In this Dodge & Burn tip, we are going to use a very simple technique to paint with light via a Photoshop blend mode. That's not to be confused with other "Painting with Light" techniques during image capture, some of which I may go into in another series. Although you can "shape the light" as though it were coming from an unseen light source, this example is just going to apply the technique to the dark areas that are a underexposed.
This image was exposed for the windows which left the interior of the room too dark. Here is a simple technique to brighten (Dodge) the dark areas, as well as darken (Burn) the bright areas. Step 1. Duplicate the Background Layer by selecting Control-J on Windows or Command-J on Mac. Step 2. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay (see Fig2). Step 3. Fill the layer with 50% gray by going to Edit and Fill. Select 50% Gray from the drop down box and click OK. Step 4. Select a soft brush and lower the Opacity less than 10%. Step 5. Set your Foreground/Background colors to Black & White by typing Control-D (Command-D on a Mac). Step 6. Make White your foreground color to lighten or switch to Black, by typing X on the keyboard toggle back and forth, to darken an area.
With a low opacity, you can gently "build-up" the effect. Of course, it works even better if you use a pressure sensitive pen and tablet like a Wacom. Here is the final result after just clicking and painting into the Overlay layer (Fig.3). In addition to brushing over most of the interior areas to lighten the room, I concentrated the dodging around the fireplace and chairs. I then switched my foreground color to black and burned in the landscape outside the windows. In the next Dodge & Burn Tip (#4) we'll continue this technique using a couple of additional Blend Modes.