(#4) Cooking RAWs – Editing Your Photos Challenge

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This is the fourth edition of Cooking RAWs series where I ask people to send me one of their unprocessed RAW photos. Then, I give them a few ideas on how to approach Lightroom editing in the most efficient way.

For today’s demonstration on how to use Lightroom in a typical photo editing workflow, I selected a RAW photo by Henry Starbuck from South Africa. He recently started using the Lightroom Rapid Editing.

Henry took the featured photo using Nikon D5200 with Sigma 10-20mm lens.

This is a typical landscape capture with the properly exposed sky and underexposed foreground elements of the composition. When I was developing my Lightroom Landscape Preset Collection I had this type of photos in mind. Photos where the main challenge is to preserve the details in the bright areas (sky) and recover the dark parts of the image (foreground).

Normally, I start my editing by analyzing the composition and deciding if it is possible to improve it by cropping it differently. In this case, I liked the original composition and I did not see any reasons to change it.

I decided to start editing with some cleaning


Total time: 2min

I used the Spot Removal tool to remove the debries from the road and the grass on the left side of the image.

All I had to do is to paint with the small brush over destracting elements and Lightroom did the rest by taking samples from the nighboring areas and masking the debris and brunches.

I used the Heal mode.

Lightroom Rapid Editing

Total time: 10min

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

Below are eight editing versions of the same photo. To show the potential of the Lightroom Rapid Editing I used presets from Landscape Preset Collection in the combination with the TOOLKIT. I didn’t use any of the editing tools from Lightroom right panel.

Under each photograph, you can find the Lightroom Editing Formula which reflects every single editing step.

As you can see it took me between 3 and 5 clicks to achieve the final edits.

Lightroom Editing Formula: Natural (10, 17, 32)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Sunrise (9, 13, 16, 31)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Broken Clouds (1, 9, 13)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Point Lobos (13, 31)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Drought (9, 13, 31)
Lightroom Editing Formula: End of Summer (10, 13)
Lightroom Editing Formula: High Pressure (17, 31)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Shark Cove (9, 33, 39)

Please use the comment section below to let me know what version you like best.

  • heitordelima says:

    As always, natural shines. Point Lobos have a nice vibe too

      • heitordelima says:

        I don’t like it because it makes me feels like the white balance is off. But I do like the high pressure too.

  • Point Lobos does it for me – most of the other pics look rather strange (colour).

  • I also vote for Point Lobos, with Natural a close second. High Pressure gives it a dreary, distopian future look. Say, does the horizon need correcting or is it just my eyes?

  • I’m not usually one for deeply saturated colors so I much prefer the subtler edits. Broken Clouds does it for me. There’s just something soothing about it, although I would have maybe added a bit more contrast to the foreground. But just a bit! Also, the image is flipped under your banner. I like that, better, too.

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