How to Dodge and Burn Darker Skin Tones

How to Dodge and Burn Darker Skin Tones

In today’s video tutorial by Kayleigh June, you will learn how to dodge and burn subjects with darker skin tones. It’s important to note the differences between working with fair skin tones vs darker ones, as typically you will use dodging more than burning for fair skin when it comes to more fine-detailed local corrections.

However, this is where most retouchers make a mistake in reverse, as too much dodging will lift several shades of the model’s genuine skin tone when it is naturally darker. The solution then is to lean more heavily on burning for making your corrections, to keep this aspect intact.

It is advisable to clean up more noticeable issues on the skin prior to dodging and burning, particularly for texture concerns. Working on a New Blank Layer and cloning or healing, you can address these issues before you begin to buckle down for dodging and burning. As this step often requires some dialing in (such as lowering the opacity of the Dodge or Burn layer), it is best to ensure that this won’t cause issues with your workflow as you move onto other steps such as color grading and possibly shape-manipulation.