Today, I am featuring a new Cooking RAWs case study. The Cooking RAWs series is where I ask people to send me one of their unprocessed RAW photos and, in return, I give them a few ideas on how to approach Lightroom editing in the most efficient way.
Cooking RAWs Challenge, Edition #24
Evaluating the Shot
First, the photo is underexposed by a whole stop. Mark took 3 bracketed shots but even the brightest shot (1EV) is underexposed.
Underexposing sunrise and sunset photos is a very common issue. Because of the bright area around the sun, the camera’s metering system assumes that the scene is much brighter than it is and tries to compensate by lowering the exposure. The solution in such cases is to be aware of the potential exposure problem and manually compensate for it. In my case, I use the camera’s Exposure Compensation functionality when shooting sunsets to boost the exposure by 2/3 or 1 stop.
The good news is that Mark shot in RAW format, which means that I easily corrected the exposure during the editing process in Lightroom.
The second issue was that the photo was taken with a high ISO value of 800. I assume that Mark was shooting hand-held and had to boost the ISO to keep the Shutter Speed under control.
However, the better solution was to keep the ISO at 100 and open the aperture instead. By changing the aperture from f/22 to f/8, Mark would have been able to keep the ISO at 100.
Since the Canon T6s is not well-known for offering good, high ISO performance, the photo is noisy. I had to use a relatively aggressive noise reduction setting to clean the image.
Total time: 3 min
The first step was to improve the composition.
The goal was to make sure the horizon was straight and the vertical lines are vertical.
I applied the Lens Profile Correction to fix the barrel distortion.
I used the Crop Overlay tool to fix the horizon and the Transform Panel to adjust vertical distortion.
Lightroom Rapid Editing
Total time: 10 min
If you are not sure what is Lightroom Rapid Editing, please check my detailed tutorial “Lightroom Rapid Editing System”.
I used presets from 3 different collections to produce 5 final versions.
- Natural, Clock Tower from Landscape Collection
- Montreal from Cityscape Collection
- Summer Dream from HDR Collection
Under each photograph, you can find the Lightroom Editing Formula which reflects every single editing step.
As you can see it took me between 5 and 7 clicks to achieve the final edits.
Total time: 2 min
The final step was to manually apply an extra noise reduction in the Detail Panel to bring the digital noise down.
The Final Versions
Lightroom Editing Formula: Natural (3, 11, 15, 33, 39)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Clock Tower (3, 11, 15, 33)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Summer Dream (1, 9, 11, 15, 33, 38)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Montreal (1, 12, 15, 33)
Please use the comment section below to let me know what version you like best.