Many photographic and Giclee prints need to be selectively
lightened or darkened - a task commonly known in the darkroom as
dodging and burning (lightening and darkening respectively). Photoshop
comes with a dodge and a burn tool, but we rarely use them. They
require a "bit" or content layer, such as the background,
to work on and we don't ever like to touch the background layer.
We also prefer a technique that is much more subtle and controllable
than the dodge and burn tools.
Our strategy is to create a dodge and burn layer and to make all
our such corrections to that layer. Here's how, step by step:
a new "bit" layer (Cmd/Cntrl-Shift-N) this layer must
remain the top layer in your file
that layer with 50% Gray by selecting Edit->Fill and choose
50% Gray from the "Use"
drop down menu
back to your new layer and change it's blending mode to "Soft
Light" (look for the drop down menu in the upper left corner
of the layers palette)
darken the image, make your foreground color black, select the
paintbrush tool with a soft edge and lower the opacity of the
brush to somewhere around 10% (you will have to adjust this
amount depending on your needs) - as you paint over the image
with the black paintbrush, the image will become darker
lighten the image, duplicate the previous step with a white
You can now paint back and forth with a black and
white paintbrush set to different opacities to lighten and darken
your images with great control and subtlety. And you are not doing
anything permanent to the underlying content in the background layer,
so it's all completely reversible.