Revisiting the same location is a great way to improve your photographic portfolio. It’s also an excellent way to improve your skills as a photographer.

I frequently visit the same areas time and again. Depending upon the season, time of day and weather, a familiar spot can look dramatically different — and sometimes far more visually interesting.

Why visit the same spot again?

It may seem boring or mundane to keep photographing the same spot repeatedly. Sometimes it is, but repetition is fertile ground for coming up with new and interesting compositions and images.

For example, there’s a local forest stream I have photographed dozens of times. What makes a natural area such as a stream such a strong candidate for repeated visits is that nearly every time I go, something has changed. Water levels vary throughout the year, vegetation changes and new trees fall in storms. With each of these changes, the possible compositions, colors and overall look of the scene changes.

Of course, visiting at different times of day dramatically changes the mood of the scene as well. I certainly don’t always return home with my new ‘best’ image of the forest and stream. I do, however, always have something different than I’ve photographed before.

Taking full advantage of repeated visits to the same location

The stream is a great area for repeated visits because it’s only a short drive away from my home. However, even areas further away work well for photographing multiple times. Acadia National Park is a little over an hour’s drive away, which makes my visits more planned and less spontaneous, and this has photographic benefits as well.

For areas that require more time to visit, I keep notes. I make note of possible compositions, areas that might work well during different tides, how the sun lights a scene during that time of year and more. There have been many images I like that were only possible because I had previously photographed at the location and learned something for future trips.

In order to capture a night image at this location, I had to scout it during the daytime and make notes about possible night sky compositions. In addition to planning ahead, I learned something new each time I visited the location.

I understand that some areas are very difficult to visit again, especially if you enjoy capturing images when traveling. However, it’s worth finding areas near you that you can conveniently visit, especially during different weather conditions and seasons. There may be a great image waiting for you in an area you’ve been many times.

But no matter the quality of the images you capture, revisiting an area repeatedly will help hone your skills as a photographer. After all, it’s fun to learn and improve, and when it comes to learning, there’s no substitute for capturing images.