Style Development

Should I Re-Edit Some Old Photos? Let’s See What Happens…

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I am a photo editor on a mission to help photographers transform their editing. Here you'll find tips and tricks about ALL things editing, as well as a bit about this momma running a biz! 

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Re-editing old photos? Sounds fun! I wanted to create a post that, let’s be honest, will be somewhat embarrassing and cringeworthy. When you start a photography business you are at the mercy of your current time period and trends of the time. Ok, maybe I am just trying to justify some of my old photo editing. haha. Remember the black and white photos with the one spot of color. That was definitely a very specific trend. Super intense color and edgy contrast was another trend of that time… 

When I think about it, it is actually very exciting that I grew up when a new digital photography world was created. In high school I had film point and shoot cameras, and when we took group selfies we had no idea if we would all be in focus until we got the prints back from the lab! Honestly it was awesome, but film photography is a huge topic for another day (well a lot of days).

The point is that my photography experience lived through the transition period of when digital cameras came into play, where tech advancements are fast and trends come and go. In fact, sadly, my wedding photos suffered because of this transition. Mostly poor file quality and trendy editing decisions were to blame. 

Trends can be fun for sure, but when you shoot a wedding it is also important to realize that those photos will be looked at and treasure for SO MANY YEARS.

Once I decided that timeless images were important for my wedding photography business, I had to learn how to achieve that look through the cameras themselves and how I edited images.

I wanted to revisit some older images from my business and see how I might approach editing now, and maybe what I could have changed if I could go back. I’m going to see if I can have some fun and maybe a good laugh.

Let’s kick it off with this image. This was shot with a Nikon D90. Here is the original RAW image.

raw image unedited portrait

So the exposure is decent. I probably didn’t realize it at the time but it is definitely better to underexpose to save highlights if needed. This image doesn’t have strong highlights and is in open shade, but it still makes for a smoother edit.

Here is the original edit in Photoshop. I used Photoshop for everything and I remember working on this image for quite a while. I also remember a lot of retouching. I feel like it is a stronger contrast, sharper, and a little too retouched for my style now. I like some more film-like colors as well and these are more saturated, true-to-life colors. Overall not too shabby for one of my first free sessions.

old edit portrait

This is my re-edit below. Ok so the first HUGE difference isn’t even visual. It has to do with the time it took to edit this sucker. Like a few minutes in Lightroom. Not an hour in Photoshop. I mean, I don’t know if the other one took an hour because this was back in 2009, but I’m sure it took quite a while. Visually, it is much softer, less contrast, lighter, modified colors to be more film inspired from one of my presets, and the skin didn’t have to be retouched due to the adjustments I made. Plus I prefer a more natural, not as perfected, look now.

new re-edit portrait

Phew! Made it through that! I’m sure you agree, but it is kind of nerve wracking to share unedited and old edits of images. I enjoyed it though. Maybe next time I’ll share a super cringeworthy photo…

DM me on Instagram if you have questions or you can send me your re-edits of old photos. I’d love to hear from you!!

re-edit old photos

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Hi, I'm Marcie.
Your BFF + New Editing Coach.

After 11 years in business, including 8 years photographing weddings, 5 years of private editing, and a recent launch of Heirloom Presets, I can say it has been one massive and exciting journey. And I can't wait for more...

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