(#20) Cooking RAWs – Reviving The Rejects

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The Reviving the Rejects is the part of my Cooking RAWs series.

Originally, I asked people to send me their photos and I would show them how to approach photo editing in the most efficient way. At this point, the collaboration with the readers of my blog resulted in 18 demonstrations of the various ways of approaching photo editing.

Recently, I decided to slightly change the rules of the Cooking RAWs challenge.

I dove deep into Lightroom archives and selected photos I took a while back, rejected them and never had any intentions to edit and publish them. I want to challenge myself to see if it is possible to revive them by using modern editing tools and techniques.

And since all the original photos belong to me I will be happy to share them with you so you can follow the demonstrations step by step.

Cooking RAWs – Reviving The Rejects

I took the featured photo during my California Sate Route 1 coastal drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

I took it with Sony a6000 and wide angle Sony 10-18mm zoom lens in the vicinity of San Simeon.

I did not see much of the potential in this shot and initially I rejected it. But, now when I started to analyze I thought I could come up with something interesting by recovering dark shadows and by bringing up colors and the textures of the foreground elements.

Let’s see what we can do with it.

To follow this demonstration you need one of my Lightroom Preset Collections. If you never bought any of my premium collections, you can always download my Free Preset Collection.

Also, I am making available the original RAW image I used in today’s demonstration. Download it, import to Lightroom and try to revive it following my lead.

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Total time: 0min

Usually, I start editing process with analyzing the composition and then trying to improve it.

In this case, I was happy with the composition and I did not have to do anything.

Lightroom Rapid Editing

Total time: 12min

If you are not sure what is Lightroom Rapid Editing, please check my detailed tutorial “Lightroom Rapid Editing System”.

I used Lightroom presets from 2 different collections to edit the featured photo:

Under each editing version, you can find Lightroom Editing Formula the one you can follow in case you decide to take Cooking RAWs challenge with me.

Lightroom Editing Formula: Natural (1, 10, 12, 32)


Lightroom Editing Formula: End of Summer (11, 17, 32, 34)


Lightroom Editing Formula: Drought (10, 13, 32, 34)


Lightroom Editing Formula: Golden Gate (4, 9, 8, 16, 12, 31)


Lightroom Editing Formula: PointLobos (4, 10, 17, 32, 34)


Lightroom Editing Formula: Sand Castle (9, 11, 17, 32, 34)


If you decide to take Cooking RAWs challenge with me, please join my closed Facebook group and post your results using hashtag #CookingRAWs.

  • Natural is the best, but all the other variations are good as well–they all have a tinge of surrealism and “painterly” effect (which I like). It is amazing how much shadow details can be extracted from a RAW file!

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