Repetition

Paul Indigo writes on Beyond the Obvious what’s probably the best tip any photographer needs to know:

So let me a share a few ‘secrets’ about getting ‘once in a lifetime’ images again and again. It all comes down to luck. You were there and everything fell into place perfectly, just at that moment just as you pushed the shutter button. Look at many of the astounding photographs of our time and what do you think? Yes, that photographer was darn lucky to be there at that moment.

While I’d encourage you to read the whole post, this one part struck a chord with me personally:

After the shoot I reflect on the images I’ve taken and how they can be improved further. Often the key to getting those ‘once in a lifetime’ shots is to use the knowledge you gained the first time shoot and go back and do it all again, if you have the opportunity. And then go back again. And again. Always refining and pushing it further. Never settle for second best.

I’ve always said that the key to a great photo is luck, and I’ve previously tried to make the same point Paul made above (albeit less eloquently). Just being out there with your camera, a lot, separates good from mediocre photographers.

Personally, I’ve also found myself revisiting the same places and subjects over and over. Because every time I do, I’ve learned since the last time I was there, and learn something new from the experience of re-shooting it. It’s something that’s been very valuable to me as a learning tool over the years, and one I’d encourage others to try. Go back to the first place/subject you ever took a photo of, and take a new one – you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve changed since then. Then do it again a year from now, and again, and again.

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