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  1. #1
    pierods's Avatar
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    lighting vs Dodging and burning

    Every portrait book I read only mentions lighting as a factor in portraits.

    But it is very evident that every major photographer dodged and burned his photos.

    So which one am I supposed to do? Just lighting? Just D&B? Both?

    Or maybe D&B is "old" and modern portraits are mostly fill-flashed, being them in color?

  2. #2
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    I think you'll figure it out by dropping the "supposed to do" part of your thinking and experimenting. There's more than one way to do things, as you've figured out, and both lead to valid results with varying characteristics.

    That said, time spent controlling the lighting will help you have better tones than dodging and burning. Under-exposed and over-exposed areas (depending on the film, dev, paper, etc) tend to have compressed tones that will not look as "natural" when adjusted by D&B than properly exposed areas.

    On the other hand, if you like the look of D&B areas, then by all means go for them.

    Anyway, most photos can use some D&B to adjust more finely the tones.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Pretty much every portrait photographer also retouched. Lighting; choices of lens, aperture, and format; dodging, burning, bleaching and other darkroom methods; and retouching are all tools in the bag. Use what you need to get the effects you want.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  4. #4
    climbabout's Avatar
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    lighting vs dodging and burning

    I can say without question, the best thing to do is control your lighting and make adjustments BEFORE your film is exposed. Darkroom magic and computer manipulation are great tools, but it is extremely difficult to overcome bad lighting. I was a portrait and wedding photographer for many years, but I became much better at making good, well lit negatives once I started doing tabletop product photgraphy on chrome film which is completely unforgiving to exposure and lighting deficiencies. Get it right on the negative, and your darkroom and post production work(which may or may not include photoshop corrections) will will become vastly easier.
    Tim

  5. #5
    pierods's Avatar
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    I agree with all of the above.

    But if D&B is a tool in the arsenal, why I have not found a single book about D&Bing a portrait?

    As an example, let's say that most of the portrait books agree that a single light on one side of the face gives a certain dramatic effect bla bla bla.

    None (that I have found) says that, for example, dodging an "aurea" around a portrait is a powerful technique.

    Why?

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Well, it's generally a technique used to enhance the lighting that's already there or to correct something, so it's not as if there is some standardized set of dodging and burning routines for portraits. It's something that most photographers do intuitively. I don't think it's a topic worthy of a book.

    There are more standard retouching techniques like softening facial lines on the neg, spotting out extra catchlights on the print, toning down overly bright highlights, cleaning up the whites of the eyes with local bleaching, and such, because these address more specific issues in formal portraiture than dodging and burning.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7
    pierods's Avatar
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    Ok I got you.

  8. #8
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Basically you want to get as good a negative as you possibly can so that you can accomplish your vision with less work over the easel.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  9. #9
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Walrath View Post
    Basically you want to get as good a negative as you possibly can so that you can accomplish your vision with less work over the easel.
    ******
    What Chris said.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  10. #10

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    When you are working with artificial light there should be virtually no need for dodging, burning or computer retouching related to lighting issues. If you require any of those then you need to spend a little more time on lighting or on learning how to light.

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