I am calling this the "Dani Diamond Experiment", because he has done this before, and I thought the end results were fascinating. See, Dani's been known to offer a totally unedited raw file of an image he shot as a free download, asking photographers and retouchers to have a go at finalizing the shot however they see fit. Rather than specifically ask anyone to retouch the image in any particular style or use any particular workflow, the idea is to simply offer the raw file with no instructions beyond "Edit it!" and see what happens.
But like Dani, I am making the raw file available with a few rules, let's call them things to do, rather, to ensure that this little game has some semblance of structure. Oh, and it's a contest as well (kind of).
Thing To Do #1: Download the file.
You can do that by clicking here: UPDATE: FILE HAS NOW BEEN REMOVED. I capped the submissions at 200, and we received that amount in just 4 days, and from 6 continents. Thank you for all who submitted, and stay tuned for my next image retouch challenge soon!
I shot this during the late afternoon hours on April 3rd in Miami (South Pointe Park area), and yes, it was shot on a Canon 6D, not the Sony A7RII I've been known to use. As such, Canon haters can check your excuses at the door - just make it happen!
Thing To Do #2: Retouch the image to completion any way you see fit.
Final images that look like real effort was put into them will be considered far above "joke" submissions. This is a photography website, not Reddit, kids.
Thing To Do #3: Email me your final edit.
Please ensure your image is 2048 px long side, JPG format, and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know your name and link to feature if your shot is selected. Ideally, send your shot to me before April 30, 2016. Bonus points* are awarded if you give me a few bullet points about your workflow (Lightroom, Capture One, Photoshop, plug-ins, Actions?)
* these are totally made up points that mean nothing but hey it sounds good!
Thing To Do #4: Do not post your final image anywhere. Yet.
This includes in the comments on this article; just don't, ok? If you do, you will unfortunately negate your submission and you will draw the ire and scorn of a one Staci Renee. This is not recommended. On top of that, it wouldn't be cool or good form, dig? Let's have fun with this but still keep professional parameters in check!
Thing To Do #5: Watch to see if your final image is selected to be showcased by Staci and I.
As it happens, Staci Renee is the model in the image you're downloading, and she happens to be the cohost of my weekly web series and podcast. The Top 10 images (maybe more if submissions are in high volume) she and I pick will be featured here on an upcoming Fstoppers article of mine, where our Top 3 selected final works will be showcased on an episode of The Backyard on YouTube, announced and discussed by Staci herself. That episode should drop at the beginning of May, 2016. Should be fun to see your results!