Three main reasons to stop chimping right now

Jan 16, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Three main reasons to stop chimping right now

Jan 16, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When it comes to chimping, it seems that photographers are divided into two groups: those who cry against it, and those who can’t get rid of this bad habit. It’s especially bad if you photograph sports, events, concert and other fast-changing environments and events. If you look at your screen after every few photos, David Bergman gives you three main reasons why you should quit it as soon as possible.

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David shares an interesting story how chimping got its name. He heard it when covering a basketball game as a photojournalist in 1990s. Digital cameras were pretty new back then, and all photographers were staring at their displays right after the game. This was the first time they could see their photos immediately after the game, but also see their competitors’ photos. David says they all looked sounded like a bunch of primates, and hence the term “chimping”.

Now, I think chimps are cute and smart, and we shouldn’t mind being compared to them. But, there are other, more important reasons why you shouldn’t chimp at your camera, and here are the three main ones David points out:

Missing the moments

This is the first point everyone has against chimping. As David Bergman puts it, “the part of being a photographer is not missing little moments between the big moments”. And although the term “chimping” arose at a sports game, this doesn’t go only for sports photography.

Sometimes while you’re taking posed photos of people, you can take great shots after they actually stop posing. This is when you capture real-life moments and make memories, and you can only do it if you shoot instead of looking at the photos on your camera’s display.

Chimping can make you lazy

It’s simple – if you look at your screen and see a photo you like, you may not push yourself further and try making a better one. It not only makes you lazy, but prevents you from progressing, too.

Chimping takes you out of real-life experiences

Last but not last, chimping makes you distant from real-life, and from what’s happening around you. In a way, it’s similar to staring at your phone without being aware what’s going on around you. David gives an example of a concert: you take a few photos, and then spend five minutes looking at them and missing the show. Not only will you miss potentially awesome photographic moments, but you also miss enjoying the concert.

When is it okay to look at the back of your camera?

Of course, you can’t avoid looking at your camera screen, and you shouldn’t do it at all costs. You should do it before the shoot, while you’re setting up. This is actually the only way you can check if everything is set properly. But David suggests that, after you are all set up – you just take photos and don’t check them all the time.

In my opinion, it’s also okay to do it if you’re capturing still scenes that don’t involve too much action. But still, there’s no need to do it after every single shot. And of course, when you need to focus on capturing action and interesting moments, chimping doesn’t do you a favor.

I had this habit as a young photographer, I got used to it and kept it for a long time. I think it was only a couple of years ago that I stopped doing it so often. How about you? Do you chimp at your camera? Do you think it’s a bad habit? Share your thought in the comments.

[No Chimping: Two Minute Tips with David Bergman | Adorama]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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9 responses to “Three main reasons to stop chimping right now”

  1. Todd Sipes Avatar
    Todd Sipes

    This is pretty irrational and solely depends on the genre of photography you’re shooting.

  2. Scott Waltrip Avatar
    Scott Waltrip

    If you shoot Sony you have no need to

  3. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    Depends on the kind of photography. Part of what i do id school photography. Every shot has to be checked for expression and blinking.

  4. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
    Gvido Mūrnieks

    This is stupid.
    This “chimping” is something that happens to people who learn photography in digital age. It is only normal.
    Most of people “chimp” because they want to know if composition, expression, focus, or any other settings are on the spot. Most of photographers just grow out of it, when the camera becomes a second nature and they develop a ‘feel’, when you get the frame.

    So, to every photo ‘teacher’ who says “stop chimping” – I will say “get of my ass – you are helping no one!”

    1. Stephen Mattison Avatar
      Stephen Mattison

      OK, but you’re missing the point, and lots of great shots! Doh! Haha!??

  5. WillMondy Avatar
    WillMondy

    I chimp for a few different reasons

    Level horizons during moonlit landscapes (good luck getting it level when its so dark!)
    Exposing to the right (have to check histogram after the photo has been taken)
    Checking for correct exposure
    Checking for star trails in night shots (may need shorter exposure)
    Checking focus (try focusing in moonlight!)

    most of the time, I don’t chimp, but it can be useful

  6. Ralph Hightower Avatar
    Ralph Hightower

    I’ve been shooting film (1980) longer than I’ve used digital (2014). Even though I bought my Canon 5D III in December 2013, I continue to shoot with my Canon A-1 (new in 1980) and New F-1 (used in July 2013).

    Image review was neat when I first started using my 5D, but I didn’t use it that much since I’m still pretty much in “film mode”. I turned off image review on my 5D.

  7. noname Avatar
    noname

    The idea to focus on shooting instead of sneaking something that should be done in post to the shooting process is great but fast feedback loops is the key to getting better results. It would be foolish to not utilize the benefits of instantly seeing the photo and histograms to improve the photos you take.

  8. Mike Avatar
    Mike

    I do anti-chimping. I don’t even look at my pictures when I get home and immediately delete them.