8 Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

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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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

This is a great vantage point in Busan. I returned to this location to take this photo.

1 – Conditions are never the same!

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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

A different angle of the bridge in Busan. This time photographed from the coast.

  • Season –  Provided you live in a temperate area that sees a change of the seasons, you can make the most of this with your photography. Taking shots of the same location in spring, summer, fall and winter is a classic photography idea.
  • The tide  If you’re in a coastal location the change in the tides can alter the scene you photograph dramatically. You can check the state of the tide at this website, and remember to stay safe in coastal areas.
  • The sun position – This is similar to the seasonal change, though the position of the sun could make or break the photo more than if there is snow or not. The position of the sun can be planned before you go back using the suncalc website.
  • Astro-photography – You may have photographed a place by day, but how about photographing it at night? You could try photographing star trails, or even the Milky Way. As with the sun, the position of the Milky Way shifts in the sky throughout the year, so prior planning is needed when shooting the night sky.
8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

Everything looks great with snow! Snow is one of the best weather conditions in which to shoot.

2 – Revisit a photography location with brand new gear!

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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

New gear is a great reason to revisit a photo location. In this photo I used a glass ball, it’s one of the first photos I took with it.

3 – New photography techniques

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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

A new technique such as steel wool spinning can lead you to revisit a photography location.

4 – A special event is happening

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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

A fireworks festival will often show a location in a different way.

5 – Improvement as a photographer

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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

As you develop as a photographer the angles you use will change. You should be able to look back and see your improvement.

6 – Revisit a photo location until you get the best weather

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?

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

This is what happened the first time I visited this spot. The day was nice, then dust and smog rolled in.

7 – Previous experience of a location

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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

I’d shot this bridge several times before. I used my prior knowledge of this location to choose a new angle.

8 – Visit with friends

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.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

Infrared is another photography technique that opens new creative possibilities.

Get out there and play it again!

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!

This was one of the first photos I took at this location. Return visits have meant better photos.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

This bridge in Busan is photogenic. It’s fair to say one of my first photos of it isn’t that dynamic.

8 Good Reasons to Revisit the Same Photography Location Again and Again

This bridge at Seonamsa in South Korea was a favorite photo when I took it. I have since photographed this place several more times.

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Simon Bond is a National Geographic featured photographer from the UK. He’s an educator who shares his creative style of photos. Want to learn more about refraction? Do just that by getting Simon's refraction photography course.

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  • Rena Batt

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/701b72ca98615a60a8bb2809850888440c5abc85abfb6ff55896cf0f5328ec12.jpg Thanks, Simon for your insight. I just started photography and look forward to getting better.

  • pete guaron

    I guess I grew up on this, Simon. When you’re a kid, you generally don’t move around as much, but you do get to see the same places or things, over and over, under all sorts of different conditions and lighting effects, and from all sorts of different angles or perspectives. And that’s about when I was given my first cam – a Kodak Box Brownie.

    A few short years later, at about 13 or 14, I was introduced to Monet’s series on haystacks, and his series on water lilies. It kind of snowballed after that, for me.

    Everything about photography – for me – is a study of shapes, lines, relationships, light, shade,, colours and – with it – atmospheric conditions, which play a major role in governing some of the other factors. And I find I learn so much more from photographing the same thing again, under different conditions, than if I went chasing rainbows and tried to capture something totally different.

    Then – armed with that knowledge – it is so much easier to take photos of other subjects.

  • Simon Bond

    Hi Rena, glad you like the article. Nice photo, I like the harmony of the white swan against the snow.

  • Simon Bond

    Hey Pete. Yes i couldn’t agree more with what you say there. Learning your craft in your local area before going onto other places is a really good thing to do.

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