My Photography Journey | Re-Editing Old Photos | Atlanta Portrait Photographer

"Strive for growth, not perfection."

One of the biggest difficulties many creatives feel within their craft is feeling like they're not seeing growth. And I get that. Sometimes when you're in the midst of your own journey it's hard to see the leaps and bounds you've already made along the way. 

One of the best ways to see your growth is to not only go back and look at your old work but to re-edit it. It's fun to see the choices you made back then (and, let's be honest, cringe at them lol) and compare them to the editing choices you make currently. 

This opens up your eyes to how much you've learned as you've progressed with your art form and if THAT doesn't give you a boost of confidence in your abilities, I don't know what will.  

I decided to reach back into my vault of an external hard drive and re-edit a few photos from the past. You can see my original edits compared to my new edits below:



The image on the left is from 2014. I converted it to B&W at the time because I wasn't quite sure how to edit it in color to achieve the exact vision I had in my head.

In my current edit, however, I love the warmth of the image and how her face is perfectly lit (thanks to the flash I used) and the lights of downtown Atlanta create beautiful bokeh behind her. 

A closer look:




I loooooved this image when I first took it back in 2015, and I still really like it now. Back then I didn't have as refined an eye as I do now, so I didn't notice things like items in the foreground or background that are distracting.

In my current edit, I darkened all the greenery, especially the leaf in the top left hand corner of the frame. I love the depth it creates in the frame but I don't want it to lead the viewer's eye away from my beautiful subject. I also cloned out the swing set in the background for the same reason. 

If I could re-shoot this today, I'd definitely try to avoid the "hot spots" of brightness on my subject's legs. Although they're not really that distracting, it's impossible to easily eliminate them because I completely blew the highlights when I originally shot it and didn't even know that was something I should keep an eye out for back then.

A closer look:




So I cheated just a bit on this one. I took and edited the original photograph in 2015 but I didn't like the crop I chose back then. This time around I preferred the image on the right, so I edited and included it because they're both very similar. 

Back then I was trying my hardest to make the subtle matte look work, but over time I realized that's just not me. I enjoy contrast, rich shadows, and dynamic light. And my current edit demonstrates that.

A closer look:




I originally took this self portrait back in 2015 in a small space in my bedroom. As soon as I saw the light streaming in through my blinds creating this pattern on the wall I knew I had to take advantage of it for a moody self portrait. 

The changes between my editing on the original photo and my edit now are very subtle. On the left I used a preset/action (for ACR) that I downloaded and didn't really make any tweaks to (I didn't know how back then). 

On my current edit, I used an action created by myself that I add to just about every photo I take and tweak however I need. I also focused on getting rid of the overall magenta tone, and decreasing the matte finish that was on the original edit.

If I could reshoot this image, I would definitely have scooted over to my left just a bit to completely remove my bookshelf from the frame. 

A closer look:




I did this engagement shoot for this beautiful couple back in 2016 at Historic Fourth Ward Park and I loved their gallery.

The original edit was a bit more basic than my current edit, but that comes down to a difference in my editing style then vs now. My main focus in my current edit was to eliminate distractions in the frame that I didn't notice back then. I did this by getting rid of the triangle of light in the upper left hand of the frame and the railing on the right side of the frame. 

I love both of these edits, but my current edit definitely demonstrates the growth in my skillset over the years.

A closer look:


If you find yourself feeling discouraged along your journey, pull out some of that old work and get to re-working it. Take a deep look at the differences between then and now. Talk yourself through what you'd do differently if you had the opportunity to re-take the shot. Take note of the skills you know now that you had no clue of back then. 

Then pour yourself a glass of wine (or tequila, I'm not judging) and toast to your growth.

Celebrate yourself. You deserve it. 

Interested in seeing more of my growth as a photographer throughout the years?
Take a more in-depth look at my journey here.

Are you looking for helpful tips that I used to grow my photography skills?
Check out the 4 things that changed my photographer for the better HERE.