DODGE & BURN: The Secret Weapon for Epic Travel & Landscape Photos (VIDEO)

According the instructor Neil Borg, "Dodge and Burn is the secret weapon for sculpting light and adding drama to the photos you capture outdoors"—just like it was in the darkroom for the iconic masters of landscape photography during the heyday of film.

Borg is a self-taught pro, specializing in travel and landscape photography, and in this video he demonstrates a step-by-step process of dodging and burning in Lightroom in a way that makes the task simple for photographers of all skill levels. So pull up a chair because eight minutes is all you need to learn how it's done.

The first step is to carefully evaluate the image at hand and decide which portions of the scene need modification for better tonal balance throughout the frame, and Borg has some solid advice for making that determination. It's all about understanding what areas need to be lightened and/or darkened to achieve a more compelling photo.

Borg's sample image has a few problems. The foreground is rather flat, and the bright sky is equally unimpressive. As a result, the photo lacks a singular focal point to guide a viewer's eye through the frame.

Borg's goal is simple: "We need to use dodge and burn in order to create a more interesting image that leads us directly towards our subject." He begins with a few basic adjustment to improve the shot as much as possible for what follows. Borg slightly increases exposure to enhance details in the shadows, while dropping highlights to accentuate details in the sky.

Other global adjustments include opening up the shadows and slightly boosting Clarity for greater contrast between the light and dark portions of the frame. Now it's time for a few local adjustments to specific areas of the shot. These include a Linear Gradient over the sky that he uses to enhance drama and impact.

The image now looks better and is prepared for the real meat of the tutorial; namely, straightforward dodging and burning that transforms Borg's bland shot into a really special image. He begins with the burn before turning his attention to dodging and walks you through every step of the easy-to-follow process.

If you've avoided this technique in the past because you thought it was too complicated, this impressive transformation will definitely change your mind. So take a look and then add dodging and burning to your Lightroom workflow.

There's much more to learn on Borg's instructional YouTube channel, so be sure to pay a visit when you have time. We also suggest watching an eye-opening tutorial we posted with another pro, explaining how to step outside your comfort zone by shooting high-key outdoor photographs that stand out from the crowd.