Finding gold in your image archives

A post by: Rowan SimsPPNo doubt like many other photographers, so many of my images never have seen the light of day. This is usually for a good reason; they are out of focus, badly made, badly timed, they just don’t make the cut. Often these images well, just not the best. I have learned, however, that there may be gold hide in your archives, just waiting to be rediscovered, taken in the develop module and shared with the world. I have noticed that some time digging through old shoots some very positive results./PPMaybe you have found that your photo editing workflow follows a predictable pattern, like mine. After importing I adding meta data, then backing up RAW images from a shoot, take a look first-pass on the images, mark the few that initially stand out, and reject that clearly unusable. It is easy to run and then again by images that potential, to filter the highlighted images and comparing them to search for that the strongest or most accurately exposed select figure out. This gives me a small collection of images to edit./PPThen comes the fun part! Using any combination of Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Software, I edit my pictures to see what they can be! After editing the selects, I want to back up both local and online to my Photoshelter-portfolio, which doubles as my photo archive in the cloud. Finally, these images are shared on social network accounts. Done, right? On to the next project, assignment, location …/PPBut maybe not. The images from CF cards are imported, I might end up with between 1-5 images I happy with ben. So if I come home to an epic landscape with 50-100 images, what happens to the other 95% of my photo shoot? If you’re anything like me, you probably have gigabytes of RAW images take up space on your hard drive. Have you ever revisited a hard drive to something you may have missed? I’ll make this a regular part of my workflow and I would claim that doing so is well worth your time./PPWill give you an example, here is a picture that I have made not long after moving to Mount Maunganui, New Zealand a few years ago. This is a shot of Tauranga Bridge Marina:/PPIMG title=”tauranga-bridge-marina-1.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Tauranga bridge marina 1″ src=”” width=”600″ height=”399″/PPAlong this location dozens of times have driven, I already had an idea of the shot I wanted before I arrived. It was a cold evening, and the sky had not lit in the way I had hoped, so I continued past sunset and in twilight, my favorite time to shoot. Still nothing very inspiring, so I went home. I followed my usual workflow and ended up with the image above, which I was not totally satisfied with, so I moved on to the next thing./PPFast forward six months and I found myself reviewed that folder in Lightroom. I can’t remember what it asked, but after finding this image, I edited it very differently and ended up with the image below. It was much better received by fans and customers online and became one of my best-selling images last summer. Personally, I like this image a lot more than the first./PPIMG title=”tauranga-bridge-marina-2.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Tauranga bridge marina 2″ src=”” width=”600″ height=”399″/PPOf course, it’s easy in hindsight to kick myself and wonder how I missed it, but this seems to happen on a regular basis. Something about the passage of time allows you to see images in a fresh light. Maybe it feels differently about the image itself, or that particular place, or simply that my post processing workflow evolved and I can see new possibilities in images. Whatever the reason, I rarely feel the same about one image per month, six months or a year later./PPHere is another example of Castlepoint, in lower North Island of New Zealand:/PPIMG title=”castlepoint-lighthouse-1.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Castlepoint lighthouse 1″ src=”” width=”600″ height=”399″/PPAnd here is the picture I found and more than two years later modified:/PPIMG title=”castlepoint-lighthouse-2.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Castlepoint lighthouse 2″ src=”” width=”600″ height=”399″/PPIt is natural for an artist or creative to look forward to the next project. I think it’s healthy for any artist or creative. It is a necessary part of growing and developing your craft. However, I believe also that it is healthy to think about previous work and see how far you have come. Search image archives is a great way to do this. Despite not having shot film since I was a kid, I compare this process with rummaging through boxes of exposed negatives and them keeping in mind the dark room to find the gold that have never been printed./PPI challenge you, if you don’t already spend some time rummaging through your archives. Go way back! On some of your first pictures! Or even something you shot last year; It doesn’t matter how old they are, just that you’re looking at it with a fresh perspective. Make it your next project. You’d be surprised what you come up with!/PPHave you found any hidden gems in your archives? Share with us in the comments below./PIMG class=”avatar avatar-78 photo” alt=”” src=”” width=”78″ height=”78″PRowan Sims is a landscape and travel photographer. He is based in the beautiful Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. His photography combines a passion for travel, the natural world, people, and humanitarian projects. Visit Rowan’s portfolio and see more of his work./P
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