Book Review: Dodge & Burn: Leading the eye with Lightroom and Photoshop

Book Review by Natalie Field

Dodge & Burn: Leading the eye with Lightroom and Photoshop, By Piet van den Eynde. Published by Craft & Vision

This book comes in to two packages, light (which only includes the e-book) and full (the e-book with
the addition of a DVD with all the work files for the exercises). I was fortunate to work through the
latter; using the exercise files to test the various techniques discussed and was rewarded with a host
of new concepts and skills. The exercises in this publication are however geared towards the latest
software versions of Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4, but don’t be deterred as the author
provides links to trial versions for those who are yet to purchase or upgrade.

Dodging and burning provides the photographer with an opportunity to correct lighting conditions
that may not have been optimal at the shooting stage by lightening and darkening parts of an image
in post-production. Besides the capability to create a more balanced and visually pleasing image,
the author sites a second and more profound reason for using this technique: the ability to lead the
viewer’s eye through the image and so use it as a tool for communication.

This technique has developed from the analogue days during which photographer turned artist
would use cut-outs to control the amount of light that would fall onto, and thus expose, the
photographic paper. Today we are blessed with a range of software and plug-ins to achieve this
with greater control. Van den Eynde discusses these various programs and uses a pyramidal chart
to indicate the order in which they should be used for optimum quality while expending minimum
time and effort. This said, the choice of technique would also be influenced by the photograph being
enhanced and whether it is a single image or part of a series.

Before breaking into detailed explanations the author starts of with simple diagrams to explain
basic concepts around global and local adjustments. Working in Lightroom he discusses the Basic
Adjustments Panel, Tone Curves, the HSL/Colour/B&W Panel and Post Crop Vignetting for global
adjustments and how these could be synced with other images taken as part of a series. He also
looks at HSL, graduated filters (simulating the effects of graduated filters used on the lens in the
shooting stage) and the adjustment brush (similar to the graduated filter except that the effect
is painted on) for localised dodging and burning. Similar techniques using Camera RAW are also

A large portion of the book is used to demonstrate case studies, and the Van Den Eynde uses case 5:
The Cogwheelmonger to illustrate how the various techniques discussed for Lightroom can be used
in combination to great effect.

The section on Lightroom and Camera RAW is followed by examples of various plug-ins and the
technical developments that set them apart, like Nik Software’s Viveza’s U Point technology and
the use of their Silver Efex Pro to convert colour images to black and white. Lastly, the author looks
at how special cases can be further enhanced by bringing the photograph into Photoshop to apply finishing touches.

I would recommend this book for the ability to work step by step with the author on enhancing
images and see for yourself the results while familiarising yourself with the various softwares
and techniques. The exercises are simply set out and easy to follow. Even though I am sure that
photographers of all levels will be able to work their way through this publication, some of the skills
taught are advanced, making it a great read for the professional photographer.