Dodging and burning are localized alterations to a picture that will modify and/or improve areas needing lighter or darker treatments. 

The following picture, Orchid, was taken in front of a sisal screen filtering the sunset light. 

Original Orchid Photograph

Original Orchid Photograph

In the modified picture below, besides straightening and cropping the photograph and enhancing it globally with contrast and exposure changes, then adding a color shift to the selected flower’s center, I applied dodge to the areas of the stem and unopened green pods, and burn to the background, as I wanted to disappear the unwanted elements (white cabinets) from the flower’s surrounding area.

Orchid Photograph, enhanced with Dodge and Burn

Orchid Photograph, enhanced with Dodge and Burn

The result: a more intense color for the flower’s center; the stem at the bottom of the picture and unopened pods (upper left) stand out better against the background, while the background itself has become a neutral space to better showcase the flowers. The petals’ natural white cast is more pronounced than on the original photograph.

This photograph’s overall aspect seems to have greatly improved thanks to the careful application of a series of global and local tweaks.

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