The Benefits of Reworking Past Images

Guest Post, Part 3 of 4 By: Chamira Young

When you’re finished editing a set of photos, do you immediately throw them in the archives and move on? Join the club. If you’re anything like me, you’re perpetually thirsty for the hunt of creating new images. Furthermore, we often have a tendency to retouch images in similar styles day after day, year after year, ad nauseam. What can I say? When we find something we’re comfortable with, we tend to stick with it.

But what if I told you there was a ton of potential waiting for you in those discarded archives? With a bit of creative experimentation, you could revolutionize your body of work and your editing skills at the same time. During times when you can’t get out to shoot as much as you’d like, you can always find hidden gems in your photo catalogs and learn a thing or two along the way. Let’s explore the possibilities.

Your Archives Are Gold

Dust off those old hard drives, log into your photo storage accounts, and start searching for old photos you can rework! They are a literal treasure trove of possibilities waiting to be rediscovered by your artistic eye. Also, don’t be afraid to reconsider images that previously didn’t make the cut. Once you’ve settled on a handful of images, rework them in a different style you’ve never tried before. Not only does it get you outside of your comfort zone, but it retrains your creative eye to see your work differently. 

Remember, this is simply a practice session, so there’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. See how many ways you can rework the same photo. You are essentially picking up new retouching skills along the way, so push the creative envelope.

Consider New Software

New software brings new possibilities, so try something new! One of the best decisions I ever made was to eventually add the Perfectly Clear plugin to my workflow. It revolutionized the way I retouched portraits and nature work. In addition, it cut my editing time in less than half.

Many programs offer a free trial, so roll up your sleeves and start experimenting risk-free. Enjoy the learning curve as you poke around unfamiliar surroundings. Whether it be Photoshop, Luminar, Affinity Photo, Capture One, Perfectly Clear, or any of the plethora of other great options available to photographers, approach unfamiliar software with an open mind and a sense of adventure. And if you do decide to eventually make a purchase, there are some great deals available due to the pandemic.

Tag Involved Parties on Social Media

This is a great opportunity to revisit past client images. Their files have already been delivered, so now you have the freedom to retouch them without limits! Once you’ve finished your edits, post them online and tag your past clients. Most likely they’ll get a kick at seeing their own photo retouched again. Share the love!

Expanding your skillset is how we grow as artists. As easy as it is to get comfortable with our familiar habits, it’s never too late to try something different. And during this time where the photography industry is impacted by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever we stay creative. Whether you enjoy portraits, wildlife, or anything in between, reworking your past photos is a great exercise for any photography niche. Get ready to push your creative limits!


About the author:


Chamira will readily admit it: she’s an art nerd, Photoshop geek, and photographer with an obsession for productivity and creativity. Through online teaching and podcasting, she loves helping other creative minds become more successful by empowering them with the knowledge and inspiration to up their game. Currently, ChamiraStudios.com is the hub of her creative mischief. It branches out to her other projects, and allows her to be an artist, photographer, podcaster at ProPhotographerJourney.com, and online course creator. You can also find her on Twitter.

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