See the Winners of the “Edit My RAW File” Contest [Announcement]

Last week, I announced an “Edit My Raw File” Contest.  The idea is that I uploaded a photo that I took, and then put the file up for download so that all of us could take a crack at editing the exact same photo.

This was, easily, the most FUN contest we’ve done, because it gave everyone  the opportunity to see MANY different ideas of how to approach the exact same photo.  I got a TON of new ideas on how I can approach my post-processing by seeing how everyone edited the same photo.

There were THOUSANDS of people who entered this contest via Google+ and Pinterest.  I personally looked through each and every photo and chose about 100 of the best photos.  Then, I split up the 100 best photos into three categories: (1) the best edits that left the photo natural, (2) the best photos that made medium strength edits, and then (3) the best composite photos.  Then, we selected one winner from each category so that everyone had an equal chance of winning no matter if you went crazy or just kept it natural.

By the way, many people had their photos “disappear” after adding them to Google+ or Pinterest.  This was because the websites thought the photos were spam since so many of the same photo were being uploaded.  Rest assured, we went through all of these photos and marked them as “not spam” and reviewed them for the contest.

Thank you to all those who participated and made this a fun contest!

Winning photo

Overall Winner – Edited by Donnis Sealey

And the Winner is….

Overall Winner: Donnis Sealey.  We loved this photo because it accomplished all three of the things we wanted to see from a winner: (1) it looks good, (2) there aren’t any technical issues, and (3) it’s creative.   Donnis wins a $100 gift card and a free online photo class.  Donnis, email us at to claim your prize.

UPDATE: Read here to see how Donnis edited the file to achieve the winning results.

Best “Natural” Image: Lekimcol Silver.  After looking at HUNDREDS of variations of the same photo, what we focused on most was the skin smoothing.  Most of the skin smoothing made the photo look downright blurry, but this one was done very nicely (which may be tough to see in the youtube slideshow below).  LeKimcol, email us at to claim your online photography class.

Best Composite Image: Sandy Le.  We loved the pastel colors in this photo, as well as the clever color change of the model’s dress.  While we weren’t so thrilled with the creative blurring, it still was very creative and is our third place winner.  Sandy wins an online photography class from us, which she can claim by emailing us at

Several Honorable Mentions were also selected.  You can see those by viewing the photo below.  In the video, we showed a lot of composites.  While many of the natural photos with just simple edits were beautiful, we chose these photos for the slideshow because we wanted everyone to have the opportunity to see some of the more creative ideas from the group.

You can see a slideshow of our favorite and most creative edits below (or click here if viewing this post via email).

Comments from the I.P. Community

  1. says

    Congrats to the winners! I was glad to earn that it wasn’t a “fan voted” contest. Those are the worts! I do like Krista’s idea of not revealing the entries until the end.

  2. Sheila says

    Congratulations to the winners!
    I think this was a fun contest and an exciting way to see how so many people can see a photo differently. I love the winner’s photo. Adding the wooded area and changing the shirt to the shade is nice. The sun flare peeping from the left is pretty as well.
    The winner in Best Composite is absolutely beautiful with the exception of just a bit too much creative blur in the background (as you had stated). However, had it not been so blurry I believe it could have been the winner overall with the pretty pastel colors of the flowers and the texture that was used. It was definitely a great idea and a beautiful edit. As another poster said, I would like to know how the edits were done. At least the top 3 would be nice to hear how they achieved their results. That could be helpful to everyone if the information could be shared. Just a thought… This would be fun to do again :)

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