As we progress as photographic artists, one of the most difficult things to master is the editing process. By “editing” I am not referring to post-processing, but rather the selection process of what photos we like and will print, add to our portfolio, or share online.

Being a good editor means we recognize the good from the bad, which is more difficult when it is our own work. We have sentiment attached to the photographs that we take, and there’s just no way around that. It could be from the subject in the photograph, or maybe just because we know what the entire scene looked like and that’s tough to shake from our minds.

Going back through past shoots is always an eye-opener for me. I sometimes see certain images differently with a fresh set of eyes, but it’s not always an easy thing. Sometimes the difficulty I find with editing my photos, is that I already know which photo would be “the best” out of the hundreds that I took. So I gravitate to that one image, process it, and share it online. After that, it’s too easy for me to forget the rest of the photographs I have, some which I have barely even looked at or considered. They just end up collecting dust in my Lightroom catalog.

For the location in this image, I had already processed and shared the above photo, which I believed to be the best of the bunch. Then, nearly six months later, I found myself going through the photos again. I noticed the image at the top of the post, or rather, set of images (I bracketed my exposure to process it as HDR), and decided to see what I could do. Lo and behold, I ended up with a photo that I feel is as strong as the first frame. Who knew that this was sitting in my Lightroom catalog, just waiting for me to find it!

Whenever I make a discovery like this from an older shoot, it encourages me to find more. It’s always great to get out and make new photos, but we don’t always have that luxury on a regular basis. Even for me, as a person in which photography is my career, I tend to find myself behind a computer more than I would like. When that happens (or when I just cannot get out of the house) then “treasure hunting” for photos I have already taken is usually the next best thing.

What old photos have you found sitting on your hard-drive that ended up surprising you, too?

This article was originally published on