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  • Emily

What old photos look like when they age

Today I want to show you how photos age and why that matters.


When printing how does an old photo behave?

If your image is old it will either have to shrink so much the photo quality can’t print beyond a thumbnail OR, best case/in most cases scenario it has to be re-edited.


For those of you reading this and hoping for a day to come where you have tons of time to catch up on photos. Please know you have about 10 years before your images enter into the first category and about 3-4 years before they probably need to be re-edited. Here are a few examples of my kids. 7 year old photo example - my daughter, now 12, and in Grade 7 senior kindergarten shot below. I was printing photos for my school book and I realized that my perfectly photographed image - the lighting conditions were great, printed beautifully at the time - had aged. It wasn’t a huge deal I quickly edited it and hit print because it will be printed in a 4x6 size but if I wanted to print it any bigger than that it probably wouldn’t look great. The first image is pre-edit taken off my camera 7 years ago.



If I tried to print this image, or the photo wasn’t taken in natural light, with minimal shadows it would have been trickier. I always tell my Chaos to Keepsake students that your photos will usually print a few shades darker. So the photo of Georgia above would be darker and her skin would look orangy. In other words this photo, when taken, was great.

Second photo is edited.



I bet you’re wondering - well you could have lightened it a bit more. And, I agree but then I would lose the detailing which basically means her jaw line, blacks around her eyes, and the chapped sweet little lips she ALWAYS had would no longer be there. The more editing you do the more soft it becomes. Crisp photos should be three dimensional.

Here is another indoor example. The photo below is an image of my little guy - 9 years ago. The photo was taken indoors with a bit of natural light on my phone and looked like the after when I took it initially. Age made it a lot darker.



Photo Number 2 is what it looked like when I took it - so I reedited it and balanced the colors.