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It’s good to keep moving forward and trying new things all the time. There are times when going back to an old photography location can be a great idea, though. Even if you have a stellar photo from that location it doesn’t mean you can’t get an equally good image that has different characteristics.
The easiest places to make return visits to are of course those local to you, but heading back to that far-off exotic destination is also rewarding. Let’s take a look at those eight reasons to revisit a photography location, and why this will improve your work.
The earth is a constantly changing and dynamic entity, that means you’ll almost certainly get a different image if you go to the exact same spot and photograph it again. There are even projects that show the same location photographed every day, with the intent of showing subtle changes. You don’t need to go every day, of course, but you might take a shot of the location in the snow, and one in the sun.
The following is a list of variables that should ensure you can return to a photography location, and get something different from it each time.
New photography equipment can really open up other creative angles that you’d never thought of before. One of the best pieces of equipment any new photographer can purchase is a tripod, which will then open up the door to lots of long exposure photography.
The addition of a new lens to your camera equipment will open up yet further possibilities, especially if you’re trying a wide-angle or fisheye lens for the first time. Those who like light painting should look at the pixelstick, a great tool for this type of photography.
New gear often means learning a new technique. There are plenty of techniques you can learn with your existing gear.
As a landscape photographer, you may have photographed a location before using a technique like digital blending. Of course, once you know this new technique you’ll want to revisit a photography location and see if you can improve on your old shots. Equally, if you’re a portrait photographer learning to use
Equally, if you’re a portrait photographer learning to use off-camera flash will really enhance your work. This would give you a good reason to go back and shoot a place again.
There really is no better reason to revisit a photography location than some kind of event happening there. A big cultural event can give a location much more context and story, enriching your photo. The potential for unique photos that other photographers won’t be able to replicate also exists at these kinds of events.
Photographing an event also presents a good test of your skill, there are no second chances with these type of photos. Lastly, it’s great to experience a place at its vibrant best, which will be the case during a festival or event. It’s always worth running a google search on a particular location to see what yearly festivals they have, this way you can plan to be there during that time.
The longer the gap between revisiting a photo location, the more your photography will have changed. This can be a great way to gauge your improvement as well.
Lay out your best five photographs from the first trip you made, and then your best five when you return this time. Are there differences? How have you improved as a photographer? Is there something you wanted to improve that you still need to work on? It is typical for a photographer to first improve by making their photos more minimal. After a period of learning the next step is to add story and context to a more minimal scene, this is a step-by-step process.
If you know a good landscape photographer they’ll likely tell you they revisit the same spot until they get the photograph they want. The truth is you never know whether you will get the perfect sky. This can be especially frustrating if you need to travel several hours to reach the location. Weather can change fast, and these days pollution can also be a factor.
The need to make repeat journeys then is important if you wish your photo to be striking. Even once you have that perfect shot going back can be fun. Can you take this scene with different weather conditions and make another striking image?
As a photographer, it’s always a good idea to have some stock locations you know about. These are places you’ve been before, and you will know very well. The big advantage here is you will automatically know the best location and shooting angles.
That means no losing the shot because you’re scrambling around looking for the best perspective. Landscape locations very often work well for portraits as well, and prior knowledge of a place will help you choose a good spot for this. It’s always good to have a killer location in your back pocket.
When friends come and visit, and especially if they’re photographers, it’s great to show them a nice place. They’ll appreciate the local knowledge passed on to them. The chances are one day you’ll benefit when someone takes you to a great location that they know about, so sharing is always a good idea.
The other benefit of going with another photographer is they’ll have fresh eyes. They may spot something you missed, and give you further ideas about how you can photograph that location.
Do you really need any of the above reasons to revisit a photography location? Those areas of natural beauty or the cool festival you went to the year before are always great to see again.
Let’s see your favorite photography location in the comments below. What draws you back to this place, and do you have more than one favorite photo from there? Is there anywhere you’ve been to that you’d like to visit again? We’re all looking forward to hearing your stories in the comments below!