this technique plus another for ‘super fast’ dodging and burning and you can find them both here [Link]

Looking at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ comparison below you can see the result that the dodge/burn has ; in particular on our subjects abdominals, middle and upper chest and face, and to complete the image not much more was done other than adding a little more skin contrast, brightening the eyes and desaturating the skin colour…

The same goes for the image below with the only difference being that I used a technique to add more texture and detail to the skin. This technique I’ll be covering in the video series that I’m putting together and will upload to the blog in the very near future.

Again here in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots you can see that the editing has only been used to enhance what was already in the original image i.e highlights, shadows and mid tones…

So that’s all there was to it; in the scheme of things not that much editing required but as we’ve already discussed here and on Wednesday’s blog this is largely down to getting it right ‘in camera’ first of all.

Next week amongst other shoots, walk throughs etc… I’ll finally have my review of the new Pocket Wizard Mini and Flex units for Nikon to post, so in the mean time have a great weekend and I’ll catch you Monday.
Enjoy 🙂

Keep up with Glyn ‘Day to Day’ on Twitter
Get more ‘Behind the Scenes’ by becoming a ‘Fan on Facebook’

You may also like…

Interviewed by Ron Clifford
Interviewed by Ron Clifford

A few weeks back I was invited onto Ron Clifford YouTube LIVE Channel to speak with him about all things photography....


  1. Tim Skipper


    You and I are alike in one way, most of my images are not very different after editing than they are prior to. In fact a good majority of mine the only thing I do is clean the skin and dodge and burn. Though thanks to you and Cowart I’ve started playing around with more textures in my photos than I did before. I’ve even done a composite back ground or two. I swear your such a bad influence 😉

    • Glyn

      @Tim…Moi…a bad influence? lol 🙂

  2. Pedro Vasconcellos

    Here enters a lot of personal feeling, but I love the firs image, and not so much the second one…

    To me his skin looks a bit too pale, it’s probably what you were going for, but it’s just not my style…

    However in the first one the pale dark look went together really well with the noir mood the only light gave.


    • Glyn

      @Pedro…Cheers mate and yeah I totally accept your own feelings on the images; like you say it’s all about personal feeling.
      Thanks for commenting buddy 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *