On Breathing New Life Into Old Images

By |2012-07-20T17:10:04+00:00Jul 20th, 2012|

(Click on this link to see an interactive Before/After of this image, as well as view the entire workflow video of how I processed it – http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode17/)

There is no such thing as a finished image as far as I’m concerned. Whenever I find myself feeling disenchanted with my recent batches of images, I turn to my older stuff. I think it’s critical to audit yourself and your growth as a photographer by reviewing your past work. A few days ago, I found myself staring complacently at a folder of waterfall shots. They were beautiful and I was happy with the results but I felt drained. I’ve been exposed to more landscape and nature scenery in the past 9 months (since moving to Portland, OR) than I have in my entire life. I found myself missing the urban sprawls that I used to shoot all the time.

So, I turned to my older Lightroom catalogs. I started in 2008 and moved onto 2009 and 2010. In each one, I saw earlier versions of myself – Brian, the Photographer. I saw classic mistakes made, both in composition and stylization. I couldn’t believe I thought the results I was looking at were, at one point in my life, deemed as passable. But that right there is what it’s all about! It isn’t that what I did back then was wrong – it’s that my sensibilities and taste changed – or rather, they evolved. And through that revelation, I saw the very growth in my photography that I was looking for.

And so I continued browsing through the old catalogs, blowing off dust and seeing what my new bag of tricks would do to give these images a new lease on life. After a few hours, I ended up with a whole new batch of old images that I couldn’t wait to share and I felt that the lesson I learned from this practice needed to be shared and would make a great episode for this series.

The lesson here is to never forget where you came from. It’s cathartic and very beneficial to be able to look back on the road you’ve already traversed in this journey. As you grow as a photographer, and as a person, it’s important to see where you came from in order to see where you’re going.

In terms of processing
Click on the link below to see a video of how I created this shot from start to finish. It is part of my ongoing +onOne Software called Perfect Inspiration. I hope you enjoy it!

http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode17/

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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11 Comments

  1. Greg Goodman July 20, 2012 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Amen! If it weren't for the old stuff, nothing would ever get done :)

  2. Shawn Highfill July 20, 2012 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Love the shot.  Great idea. Bummer living in a beautiful place, huh? :-)

  3. andres rojas July 20, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

    is very interesting

  4. Glen Michaelsen July 20, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Pretty nice !

  5. Kimberly Tweed July 20, 2012 at 10:07 am - Reply

    First, that's an awesome shot of the Cyclone… second – damn you for getting songs I forgot existed stuck in my head… http://youtu.be/gmwRWaZ_Ubg

  6. Carol Gary July 20, 2012 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Beautiful! I love the changes to make this such an eye-catching photo!

  7. Matthew Lewis July 20, 2012 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Great shot. I find that I have to go back and look at old photographs that I took. I frequently find that I saw something back then that I only recognize now. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Preston Douglas July 20, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Nice shot. I love the view. Now I want to make my pictures like that.

  9. Mike McKnelly July 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Brian, I own the onone software suite and have been watching all your videos.  Please check out my Google plus page and see some of my HDR work.  Thanks!

  10. Jaynarayan Vyas July 21, 2012 at 12:01 am - Reply

    i got impressed wow  the panoramic & exellent photos.

  11. Richard July 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    This article is exactly what I’ve been doing for months now and after reading this article I fell 100% more confident in my decision to do so. I have photos for the past 5 years to take another lok at, I know I have some great photos.

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