6 Benefits of Looking Back at Your Old Photos

As photographers we are continually creating new images and honing our photography and post-processing skills. To that end, many of us seldom if ever really spend time going back through the collection of photos we've likely parked on storage devices. The focus is mainly on creating the fresh and new, forgetting about the thousands of previous photographs that have been shot, processed and posted over time.

Have you ever given thought to reviewing some of these or even given them a new and improved life?

This is something that I often think about doing but like most, seldom find the time. But like many things in life, if we don't take the time it just never happens. 

The pre-dawn image above was created in April of 2011 at the Rudee Inlet in Virginia. When I processed this back then I felt it was decent enough to post, which I did, but that image did not have as crisp and as clean of a look as the this version. 

This brings me to the first benefit of looking back through the archives.

  1. Instantly see the improvement in your photography and post-processing skills. - Whenever you do something over and over again you are going to get better at it. Couple that with advancements in software and that photo from some years ago may not meet your standards for quality now.
  2. Create new content for your blog. - Before you dismiss the photograph as a retread from yesteryear, consider the fact that many of today's content consumers have never laid an eye on it before or even if they have, may very well not remember it unless it was truly remarkable back then. Use the image in a different manner by making it a part of a topic other than the one associated with it's original use.
  3. The forgotten ones. - I cannot count the times I have gone back through those old files and "discovered" that forgotten image I had intended to process long ago. With the viewer of our photos in mind, we tend not to stay too long on a particular topic so we mix things up and show some variety. In doing so, we may not return to a certain shoot for quite some time. Remember, we mentioned "fresh and new" earlier, so with that focus some really usable shots end up neglected and forgotten. 
  4. Dump the duds! - Let's face it, many of those files gathering digital dust on our hard drives are simply duds that will never see the light of day. If you haven't revisited the images that can be repurposed and see a new life, what makes you think you will ever use those unrated shots? Dump them and regain some of that valuable hard drive real estate.
  5. See things in a new light. - Things change over time so looking back over those photos may cause you to see things differently, maybe even inspire you to return to a previous location to shoot things from a different perspective. Photos often reveal elements in the frame that we never saw while taking the shot. There may be something else in there that piques your interest. Additionally, what once looked like a 1-star image when first viewed may now rate much higher.
  6. Relive those memories. - Each time we go out on a photo shoot there are memorable moments that occur, usually positive things that bring good feelings or a smile. Our photos document these moments and preserve the memories for future viewers. Think of the times you viewed and old photo from 100 years ago and the feelings you experienced. Surely there are images you want to keep as part of your legacy and overall body of work. Some may seem insignificant now while others represent precious captures that cannot be replaced.

The shot above of Radio City Music Hall in New York is an example of a forgotten image. It has never been posted although it dates back to 2011.

In closing, I urge you to take a look into your collection and enjoy the rediscovery of some of your forgotten works. Besides the fun factor, there may well be some gems in there to be processed and shared with the masses.

So what say you, have you been in your archives lately?

Thanks for clicking by!