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Two great examples of this are Photoshop's Dodge and Burn tools, both of which are found in the Tools palette.
As useful as the Dodge and Burn tools are, however, they both suffer from a serious problem.
The real reason why we brought up the New Layer dialog box is for the option at the very bottom, Mode. I cover the Overlay blend mode in much more detail in our Five Essential Blend Modes For Photo Editing tutorial, but briefly, the Overlay blend mode is part of the Contrast group of blend modes and is often used to quickly boost the overall contrast in an image. With the blend mode now set to Overlay in the dialog box, you'll see a new option directly below it, Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray). Click inside the checkbox to select the "Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray) option.
I said a moment ago that when a layer is set to the Overlay blend mode, any areas of the layer that are 50% gray become transparent, and if we look at our image in the document window, even though the "Dodge and Burn" layer is filled with solid gray, which would normally mean that our document window is filled with gray, all we see is our original photo.
We're going to lighten and darken different areas of the image simply by painting over them with either black or white. I'm going to begin by lightening the couple, which means I'll need to paint over them with white, which means I need to set my Foreground color to white, since the Brush Tool paints with whatever color the Foreground color is currently set to. The best way to work with this technique is to gradually build up the amount of lightening and darkening that's being applied, since even a subtle amount can sometimes be enough. With your Brush Tool selected, white as your Foreground color and the opacity of your brush lowered, simply paint over any areas in your photo that need to be lightened. I want to brighten the couple in my photo, so I'm going to paint over them with a medium size, soft edge brush. With your Foreground color now set to black, paint over any areas in the photo that need to be darkened. If you accidentally paint over areas you didn't mean to and want to set those areas back to 50% gray, simply click on the Foreground color swatch in the Tools palette, which will bring up Photoshop's Color Picker. Enter a value of 128 for the R, G and B values in the Color Picker to select the 50% gray color.
Click OK to exit out of the Color Picker, then simply paint over those areas in the image to set them back to the original 50% gray. Every layer blend mode we've seen so far in our look at the essential blend modes for photo editing in Photoshop has been about darkening images, lightening images, or both. Our fourth essential blend mode in Photoshop has nothing to do with shadows, highlights or image contrast and everything to do with color.

The Color blend mode is actually a combination of the first two modes in the Composite group, Hue and Saturation. Real World Example of the Color Blend ModeOne of the most popular uses for the Color blend mode is to colorize black and white images. Let's say we want to keep the overall image black and white but to add more interest to the photo, we want to make the roses in the bride's bouquet red. If we were to simply begin painting on this layer with the Brush Tool, we'd be covering up the photo underneath, and that's because the new layer's blend mode is currently set to Normal. Now I'll choose my Brush Tool from the Tools palette, and with red as my Foreground color, I'll zoom in on the roses and begin painting over them.
If we wanted to, we could continue colorizing the rest of the image, but I like the effect of having just the roses in color. It may be hard to believe these days, but there was a time not so long ago when cameras were not digital, and photo developing was done in a lab, not on your computer. This gives us a chance to name the layer, and it also allows us to change a couple of important options.
Any areas on the layer that are lighter than 50% gray (meaning the shade of gray directly between black and white) are used to lighten the image, while areas darker than 50% gray darken the image. Areas we paint over with white will be lightened, while areas we paint over with black will be darkened. If you're following along with your image, press the letter D on your keyboard which resets the Foreground and Background colors to their defaults.
The effect will be subtle at first due to the low brush opacity, but if you need more lightening in certain areas, just paint over them a few times to build up the effect, making sure to release your mouse button in between paint strokes. Again, each time you paint over the same area, you'll increase the amount of darkening that's applied.
We've successfully adjusted the exposure levels in different areas of the photo by manually painting over them with black or white, giving us results very similar to what we could have achieved with Photoshop's Dodge and Burn tools, without touching a single pixel in our original image! That's how to dodge and burn images non-destructively using the Overlay blend mode in Photoshop!
In fact, by no sheer coincidence, it's named the Color blend mode, and if you recall from the first page, it's found in the Composite group of blend modes along with the Hue, Saturation and Luminosity modes. When you change a layer's blend mode to Color, only the color (that is, all of the hues and their saturation values) from the layer is blended in with the layer or layers below it. Of course, this is just one example of how useful the Color blend mode is, and it's certainly not limited to restoring old photos.

Up next is our fifth and final blend mode, the Luminosity blend mode, which is the exact opposite of the Color mode!
Digital cameras and Photoshop may have brought the world of photo editing out of the darkroom and into your living room (or wherever your computer happens to be), but many of Photoshop's tools and features have their roots in traditional film development. The Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop are the digital versions of these techniques and are often used to either lighten underexposed areas of a photo or darken overexposed areas. The best way to work in Photoshop is to keep your original pixel information intact so you always have the original photo to fall back on. If we look in our Layers palette now, we can see that we have a new layer named "Dodge and Burn" sitting above the photo on the Background layer. Make sure you have the Brush Tool selected, then go up to the Options Bar at the top of the screen and lower the Opacity option down to somewhere between 10-20%.
You can change the size of your brush by pressing the left bracket key to make the brush smaller or the right bracket key to make it larger. The Screen blend mode ignores black areas and makes everything else lighter, while the Overlay blend mode ignores areas that are 50% gray and makes dark areas darker and light areas lighter, improving image contrast. Simply add a new blank layer above your image and set the blend mode of the layer to Color. You'll want to use a soft edge brush, and you can make the brush edges softer by holding down the Shift key and pressing the left bracket key a few times. The Color blend mode is perfect for when you want to add or change the colors in an image without changing the brightness values. Select your Brush Tool from the Tools palette, choose the color you want to paint with, and begin painting on the layer to add your color. Fortunately, Adobe has given us numerous ways to work non-destructively on our images, and in this photo editing tutorial, we're going to look at one of them. As we'll see on the next page, Color is actually the exact opposite of our fifth and final essential blend mode, Luminosity, which ignores all color in the layer and blends only the lightness values.
We'll look at a great technique for selectively controlling the exposure in a photo by lightening and darkening specific areas, giving us results very similar to what we could achieve with the Dodge and Burn tools but without harming a single pixel in the image.

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