When I’m writing a book on Photoshop, Lightroom, or photography, I would have to say that at least good chunk of the time, if not the largest chunk, is spent searching for images to use in the book (for everything from tutorials to examples to chapter openers).

Luckily, I have all my images in Lightroom, but for my last book I created a new separate catalog of images before I ever started the book, to make the upcoming few months of daily searching that much easier. But during all this gathering and sorting, something happened which had an unexpectedly fun and fulfilling effect, and I’m hoping to pass this on to you, so you can have it, too.

I’ll Bet You’re Way Better Now!
Have you ever gone back and looked at shots you took three or four years ago? If you’re like me, when you see them, you cringe. You cringe because you know you’re so much better today than you were back then, and shots you thought were awesome then, seem kinda awful now. Unfortunately, in most cases, we can’t go back and re-take them, so from one angle, we’re kinda stuck. However….

Now think about your Photoshop skills. I’ll bet you’re dramatically better at your post processing today than you were even just a year ago, and you’re probably light years ahead of where you were three or four years ago. But not only are you better—-Photoshop itself has come along way, too and there are features and things you can do today you just couldn’t do back then (and even if Photoshop could, Photoshop can probably do them better now—everything from stitching panos to creating HDRs to making selections are all vastly improved in the past few years).

I Wanna Go Back….and Do it All Over…..
So, the special thing that happened to me was; as I was looking at some of these images I had taken years ago, I would run across one here and there that I still liked, but the first thing I thought when I saw them was, “Man, I could sure edit that photo a lot better today than I did back then.”In fact, some of the techniques I used back then are so dated now, that I wouldn’t apply those moves, or those filters, to any image today. So, I went back; found the original Raw or JPEG files, and post processed them from scratch, knowing what I know now, and it completely transformed those images, and made them new. It’s like I was seeing those images through a new set of eyes.

Here’s a weekend project you might just love
Since I imagine you’re way better at Photoshop today than you were a few years ago, why not at least go back and look at some of the stuff you shot years ago, and see if a new crop, a new treatment, a new way of post-processing the image might bring an image you once loved back to life with a fresh new look after being edited with the new skills and new tools you have today? Of course, you might go back and hate all your old stuff, but my guess is you’ll have some great and unexpected surprises that will absolutely make the time and effort all worth it.

Go back and look at your vacation shots from four years ago. Go back and scan in some photos from a trip you took 10 years ago, and then apply your latest post processing techniques to them, and see if those images don’t take on a new meaning for you. Warning: if you’re really successful on the first images you re-edit, it’s kind of like playing “Angry Birds.” There goes your whole weekend.

Happy Hunting! :)