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When to Reprocess Old Photos

2nd Battle of Newbury, 1644Reprocessing old photographs has been a bit of a hot topic in the photographic world recently, and I have shared some thoughts on this in previous blog posts. Today’s picture is a photo I took more than a few years ago (which some of you will recognise), and have tried to reprocess several times over the years, without any success. I am not going to publish the original HDR image I have used for years in this blog post, as there will undoubtedly be some who prefer the original as it was, and that is fine. You can see it in many other places though, on my Flickr page for instance.

There are several reasons why I have always wanted to reprocess this picture but the top 2 would be:

1. My photoshop skills were very basic when I originally processed this picture, meaning the removal of a figure towards the right of the image, led to a poor cloning job, with lots of obvious pattern overlay.

2. I almost certainly accidentally deleted the Tiff and hi resolution JPEG files to that original image along time ago, as I have not been able to find either for years. Therefore, any copies made for resizing purposes have come from poor low resolution JPEG versions.

As I said though, I have tried reprocessing it for years, and never got nearly to the look that I wanted. It is not easy reprocessing an old image, and almost impossible to capture the same style to how you originally did it. This time however, I decided it really had to be done, as it is about time I had a new high resolution image of this picture to use, and my photoshop skills now should mean I must be able to excel my original version.

I am very happy how the reprocessing on this image has turned out. I wanted to create a slightly more realistic image compared to the heavily tone-mapped previous version, but also wanted to keep the artistic feel to it. The contrast, detail and colours are all much improved on this new version. This will be the version I now include on my portfolio website HalewoodPhotographic.com.

There is a time and place for photographing old images, and it is essentially this:

  • When your post-processing skills have improved greatly
  • When you never fully satisfied with the original image
  • When you have accidentally deleted old files

Just remember to have patience and not to be satisfied with your first attempt at reprocessing!

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