And they never will as long as we keep those nasty huge .RAW files (in my case, .NEF as I'm a Nikon user). The only price we pay as we keep 'em is storage. Is it worth of? Sure it is. Recently I started to re-discover some captures that I did as far back as 2012 and I got a pleasant surprise: not only all of them were bad, as a matter of fact I discovered two types of files: some of them that had not passed the curation at that given moment and were warmly welcomed to the present porftolio, and in the other hand, some of them that were indeed post processed at that moment, received wether minor tweaks or a completely new post-processing. Let's take about the two examples in more detail.
In the first group we have those that didn't make it. I have to admit is a very pleasant feeling to "re-discover" those old images as they add quantity and quality to our portfolio. Depending on how old they are, when we sit in front of the computer to post-process them feels like we are working in a completely new file that just came from a recent successful photo trip. They also tell something about how we grow up as photographers and curators in the last years, as we are actually seeing something in that image that we have not seen before. Could it be that our filter when it comes to decide which image stays and which one goes does not necessarily get tighter, but somehow different in the sense that we evaluate different aspects of the photograph? This could be one of the reasons we are viewing them from another perspective and we actually find them interesting. In any case, we should travel back in time through our folders and explore our old work to see if we could discover something that was kept aside for a reason we could not remember.
Then we have the other group: the one that we DID process but when we take a look at them, we sometimes feel something short of absolute repulsion: the reality is that our taste gets refined over the years and it directly affects the way we develop our digital files. I personally overused HDR as it was something "new" that it was worth of trying, plus I had what I think it was a love affair with the "Clarity" slider in Lightroom/ACR that led my images to look unnaturally sharp that you might be led to think that if you touched the screen you could get a paper cut (I'm not kidding, check my old portfolio in and check it out for yourself. Added to this, how the hardware we own evolves over time affects the way we edit as well, and we get used to its own limitations e.g. reduced dynamic range or easily burned highlights. This selection of images that we bring "back to life" and "back to a present state" really gives us a hint of how we evolved over time.
I cannot recommend you enough to wipe the dust off old files and try to apply a filter, curate them and post process them again. Even though if we are "kind of" happy with the original result, just give them another chance. It will serve a double purpose: in one hand it will increase your portfolio, enhance and diversify it, and in the other hand, we will learn about our own progress over the time regarding curating and developing digital files. This last thing will help us focus on our improvements and it will reveal the path that we are taking from now on by evaluating where are we coming from.
So now, tell me, would you re-discover your own captures? If so, which are the best examples that you had?