(#5) Cooking RAWs – Editing Your Photos Challenge

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This is the fifth 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, I selected the photo by Andrew Woodward. He took it at a sunset in the city of York (England).

Originally, Andy sent me 3 bracketed shots (-2EV, 0EV, 2EV) and the idea was to process them in Lightroom as HDR. But, when I discovered that Andy shoots with Sony a6000, and I knew that a6000’s sensor has an outstanding dynamic range, I decided to challenge myself. I wanted to see if it was possible to edit this image as the single RAW file and to recover the details in the very dark areas of underexposed capture.


The first step was to improve the composition. I adjusted the vertical perspective and rotated the canvas a bit to straighten the horizon.

I used Lens Corrections Manul panel.

Then, I used the Crop Overlay tool to change the aspect ratio from 3×2 to 4×3. I wanted to minimize the effect of the structure in the composition.

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 five editing versions of the same photo. To show the potential of the Lightroom Rapid Editing I used presets from Landscape Preset Collection and Cityscape Preset Collection in a combination with the TOOLKIT.

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.

I also had to use the Filter Brush tool in Lightroom which was introduced first time in Lightroom 6.

This particular photo is the combination of landscape and cityscape and as the result when I applied the Graduated Filter to make the sky darker it also creates an unnatural effect by making the top of the building darker as well.

I used the Filter Brush tool to remove the effect of the Graduated Filter on the structure.

For more details on the Filter Brush tool check my tutorial: How to Use Filter Brush in Lightroom When Editing Landscapes

Lightroom Editing Formula: End of Summer (1, 10, 31)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Natural (3, 11, 15, 22, 23, 33)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Sunblast (1, 10)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Point Lobos (1, 10, 31)
Lightroom Editing Formula: Sunrise (10, 22)

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

  • heitordelima says:

    This time you did it, can’t even decide which one is my favorite. Seriously. The only one that I don’t like very much is the natural one.

  • Cathryn Wellner says:

    What a transformation. You’re a terrific teacher.

  • There is no way I can choose which i the best version. They all really ‘pop’! My question; is the sunlight on the distant trees real? Or did you add with the brush or radial filter? It’s just gorgeous!

  • “End of Summer” is the best–it brings out the details in the building in addition to providing a great sunset colour. This really motivates me to go and use your Rapid Editing System that I just purchased.

  • Erik Michael Nahman Stouffer says:

    “End of Summer” Definitely. The others are too washed out looking.

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