Beginner Cat Photo Skills

A Black Cat Study with Dodge and Burn

Today I am showcasing a black cat study with dodge and burn and also trying a different ‘compliance’ plugin as this may help with reader’s commenting issues. (The compliance indicator should appear on the side of this post). This short post emphasises how a gentle touch works much better than relying on something like A.I.

For a full How-To of Dodge & Burn check my post here.

Black Cat Portrait of Taz

Tax Portrait – ISO 200 200 mm f8 1/30
Black cat in profile
Taz – RAW Image Unadjusted

This portrait is one I really love. You have met our neighbour Taz before and I could not resist adding this picture as it shows the magical effects of a little bit of dodging and burning.

Why use this and not the clever AI (Artificial Intelligence) in my Photoshop Camera app? In a word subtlety. Using light strokes you can highlight and darken with a delicate touch. You can adjust the effects of the tool from feather lightness to sledgehammer heaviness depending on the effect you need.

If you spend a moment or two looking at the lower photo you will see has an unfinished look. It is a bit lacking in sharpness and with overexposed fur. To top it all the background looks too light. I love this photo so I took some time to adjust it so he looks perfect.

Look in these adjusted areas:

  • The background has been darkened just a bit so it compliments his eyes.
  • The fur highlights have been ‘burned’ so the portrait has more depth to it. The light areas look a bit smaller.
  • A touch of sharpening was added when the portrait was still in it’s RAW state. You might have a sharpener that does the job, just use a light touch.

I hope you give dodging and burning a try sometime, I know it made a difference to one black cat’s portrait.

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19 thoughts on “A Black Cat Study with Dodge and Burn”

  1. First, Taz is gorgeous! A perfect kitty model! I do love the dodge and burn, but I do not use it enough. Seeing this photo, I will definitely have to experiment more with it. As always, wonderful shutterbug tips! Pinning to share!

    Reply
  2. I started trying this after reading about them in another post, and most of the time, I can’t get it to look right. I guess I should do more experimenting. It’s so important with Ellie because if you can see her eyes clearly, she looks like a black blob!

    Reply
  3. I don’t think I’ve ever heard those terms before; Dodge and Burn. I do spend a lot of time editing my photos though. I really love these pics of Taz, he’s so sleek & gorgeous. I love the first one where you’ve darkened the background, it has great depth. Beautiful!

    Reply
  4. Truly lovely! You are an absolute master! I hope at some point I’ve got 10% of your abilities. I am practicing. Thank goodness Henry is so patient. I’m sharing will all my pet parents.

    Reply
  5. I don’t seem to have that kind of tool in Gimp.where I do my photoediting. ( I can see the images better…). Though it may be there, I would have to use the trial and error way to figure out how to use it. Your explanation seems so simple though! I don’t see it in my camera app though??

    That IS a lovely portrait of Taz!

    Reply
  6. I don’t seem to have that kind of tool in Gimp.where I do my photoediting. ( I can see the images better…). Though it may be there, I would have to use the trial and error way to figure out how to use it. Your explanation seems so simple though! I don’t see it in my camera app though??

    That IS a lovely portrait of Taz!

    Reply
  7. Skillfully done, Marjorie! A lovely end result achieved by just a little bit of love and attention.
    ERin

    Reply
  8. Taz looks absolutely wonderful! I always have to stop and think what dodge does and what burn does, but I confuse easily!

    Reply

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