Make It Look Like This #1

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

Right, time to get your Lightroom on!

In today’s world of digital photography post processing plays a vital role.  Love it or hate it you have to touch up your digital images in order to get the most out of them.   We processed our images in the old film days and we have to process our images now.

Now whatever processing software you choose to use is your call but what is important is that you understand the basics of post processing.  By understanding exactly what sliders like contrast and saturation really do you will be able to give your images that little bit of punch they need.

So, after the fantastic response to the ‘Let’s All Process the Same RAW File‘ series of posts last year it’s time to get stuck in again with some video tutorials and your chance to get involve in ‘Make It LooK LIke This

This is how it’s going to work…

For the next three weeks I will be posting two images to the blog.  The first will be a RAW file, untouched and unedited, and the second will be a processed JPEG.

Your goal?

To reverse engineer the JPEG and then process the RAW file to get as similar a result as possible.  I.e. you need to make it look like this.


Because I think that reverse engineering an image and then trying to recreate it is a great way to learn and find inspiration before taking what you need from the exercise and applying it to your own photography.  In this case, playing around with various sliders and learning what they do to try and reach a specific outcome will give you the chance to focus on the actual processing rather than where you want to go with your own image.

Processing an image without knowing exactly what you want from it is, I believe, one of the reasons why so many people struggle with post processing.

By taking out the uncertainty of ‘what do I want to do with this image‘ and just focusing on trying to get a certain result will assit you in finding your own processing voice when you go back to processing your own images.

So, with all of that said here is your challenge for this week.

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife & Nature Photography

Yes, your goal is to take the RAW file at the top and make it look like the JPEG on the bottom.

Here is how it works.

  • Download the RAW and JPEG file bly clicking on the image below.
  • Import the RAW file into Lightroom and get cracking.
  • Save your new JPEG file to 800px on the longest side.
  • Email your JPEG to
  • Closing date for this first XXX challenge is Thursday 24 January 2013.
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For the first three weeks of the video we’re only gonna use Lightroom, or Camera Raw if you don’t have Lightroom.  For me the magic of Lightroom is the way in which you can, with the click of a button, jump between various view modes and modules.  From then on we will start looking at other programs as well.  Oh, and if you don’t have Lightroom you can download a 30 day trial copy here.

In this short video I will run through the workflow you could use in Lightroom to make your life a bi9t easier as you process the image and compare it to the original.

Ok, so that’s about it so time for you to get stuck in so download the file below, do your thing and email your results back to me.

Next Friday we will then have a look through all the images received and I’ll do a live video process of the lion shot and give you a new RAW file and JPEG to play with.

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife & Nature Photography

I look forward to seeing your results!

If you have any questions please drop a comment below and I’ll help where I can.

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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Comments 0

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  1. Gavin

    Hey Gerry

    JPEG in the zip file looks like a copy of the unprocessed RAW. It that right? Was expecting a processed JPEG to compare to.


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      Hi Gavin. The Jpeg version is same as RAW as some people want to work from that. You can pull the edited version from the blog or drop me a mail and I’ll send it through to you. 🙂

  2. Christine Bogdanowicz

    Gerry, you ROCK! I just received a CANON 7D from my husband as a birthday present; I only have the “kit” lens at this point, but I’m learning and practicing and hoping to get a telephoto lens soon (the CANON EF 70-200IS). I hope to have time to join you on this journey and many more. So, glad that I found out about you on Facebook; your images are spectacular and inspiring. We visited Tanzania many years ago (pre-digital photography for us), and hope to return to Africa someday…

    Best wishes from the USoA,

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      Thanks so much for your comment and kind words Christine! Learning and practising is what photography is all about and doing it with like-minded people is awesome! Look forward to sharing with you online and one day welcoming you on we Wild Eye Photo safari so we can shoot together!

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  3. Martin Kuller

    Searching for tips of take pictures during a safari i found your website.
    I know for sure i wil be a regular vissitor of the site.
    Learning to make better pictures of wildlife.
    We are going to Tanzania on 25 June and hope to whitness the great migration.
    Just downloaded the raw file of the lion and i try to make it the same as the jpeg.
    ps:sorry for my englisch but i am not used to whrite it.

    greetings from Holland

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      Great to hear Martin and thanks for playing along! 🙂 When you get back from Tanzani, which should be a great trip, you need to send us some pics. ALso, your english is perfect! 😉

  4. Pingback: Make It Look Like This #2 - Wild Eye Photography

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