The power of revisiting and photographing familiar locations

Aug 24, 2023

Andrea Livieri

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

The power of revisiting and photographing familiar locations

Aug 24, 2023

Andrea Livieri

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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Revisiting a location you have previously photographed is one of the best tricks up a photographer’s sleeve.

Not only does it allow you to revisit familiar scenes, but it also provides you with new opportunities to capture unique perspectives and expand your creative vision.

[Related reading: Five awesome things revisiting the same location can do for your photography]

I love going back to the same places over and over again! It might sound repetitive, but I never get tired of them. There’s always something new to discover and get inspired by each time I visit.

These places hold a special meaning in my heart, and every visit feels like seeing them with fresh eyes. They can be quite challenging to capture in photos because so many photographers have already taken countless shots there. But I enjoy the challenge of putting my own unique spin on these popular locations.

It’s amazing how revisiting a place I’ve been to multiple times is like meeting an old friend. I’m reminded of why I fell in love with it in the first place while also being surprised by hidden gems I hadn’t noticed before.

You know, you can’t truly grasp the full beauty of a location in just one visit.

There are always different aspects and perspectives to explore. And the more I go back, the deeper my connection becomes.

It’s like building a personal relationship that grows more intimate with time.

While it’s possible to create great portfolio images after a single visit, I find that it’s often after multiple visits that I can truly break free from existing representations and capture my own unique images.

Repetition brings a deeper understanding and allows me to infuse my personal vision into the photographs.

So, here are five reasons why I love returning to locations I’ve already photographed:

1. Familiarity and Intimacy

By immersing yourself in a location you’ve previously photographed, you develop a deep connection and gain a profound understanding of its nuances.

You become attuned to its unique characteristics, such as the changing light throughout the day, the seasonal variations, and the subtle shifts in natural elements.

It’s like unlocking the secrets of a familiar friend.

The more time you spend in a place, the more familiar you become with it. This intimacy will give you an advantage in capturing the essence of the location, enabling you to anticipate the perfect moments to create impactful and emotive photographs.

Photography is more than just showing up, snapping a well-composed photo, and calling it a day. It involves establishing a deep relationship with your subject.

As the years go by, the scene undergoes its own metamorphosis while you, as the photographer, also evolve. These changes find their way into your photos, capturing the dynamic shifts and growth both in the subject and your artistic vision.

2. Refine your previous work

Sometimes, you may have taken photos that were just on the edge of being great but didn’t quite make the cut. However, with a fresh perspective, different equipment, or under different conditions, those images could truly shine.

That’s why I encourage you to not only review the successful images from your previous trips but also take a close look at the ones that didn’t quite work out.

A good practice to enhance your photography skills is to create a mini bucket list of the shots you missed during your photo session. Write down what you wanted to capture, why you couldn’t get it, and how you could do better next time.

This will help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and learn from your experience. And, even if you don’t get a chance to go back to the same location, this exercise will help you understand why you missed those shots and how you can improve in the future.

Ask yourself why some of the shots fell short and consider what changes or adjustments you could make to achieve a different outcome.

This reflective process can provide valuable insights and inspire you to approach similar situations with a new creative vision.

3. Weather and Seasonal Variations

One of the most significant advantages of returning to familiar locations is witnessing and capturing the diverse effects of weather and seasonal changes on the landscape.

Different seasons offer distinct lighting conditions, colour palettes, and natural phenomena. By revisiting a location throughout the year, you can capture the beauty of each season, from vibrant autumn foliage to blooming flowers in spring or even snow-covered landscapes in winter.

You will discover new and different aspects of the place every time you go there, and each photo will reveal something unique and special.

Seeing the location with different lighting and different conditions can oftentimes influence how you see different compositions.

These variations can add depth and richness to your portfolio, showcasing the versatility and ever-changing nature of the landscape.

4. Unexplored Perspectives and Details

When you revisit a location, you have the advantage of knowing its best vantage points and compositions from your previous experiences. This knowledge enables you to refine your compositions further and experiment with different techniques to create more visually compelling images.

Expanding your exploration beyond the obvious viewpoints will allow you to explore new perspectives that you may not have considered during your initial visit and push your creativity further.

Whether it’s finding a unique foreground element, experimenting with different focal lengths, or utilizing unconventional camera angles, revisiting a location encourages you to think outside the box and unlock new creative possibilities.

5. Dive Deeper Into Beloved Landscapes

Just as it is impossible to traverse the entire globe, you cannot revisit every location you’ve ever been to. Instead, focus on returning to the places that deeply resonate with your soul.

It is in these cherished locations that your passion truly ignites, radiating through your photographs. Passion fuels and revitalizes us, and it is a driving force behind the activities we truly enjoy.

New and unfamiliar destinations challenge us to see the world through fresh eyes, but familiar landscapes push us to uncover novel perspectives in the familiar.

Seeing new things doesn’t always equate to seeing in new ways. In fact, when faced with a multitude of new variables, we often fall back on our habitual patterns.

However, when we encounter the same sights once again, we are compelled to discover fresh viewpoints or delve even deeper into our existing perceptions.

Conclusions

Photography is a continuous journey of growth and improvement, and returning to familiar locations provides an excellent opportunity to gauge your progress and witness the evolution of your skills.

It’s a great opportunity to identify areas where you need to improve, such as your technical abilities, composition, post-processing techniques, or storytelling capabilities.

I want you to find a special place that you can go back to again and again, even if it’s just a nearby park or your own backyard. You’ll start to see beyond the obvious shot and explore new possibilities. You’ll uncover hidden gems and learn amazing things about that place’s character.

A good photo is one that makes you feel something. When you keep going back to a place or a subject, you get to know its moods and emotions better.

Maybe your photos won’t improve over time, but they’ll become more meaningful. A place you revisit is a place you connect with on a deeper level.

This practice will not only boosts your confidence but also serves as a reminder of your growth as a photographer, motivating you to keep pushing boundaries and reaching new heights.

So, don’t be afraid to revisit your favourite places or explore the well-known ones. You never know what new inspiration awaits you, just like revisiting a favourite song, movie, or book.

The more you engage with it, the more it becomes a part of you and fuels your creativity.

I would love to hear about your experiences. Is there a particular place you love photographing repeatedly?

About the Author

Andrea Livieri is a full-time travel and landscape photographer and educator based in Italy. He regularly runs photography workshops and tours. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Instagram. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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