If you don't make notes and learn something from your shortcomings, you're doomed to keep repeating those photographic mistakes and inevitably waste precious time retouching those mistakes.
For my benefit, I've created a small diagram. It depicts the cycle of learning resulting from shooting, retouching, and preparing. Please see (click) below:
Now I'll admit, the lag between retouching and preparing for a shoot can be a lot longer than you'd hope for thus hindering the learning process. But that's not an excuse. Make notes. Mental notes, handwritten notes, post-it notes, I don't care. Do something so that you'll remember your mistakes from the last shoot.
For example. For the next shoot, I'll try not to put the light so damn close to the model. I'll also look more closely at the model's skin before pulling out the 7" reflector. I'll try to remember that decreasing the AB800's power via the JrX requires dumping the power before shooting the next frame.
Shooting and retouching should be 2-way-streets (both transmitting Tx and receiving Rx... you could call each a "transceiver" LOL! *mimicks Steve Urkel snort/laugh). Anyway, I mentioned it before but it's a reciprocating process that's moderated by several variables including but not limited to creativity, reflection (assimilation of lessons learned), and other inputs like blogs, forums, etc. Hey look, I actually learned something from my Masters in Psychology :)
My problem is that the lag between retouching and preparations creates a disconnect or as I like to call it "impaired learning" :) Anyway, don't take this post too seriously, the diagram was drawn in a few minutes and really not well-thought out. There are many other moderating variables that go into the cycle and it's I'm sure the learning process isn't that simple, but I didn't want to make it complicated either. The point is that I need to be aware of this process in order to optimize it and benefit from it!