Here's a quick Photoshop tutorial showing how to darken a background well using an adjustment layer and the Burn tool
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Hi, I’m Peter Barge from Ephotozine.TV and this is an example of how to improve your dodging and burning using the adjustment layers. It’s a simple tip that I used quite often. Take this example of a model, Angelina, against the dark background. If we were to look at the image with a higher curve image adjustments curves, and we drag the curve what would… see the, the actual dodging, oh and, in this case burning is being done very badly. And so we got patches all around where it hasn’t been burnt in, and so, we say that’s where we want the curve to be in this example. But here’s a technique, so we’ll just move that out of the way, we create a new adjustment layer in curves. And what this does is it puts a layer on top of the existing layer, just drag it down so, about there. Okay, so, there’s the layer that we’ve created, the adjustment layer. So we click back to the layer below, all the adjustment layer is doing is actually applied the curves without actually affecting the original. You can turn that on and off, so what we’re gonna do now is use the burn tool. Now I’m using the burn, this is the quickest way to do this process. But you could also use mask, and do sort of selective masking to get a much better effect. But this is just a quick tip just to show you how the thing works. So you see now, you can see very clearly where the dark areas are, and I can go around and dodge around quite fast, we can slight to a larger brush there. That goes around her like that. Take off top a bit there. Around like so, and there. And then to get these bits, just need to go in smaller brush. And all I'm doing is, I’m using the burn tool and see that the shadow is set at 12 percent and because the adjustment layer above it in curves is very high, this is actually making, it make looks like I’m doing quite a lot. But, all it’s doing minute, if I go over these areas, what is actually happening if I turn that off, is I’m just make sure that the background black. Now you can see in that area there, that actually lighting, couldn’t see that earlier, in to that area. Turn it around. Again I’m actually applying this to the real layer, not the adjustment layer. You could, for safety sake, make a duplicate layer, and apply the effect on to the duplicate. But, which is, I just wanna show you the effect. There we go and around there. And that’s fully perfect black background. Just a bit there. There we go. Turn that off, and you can delete that layer if you want and save the result, and the job’s done.