Finding Hidden Gems While Culling Through Old Photos

If you’re anything like me, after returning home from a trip, you are immediately faced with the unenviable task of sifting through hundred of photos that you’ll be editing in prep for distribution on various social media oulets.  You think you have chosen the best photos to relay the high points of your trip, you edit, post, and then store away the remaining unused photos, much like the ark was put away at the end of ‘Raiders’.

But are you really done with those pics?  Have you really taken advantage of the library of photos that you’ve locked away on that external hard drive collecting dust in your closet?

I’m sure many of you photographers out there have at least once in your recent history hit a lull, where you’ve wanted to get the creative juices flowing, but may have run face-first into that proverbial brick wall.  Well, I encourage you all to look back through some of your old photos and see if there were any gems you may have missed on your initial run through.  I think we often forget how much we grow as photographers since the changes and gains we make can seem incremental.  What’s important to you now, and what you try to relay through your photography can, and most likely will have grown, much like your skills behind the camera.

Here are two personal examples that I found while culling through my old stock of photos I’d taken in Colombia two years ago:


In this first photo, I find that I’d missed out on a photo that has ‘story-telling’ written all over it. The boy struggling to transport his planks of wood juxtaposed against the man lost in thought or simply catching a quiet moment from the rigors of life draws me into further analysis of the photo.  It makes me, as a viewer, question what their backstories might be, and the idea of storytelling through my photos is something that I hadn’t quite come to appreciate when I was first editing photos from this trip.


This second photo also warranted a further look as I’ve continued to learn more about the ideas behind composition.  I hadn’t really noticed the first time around that the surrounding individuals (with their backs to the camera) were creating an interesting leading line that naturally guides my eyes towards the main subject of the image (girl facing camera).

I encourage you all to take a look back into your old collection of photos and see if you find any renewed value in photos that you hadn’t really considered to work on the first go-around, as you may find some ‘new’ hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

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