For more precaution, I always use of a secondary layer for my works. For example, use of a layer for stamping (sample all layers) or brushing, so that I can simply edit or remove that layer. I also need to perform like this for dodge, burn and etc.

2 Answers 2


For non-destructive dodging and burning there are two main options.

1. Soft Light Layer

Create a new Layer set to Soft Light and fill with 50% Gray. Now Black will do Burning and White will do Dodging.

You can also do an empty layer set to Soft Light AND set the Brush to Soft Light. The result will be slightly different from the 50% Gray Layer but there are benefits in the way of clipping masks.

2. Curves Adjustments

This is the preferred way to go. Create a Curves Adjustment Layer and pull the midpoint of the RGB Composite curve up. Then invert the layer mask. This is your Dodge Layer.

Now do the same thing but pulling the Midpoint down. This is your Burn Layer.

Use a white brush to paint in the layer mask.

  1. Create a curves adjustment layer brighten up the layer to the maximum wanted
  2. Fill the curves layer mask in black
  3. Paint with a white brush on the mask in the wanted areas
    Reduce the brush opacity for more control. Use a black brush to "undo" your mistakes on the mask.

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