Revisiting and Revising Old Photos

I’ve been experimenting with new finishes on old photos. These are pictures with which I was perfectly satisfied in 2018.  In 2019 my tastes have either changed or I’ve learned to appreciate different looks and finishes.

Here is a photo from last year. I had liked the curves on the model’s profile and the symmetry afforded by her big loop earring. I also liked the solid blue of the background wall and thought it a nice complement to her dark chocolate complexion. 

This year I applied a brighter treatment. In Lightroom I lightened her skin tone by increasing the white clipping. The blue wall was consequently brightened and the picture overall, feels more vibrant and alive.

I thought to check out the same picture in black & white. I’ve found that B&W treatments often transform photos in unexpected ways.

In this case, the loss of color focused attention on her features rather than her outline; the monotone emphasized the change in texture from her forehead to her hair and the silver ear loop looked more solid and anchored the whole picture. 

Finally I thought to transcribe it all by drawing a pencil sketch. I’m kidding! I used Netmuse to transform the photo into a picture based on their ‘Blue Charcoal’ style.

This was one of the more effective Netmuse transforms  that I’ve tried. Not all photos fare well with the tool. It seems to do better with pictures that have clean and simple lines with well differentiated textures and tones. In this case, I think it this photo did very well. 

What do you think? Have you every done something similar with your photos and surprised yourself?  Let me know. I’d love to hear your comments.  

Original photo taken in Cuba 2018.  Refinished in June 2019.

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