What to Do With Old Photos

January 31, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Lightbulb Water LighthouseLightbulb Water Lighthouse Hey Everyone!  Hope you're doing well. While on the way to work the other day (I always have a long commute and time to think), I was thinking about all the photographers and all of the photos that we've taken and what are we doing with them?  Well, I've got a few suggestions and things that I do that will take advantage of that big cash of photos that you have hanging out on your hard drive doing nothing but taking up space.  If you're like me, you're not doing photography for profit, but just doing it for fun. Sometimes I think that the act of taking the photos and the experiences that I had while taking the photos is what I love the best, and the end result doesn't matter that much for me.  I delete a lot of photos, but after 20 years of digital photography, I still have over 40,000.  Now a lot of them are of family and friends, and some are of places I've been.  So here's some suggestions on what to do with them.

One thing to do is reprocess some of your favorites from the past.  Post processing has changed and you have grown as a editor, and you might be The MetroThe MetroCommuters waiting for the Metro in Washington DC. surprised on how good some of these photos will turn out after you put your years of experience of processing on to older photos.  Editing programs have come and gone, and maybe you were processing with a different program than you use now.  Maybe that program doesn't even exist now.  While finding these photos to edit, your memories will start to remember the where and how you took these photos.  Maybe a trip you took or a place you visited will start to be fresh in your mind again.  Isn't that what photos are supposed to do, stir up memories from the past?  After you have them reprocessed, now what?  

Print them!  I think printing is the one thing that will let your photographs, your art, live for decades.  When you're long and gone, your printed photos will still be here and can be passed down to other generations to keep your memory and your art alive.  Who knows what can happen to a hard drive or if even the format that we use now will be able to be seen on a screen in decades of the future?  But a print in someone's hand will always be able to be seen.  Now you can print them yourself, a whole new art, or you can send them off to get printed.  Either way you will have prints.  And what to do with the prints?  I've created a love-me wall at the house where I have maybe 10 5x7 prints that I change out every so often.  You can have larger prints made, frame them, and use them for wall art around your house and, of course, for gifts to family and friends for art in their houses.  It's kind of neat to go to someone else's house and see your art on their walls.  You can have canvases made for pretty cheap, and they look nice also.  So what else can you do with the photos that you've brought new life into?

Well, this is the controversial idea.  Share them.  There are many ways to share your photos, and when I say share I mean put them out for the world to see.  There are many outlets that you can use.  Flickr and 500PX are a couple of photo sharing sites, and you can have people from all over the world look at your work.  Facebook and Instagram are others.  I used to post my photos on Facebook, but I have quit and now try to post to Instagram once a day.  So I have a folder on my desktop that I fill with photos that I want to put on Instagram.  When I have new photos from a photo trip or outing, I use them.  But when I run out of recent stuff, I'll go to the folder on my desktop and use one.  I like Instagram because I can tell a little about the photograph and I get likes and comments from all over the world which is pretty neat.  I use low resolution photos, and I'm not too worried about someone taking my photo and using it for something else.  I'm just happy that someone is seeing the photos that have been hiding on my hard drive.  It's a part of my daily routine.  I get up, get some coffee, and post to Instagram.  For those who know me, I get up real early.  So when I post, most people in the US aren't up yet.  So if I get a like real quick, I know it's someone from another country which is cool.

One benefit from going back in time and playing with these old photos is that it stirs up your creative juices and gets you into that artsy groove.  And that's just a great place to be.  Follow me on Instagram at maxstansellphotography.  So keep shooting and get outside!


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