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Getting the Chimp off Your Back

A Guest Post by Jeff Guyer.

Chimping“Chimping.” We’ve all done it at one time or another. For the few of you who aren’t familiar with the term, let’s just say it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with family day at the zoo. In the photographer’s lexicon, “chimping” is the act of checking every image on the back of the camera immediately after every capture. Click…check…click…check. You get the idea.

More mysterious than the chimping itself, however, is the question of why? Does everything really change that much from frame-to-frame? Is it really worth missing a potentially great image because you’re constantly checking the shots you already have? If you nailed it on DSC_7427, do you really still need to check DSC_7428? Photographers who don’t chimp will often chastise those that do, chalking it all up to a lack of talent or experience.

I DISAGREE!!

There are plenty of extremely talented, highly experienced (and very successful) photographers in the world who can’t help but be drawn to the warm glow of their LCD after every shot. As someone who not only works as a full-time photographer, but also teaches photography, for me it all comes down to confidence. Regardless of whether we choose to admit it, at one time or another each and every one of us loses confidence. And that, my friends, is where the whole thing starts.

The digital era truly revolutionized photography. While most of the advancements were positive, I think the instant gratification that the LCD provides also created a stumbling block. In the days of film, you either got it right or you didn’t. If you were smart you bracketed your shots, and if you knew your way around a darkroom you could make certain fixes, but when all was said and done, you either got it right or you didn’t. Digital, however, changed that– allowing us to cast away our light meters, dive right in, and check our work as we go. A good thing, right? Not entirely, because new-found convenience has also, to an extent, eroded our confidence. One photographer went so far as to tell me recently that LCD actually stands for “Lowers Confidence Dramatically.”

So, what do we do about it?

Do what I do. Take a day or a weekend and shoot like you’re shooting film. Start with gaffer’s tape and cover up your LCD. Make sure to use a tape that won’t leave a sticky residue behind. I see this troubles you. It’s ok…breathe…no need to hyperventilate. Everything will be okay– I promise. I do this with all of my students and haven’t lost one yet. Got that screen covered? Good. Now make sure you’re in Manual mode and get out there and shoot a “roll” of 24 images– 36 if you’re feeling daring. Trust your knowledge of exposure. Trust your grasp of the fundamentals. Trust the light, the colors, the shadows. Most importantly, trust yourself.

After you’ve shot your “roll,” pull your card and DO NOT sit down at your computer. Take it to the drug store and have your images printed. Don’t do it yourself at the kiosk. Drop it off, get a cup of coffee, and come back in an hour. Now it’s time to check your prints. How did they come out? As you expected? Better? Worse? Most of us are our own toughest critics, but try looking at these prints objectively. What works and what doesn’t? Was your shutter speed spot on? Was your aperture too narrow? Did you have focus issues? Take notes.

Now you finally get to put your memory card into the loving, warm embrace of your card reader. Be sure to open your images in a program that lets you review the embedded metadata and compare it to the notes you’ve taken for each image. So much of what you need is right there in the image data– from shutter speed and aperture to ISO and focal length. Do this often enough and you’ll find something else.

Your confidence.

DPS1

To be clear, I’m not saying that every photographer checking their LCD is doing so because they lack confidence. Portrait photographers are making sure smiles are right and eyes are open. Sports photographers are thinking ahead to which images they’ll upload to their editors at halftime. We all have any number of legitimate reasons to double-check ourselves. Just promise me that you won’t become so reliant on your LCD that you miss out on why you picked up a camera in the first place.

The great thing about this exercise is that it works its magic regardless of where you fall on the spectrum. Beginners, hobbyists, seasoned professionals, and everyone in between will benefit from learning to trust what’s in their head at least as much as they trust what’s on the back of their camera. Will it get the chimp off your back? Maybe, maybe not– some habits are very hard to break. But while you’re trying, at least you’ll carry him with confidence.

Jeff Guyer is a photographer based in Atlanta, GA. In addition to shooting portraits, architecture, sports, weddings, and just about anything else that pauses in front of his lens, he also teaches a Digital Photo Challenges class for kids. Follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/guyerphotography or on Twitter @guyerphoto

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  • Ano

    Great idea, one thing. That is a gorilla and not a chimp.

  • Steve Grenot

    Would you buy a DSLR with out a monitor. Though todays camers are a lot better than 3 years ago IE light meters and color balance. However I’am still going to check becauseI can. It was one more reason film took a back seat to the digtal age.
    long live film.

  • Laura

    I disagree, I need to check my LCD when shooting families, especially width multiple children. I may have my settings bang on, without checking but I want to make sure before I leave the session that I have the right shots with kids looking eyes open and good expressions, so if at least for a least resort I can composit heads and make a good picture.

  • Ralph Hightower

    I got my first DSLR six weeks ago and I haven’t chimped any shots yet. I’m still shooting as I have for the past 34 years with a film camera. Now, I did take more photos of my dogs in the snow than if I had been shooting film.

  • Kathleen Mekailek

    The only time I check my images is when I am shooting animals at the shelter. I want to make sure I get several with eyes in focus, playful, loving looks, that will help them get adopted. Even then, I only check after a series of shots. I wouldn’t say, I have confidence because I’m a beginner (6 months), but I don’t see the necessity of checking how each image looks- just when I think I have enough.

  • http://beautifulmaze.com/ Kendra

    while I don’t “chimp” that much I have been known to on occasion – especially if shooting candid shots of people. But my next question is that so many of the newer cameras only have the LCD screen and no viewfinder! Find that extremely frustrating but in your example above not sure how well that would work out.

  • cpopin

    I really don’t share the author’s feeling. An LCD screen is like any other tool for a photographer; it helps, but doesn’t tell you for sure that you got it right. It can tell you it’s wrong. You know that the only way to guarantee that you got the perfect shot is to print it. So, you take steps to make sure you’ve got enough in the can to work with post-processing. Whether that means bracketing or LCD zooming, do whatever it takes to hedge your bets against missing the shot. As an old school film photographer, I don’t feel the need to pretend I’m shooting film.

    If you’re shooting without a sense of doubt, you’re not taking the assignment seriously enough. You might as well be shooting drunk.

  • Christine

    This topic is sort of silly. Why on earth would I not check to see that the exposure is correct? Particularly if I’m somewhere that I’ll never be again? Digital cameras make it easy to learn on the fly & fix errors. I think it’s extremely arrogant to think you know everything about exposure & go around acting like you’re shooting film. I don’t like surprises such as poor exposure or unsharp photos.

  • Steve Dionne

    The fundamental rules remain the same regardless of the topic and the years….never heard the term “chimping”….clearing do not get the correlation between the term and a photo of a Mountain Gorilla……guess I am not that smart…..cause I really miss the point of this “post”…….frankly of all the useless features in the DSLR era the LCD is definitely on my Fab Five!

  • Enda Mc Cormack

    I don’t agree at all. I believe that by constantly checking and adjusting your settings and Histograms you attain a higher level of Professionalism. Its like suggesting that a painter paints blindfold and nevers checks his canvas.

  • http://www.stevegandy.com/photography Steve Gandy

    I think that the nay-sayers in the comments here missed a key point, the author said “..about this exercise” meaning that he isn’t arguing for you change but to possibly just try this _exercise_ to increase your skill. It is just another instructional technique that may or may not work for you (any individual photographer). I see a lot of great ideas on DPS for techniques that are just ideas that might help you progress and improve. And I also see a lot of comments that totally miss the point that they are just suggestions. Lighten up! Try it or don’t. No one said you “have to” do it.

Some older comments

  • Wetmoron

    October 7, 2012 10:54 am

    The editor of the paper I shoot high school sports for would not understand if I tried to explain that I accidentally moved the scroll wheel, changed shutter speed, and didn't get the shots he needs for today's edition. In today's digital world, if you don't "chimp" you probably don't really, really need to absolutely get the shots. If you MUST get the shots, you probably already know how to "chimp" just the right amount and at the right time.

    .

  • Ralph Hightower

    October 7, 2012 08:38 am

    I don't chimp. However, I will occasionally check the frame counter on the top. This past week, I was at a dog show; I heard "click, click, click" to my one "zip" (I have a motor drive for my camera; it can shoot 5 frames per second)). In the line for lunch, the guy behind me asked "You shooting film" You shooting black and white?" I should've asked him how he knew I was using B&W film because he was correct on both counts. I won't know how the photos turn out until I get the results from the lab.

    I will buy a DSLR, but I haven't decided on what model or how much to spend. However, as long as film is made, my 30 year old Canon A-1 won't be a shelf queen; it will be a second camera.

  • Tim Roper

    October 7, 2012 03:55 am

    One more thought: it is "chimping" to use Live View mode? With that you get to cheat and see the results before you even press the shutter.

  • Keith J Chesworth

    October 6, 2012 07:25 pm

    AS a rank amateur I only have an Olympus E500 which just flashes the image after taking for a couple of seconds unless I start button pressing, which means that I could lose a lot because if I have taken, then 'it is happening now'.

    My answer since the earliest 'D' cameras, to point and shoot then keep shooting until the moment has gone or the area has been saturated twice over (at least) (do a lot of Panoramic/composite stuff) and carry high content cards.

    The problem is that, as the amateur, the work is mainly done in public places competing for space with that public, many of whom can be quite aggressive to the cameraman, so the when the clear space opens the challenge is to get as much in and sort it all out in post production.

  • K. Davis

    October 6, 2012 11:18 am

    As an educator, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on this article. Please know that instant feedback is one of the best ways we learn. As a new photographer, I am getting the feel for the triad and the best way to become familiar with lighting conditions, etc. is to gage things against the variables I see in my LCD screen. Sorry hardliners...digital is a much faster way to do this than film.

  • Mei Teng

    October 6, 2012 10:35 am

    Great article but I tend to agree with both Peter and John D Roach's thoughts on the subject of chimping. I guess at the end of the day, one has to pick a right balance that works one's photography.

  • Rich

    October 6, 2012 02:14 am

    I give top marks to Jeff for his thoughts and insight. I am a negative nut from way back, and when I finally dived into digital, I never much thought of the LCD. It has become something of a habit recently because glasses don't make for simple composition. When shooting landscapes and nature, as a rule of thumb, I allow for cropping and framing when the image is taken, "chimping" has never been a problem. I am also addicted to "Big Rigs", and this is where I have more of a problem, because I want the Rig for a wall mural, so I have to do my cropping and framing through the lens. And here, the advantage of the LCD is limitless. One, I have time to check the composition and modify the next shot accordingly, and two, the Rig isn't going to disappear whilst I check the image. Today, it was a Western Star tow truck, shot as the operator chained a 47 seater Greyhound coach

  • Andrew Gronow

    October 6, 2012 01:58 am

    Good article. Suppose it's a lot easier if you come from a film background.
    I switched my LCD off a long time ago.
    I'll occasionally check the histogram if the shot is unrepeatable, but that's it.
    And the image you used is a Gorilla, not a chimp. Do I get a prize...?

  • John B.

    October 6, 2012 12:29 am

    I took a series of photos and imported them into a movie editor. The aim was to make it look as though a wineglass was magically filling itself up and emptying itself. I added a desert spoonful of water to the glass for each shot; forty-one spoons of water in total. The camera was on a tripod and I had a remote trigger. Camera was on manual. I wish I had chimped the first photo. The camera was slightly out of level, thus making the glass appear out of vertical. It took quite a while to fill that glass but I had to do it all over again.

    I don't care what anyone else thinks about my chimping each photo; it's none of their business. They can do as they wish and I will do as I wish. As for missing shots, it depends what you're shooting. A sporting event would not be a good time to chimp every shot. A sunset would be a good time to chimp. Does this really need to be discussed? Each to their own!

  • Richard Gunther

    October 6, 2012 12:23 am

    I love my Canon 60-D.I simply turn the articulated screen to the camera bodyand leave it there.I very rarely use it at all.But then I'm old enough to have done all my learning on film cameras.

  • iangmcintosh

    October 6, 2012 12:05 am

    I agree with the majority of respondents. There seems to be a holier than thou attitude of photographers from the film days (and yes, I inhaled my share of darkroom chemicals). Whether someone "chimps" is their business. No one, other than the photographer, sees anything but the final images. In my mind, the process doesn't equal the result.

    Personally, I use the LCD screen to ensure my technique is working or not. Since I mainly shoot long exposures with intentional camera movement and zooming, I cannot predict what will be captured in the image without some experimentation. Once I have a setting and movement that I'm comfortable with, I'll go to town and shoot a bunch of shots.

    I do agree, though, that you should spend some time to try "shooting a roll"... 24 or 36 images blind, take it into a colour lab. Get a contact sheet, and or proofs, then decide on how to process the final image. Maybe even pull out that old 35 mm SLR that's gathering dust, and do the full process in real life.

  • Laura

    October 5, 2012 10:24 pm

    Wow, hot topic! I, myself, think it can be very useful to check the image on the LCD; however, it may be most useful if the photographer is using the histogram (which I need to learn to read better). I kind of agree with Naz, in that "chimping" does have a negative connotation to it, and people never use the word kindly. If you need to do it, especially when first learning, then do it. No big deal. People need to relax! For me, I plan on taking your suggestion about taping up my LCD. I am a perfectionist with my images (aren't we all?) and don't like to rely on PS or some other program to "fix" my images. If it doesn't meet my expectations SOOC, there's not much PS can do for it. So, I will do the tape thing, and maybe the one-hour photo lab thing. Someone mentioned that editing in post is important to a good shot and so they won't be doing this exercise; I disagree. I just like the instant gratifcation of sticking my SDHC card in the slot and seeing the results! I can still take notes, and I'm cutting out the middle-man. Thanks for the interesting idea.

  • Naz

    October 5, 2012 04:59 pm

    I'm blind in one eye and can't see otu hte other, and so can't look at the LCD screen anyways, so I guess I won't have to suffer the shame and humiliation of being called a chimper-

    But I'd liek to now discuss a much more troublesome topic- Kangaroo-ing- When a photographer moves the camera up and down tryign to get the composition just right i nthe viewfinder- this is a terrible trend that just screams amateur- back when pros used view cameras, they had to view the image upside down and didn't really know if the composition was spot on and woudl have to wait for the photos to develope before seeign hte final results- but today, with the advent of a rightside up viewfinder, it seems folks just hapily snap away without ever thinking about 'real' composition, and they inevitibly bob their heads up and down when composing in the rightside up viewfinder-

    Just kidding-

  • Justin Donie

    October 5, 2012 03:34 pm

    "How to / How not to" articles are double edged swords. On the one hand, you have people sharing their experiences and preferences based on those experiences ... and that's good. But all too often there's the implied message that one method suits all or that another method should not suit any.

    The fact is, as others mentioned above, the creative process varies from person to person, and so long as you explore various techniques, weigh the +'s and -'s of each and eventually work out the combination which gives you the best result, which combination of do's and don'ts you end up with should matter only to you.

    I once read a book published by National Geographic which revealed a huge surprise to me ... my favorite NG photographer didn't shoot with an SLR. At first, I was shocked. But as I read on, I understood exactly why he'd chosen to shoot with smaller (though still very high quality) cameras. It completely fit his overall technique.

    To chimp or not to chimp? Does it improve your work or hamper it? Decide for yourself and choose your response accordingly.

  • Nicholas

    October 5, 2012 02:24 pm

    I am shooting macro handheld -- I shoot a dozen shots and chimp to see if I got the shot or not.

    I am shooting a backlit portrait outside, and my flash is set to manual with my best guess with my diffuser -- I am chimping.

    I want to get the right look for moving water and am experimenting with neutral density filters to see how long the exposure should be -- I am chimping.

    I am shooting birds in flight in real time -- I am NOT chimping.

    I am shooting sports or street photography -- Other than to gauge exposure occasionally as light changes, I am NOT chimping.

    The circumstance determines whether chimping is appropriate. It is useful sometimes and problematic at others. More importantly, I try to limit the number of shots I take. I used to shoot 8 x 10, and the way shooting large format slowed me down, and made me pay attention was a great boon to my hit rate.

  • Naz

    October 5, 2012 01:34 pm

    Ian- great response- As I said, there seems to be an almost elitist 'tagging' as you put it these days (perhaps there's always been this kind of tagging but it just seems to be getting more prevelent) and I don't understand it especially when it coems to viewing results immediately- As you point out, it's you duty as a photographer to give the clients the best possible photos and to make sure each shot is correct=- and if not to correct them immediately before continuing on- and you're certaibnly not goign to be able to do that by waiting to see the results - hoping and praying all the while that your calculations and guesswork was all spot on- I suppose i nthe old days, if somethign was wrong after the film was developped that the photographer would reschedule for more shots- but today, we can see instantly if somethign is right or wrong or needs a minor tweak here or there-

  • Scampi

    October 5, 2012 01:33 pm

    Interesting points all round here. I'd never heard of Chimping until now. Do I do it? Sometimes. Actually more often than not, yes I do. But why?

    Maybe it is the WHY that matters here not the act itself. To work this out I have "paused for thought" which this article has made me do. For example I shoot a lot of basketball. Now if I "chimped" doing that I would miss the best shots all the time! However I do "review" regularly in order to determine if I need to re-shoot a particular sequence. Rarely would I need to change settings because of a review but.... yes, I do occasionally of course.

    Chimping for me is required if shooting landscapes, conditions pending of course. If you are shooting sunrise or sunset, you will almost certainly lose out on the right shot if you chimp.

    So the "why" is really what matters here. Chimping to improve the shot is a learning path to better results. The suggestion in this article is simply a great way to "step up to the mic" so to speak and be much less reliant on the LCD and get you enjoying the time shooting rather than the technical side of self-criticism - or low confidence.

    Great article!

  • KenP

    October 5, 2012 01:12 pm

    I don't chimp as much these days as my Olympus OM-D shows we a short preview (or is it post-view?) right within the viewfinder after I take the shot!

    :)

  • Craig

    October 5, 2012 12:54 pm

    Next let's talk about shooting RAW and after that whether or not to convert files to DNG and then after that which strap to put on to your camera. This kind of topic just adds to the notion that "real" photographers don't do this or do that or whatever.

    This site is a "digital photography school" - since when is it worth time and webspace to discuss completely ridiculous topics.

    Seriously - what did I learn from a discussion about "chimping"? Well, I guess I learned this - there is still a lot of elitism in photographic circles.

  • Mervin McDougall

    October 5, 2012 06:41 am

    I personally do not see the concern with chimping. Certainly different photographers will do it for different reasons.

    I tend to do it a lot when getting used to a new camera, less so when I have used the camera for a couple of months. I believe in making maximum use of my frame and different view finders will allow you to see either a portion of the view the camera is going to capture or a 100%. There is no way I can ensure that my composition has been nailed within my frame without chimping. And, I would like to know for sure if I fail to get the shot now, so I can retake it to get the image I want rather than wait till I get to my computer and then realize I didn't nail it, and even if I return to the location tomorrow, the conditions no longer exist. I don't think that is a lack of confidence, I think that is only due diligence when you want to make sure the outcome is what you imagined and not just up to chance because you don't want to "properly" embrace the technology.

    Of course, as you become more familiar with your hardware as you shoot under different conditions, it becomes more predictable. But that is a process of growing with your camera and that takes time. So, don't be afraid to chimp.

  • s. shankar

    October 5, 2012 04:44 am

    Interesting concept. It's just a question of confidence, I think. For an avid traveler like me, it's good to know that your pic has 'turned out right', if not, you can re-shoot, for after all, you may not go back there for a while. At the same time however, I'll not obsess about it.
    Only small nitpick: the photo of the ape you put up at the top is of a gorilla, not a chimp :-)

  • Ian

    October 5, 2012 04:01 am

    I agree with Peter. It seems we are running out of topics. Although I respect every opinion I will never understand why people need to 'tag' others for doing something. I will always check the pictures I take since I do not have 100% confidence in the equipment, irrespective of how professional and expensive it might be. That is my duty as a photographer to check that I am achieving the best possible result in-camera. I owe it to my passion, to photography itself and to my clients when shooting for them. I do not miss being anxious to see the prints...nowadays I am anxious to shoot at every possible occasion since the number of captures I do are no longer a burden on my pocket.

  • marius2die4

    October 5, 2012 03:30 am

    To see every picture taken is not ok, but one of the advantage of digital is too see the image immediately. The why some photographer prefer to control their gear from laptops?

    http://marius-fotografie.blogspot.com

  • Edmund

    October 5, 2012 03:09 am

    I agree, who has time to "chimp" and why bother when you can just squeeze off more shots and auto-bracket (which, if necessary, can be superimposed in Photoshop later).

    When I used Olympus OM2 and OM4 35mm film cameras shooting Fujichrome and Kodachrome I knew the camera so well that I would adjust the ISO according to the scene and nine times out of ten get an acceptable image (not so easy with slide film). Even so, 90% of these images were never to see the light of day (or projector).

    When I worked as a professional architectural photographer shooting 5x4 positives, I would never have dreamed of making an exposure before taking one, or normally more, Polaroids.

    So the lesson is surely to know your camera. Mine shows me a histogram which gives me a fair idea of whether the subject is correctly exposed but bracketing is still so easy when there is no film cost and, where you are not using a tripod, just keep firing - sooner or later you will get a RAW image that works.

    For those not brought up on the discipline of film cameras, I entirely recommend your ideas of going back to the idea that every shot counts to improve their artistic creativity but today's technology softens the boundries for us who have progressed from film.

    And, no, Jason, do not even consider a disposible camera or you will never understand whether you can take a good photo or not!

  • naz

    October 5, 2012 02:57 am

    accusing peopel of 'chimping' is rude- this term has cropped up recently, and it's insulting to folks tryign to learn how to take photographs- Digital came along and GREATLY improved the time folks could learn how to take photos by showing htem isntant results so that these folks can see where the photos needed improving between shots- but htere's a growing trend out there by folks who look down their noses at others accusing htem of 'chimping' and of course insinuating that if you 'don't do things the old fashioned way' why then 'you must not be seriosu about photography'

    BS! That's akin to tellign an electrical apprentice that they are 'cheating' if they have to refer to the manual beofre attempting electrical work, or that htey are 'cheating' if they go back over hteir work to see where conflicts might be cropping up- insinuating that they shoudl be so perfect before even attempting to learn a trade that they 'shouldn't have to 'sneak' a peek to see if everythign is ok'

    Enough already! It's rude and uncalled for!-

    [[There are plenty of extremely talented, highly experienced (and very successful) photographers in the world who can’t help but be drawn to the warm glow of their LCD after every shot]]

    Of course there are- that's WHY they are world famous- because they take the time to make sure everythign is right between shots- and quite frankly, they got there much quicker I beleive because htey didn't have to wait aroudn weeks to get photos back to see if they had made mistakes o nthe shots- long after the scene had dissappeared forever- with hte lcd screen, thigns can be isntantly adjusted to correct whateve3r needs correcting- suggestign that it takes longer to learn this way just isn't right- looking at the screeen is takign a critical look at what you did, finding hte weaknesses, and correcting htem on the spot- not long after when you've forgotten important details abotu hte location!

    you're article wasn't as rude as soem I've seen touting hte suppsoed 'superiority of old methods', but it's still insinuating that folks aren't 'real students of photography' IF 'they don't use the old methods'

    We get it- it was tougher in the old days, and it took more dedication and certainly took longer to learn from mistakes thanks to days waiting on film, but it's just simply untrue that the lcd 'stunts photography skills' because it supposedly 'makes peopel lazy' aqnd suppsoedly instills some kind of 'doubt' in them. If anything, I beleive it helps them more quickly become proficient provided they take the tiem to critically anylize their photos and know what to look for- As you said yourself, it's impossible to make sure everyone is smiling, or that soemone doesn't have a lgihtpole growing out of their head, or small unseen brancj or whatever- and light changes so quickly that your settigns will be no good in a coupel of shots- and even pros need to check to make sure that quickly changing scenes are correct for each shot

    Whaqt next? "Using a lgiht meter is cheating because you shoudl be such a pro that all it takes is to look at a scene and instantly know what the flash shoudl be and what white balance to use and what speed the shutter should be?' After all, the old masters didn't have these devices available to them so apparently they were 'true masters' whereas we're just all cheap imitations today?

    Or, you're not a real pro unless you use a darkroom with chemicals? Egads!

  • Bernie

    October 5, 2012 02:42 am

    Did that for a while on my 20d. It was a hoot to see the image that quick. Then I went back to the old NG style, "film is cheap, shoot a milliion because the trip back costs more." I like sitting down and reviewing them after the shoot and culling the herd several times over maybe a month. Also I like to down load them to the lap top after the shoot so I can clear the chip and be ready the next morning.

  • Marco

    October 5, 2012 02:40 am

    This article makes very little sense to me. When I am in the field, I have spent considerable travel money to get to the location and have waited hours for my subject to get into range, usually having staked out the favorite watering or feeding locations. In the lulls between bursts of shots, I will QUICKLY chimp the LCD for two things. The histograms and the blinking blown highlights just to be sure that I don't need to stay for another burst of the next visitor. I would hate to come home with fuel, meals and hotel bills only to discover that I have nothing to show for it. It is bad enough to travel from Missouri to Florida for three days only to have the forecast change and only get one day of good weather! So a little chimping can be a good thing. No sense going back in time when you can use the modern tools that are given to you by technology today!!!

  • Kathleen

    October 5, 2012 02:25 am

    Excellent article. Will be sharing on my FB page for all my photographer friends to read. I wonder how many will be brave enough to try this out.

  • Kees

    October 5, 2012 02:22 am

    I really don't see why checking if you've got it right is a bad thing. I rather check than risk missing a bunch....

  • Duane Cassone

    October 5, 2012 02:19 am

    Nice article - excllent idea and I like the concept, but I'll never take my card to the drug store. Talk about a confidence hit! Are you kidding me? Nevertheless, good work here.

  • Tim Roper

    October 5, 2012 02:09 am

    It is a good exercise, but it leaves out half of the equation--the per-visualization part. The whole point depriving yourself of instant results is to learn how to form an image in your mind of what the final photo will look like. "Learning to see in terms of the medium", as artists say. So before even picking up your camera, it can be a good exercise to just pick up a light meter, and wander around, making the photos in your head based on readings from that.

  • Courtney

    October 5, 2012 01:20 am

    Love this idea. I'm not a confident photographer and see how this could be a great exercise for me.

  • Justin Miller

    October 5, 2012 12:56 am

    Interesting article and approach. I may give it a shot.

    But one thing I wanted to point out -- and honestly, I hate to be that guy, but being a wildlife photographer and enthusiast, this really bugs me -- is that you have a photo of a gorilla, not a chimp. Just how in the same way, gorillas, chimps, orangutans, and bonobos are not monkeys, but rather apes. Both are common misconceptions.

    Cheers, though, and thanks for the interesting thoughts.

  • Jason

    October 5, 2012 12:44 am

    I love the thought of this article, but you could just load up some film in an older camera and get the full experience. Don't have a film camera? Get a disposable and try it that way!

  • Joseph Philbert

    October 4, 2012 11:50 pm

    Love the article and this is something I do OFTEN. I try to build my confidence by trying NOT to look at my LCD as often.
    I had in the past taped up my LCD to prove to my self that I had the skills to shoot without it ... (I did use a lightmeter)

    I like how the author went one step further.. I might do what is suggested out of these days and shoot and print without looking ...just as a challenge to myself.

  • Dewan Demmer

    October 4, 2012 10:07 pm

    I like the approach of treating the camera as a "film" camera and seeing how the images come out the other end, however I do still stand by the fact I probably chimp a fair bit, for me it is for the simple reason that I am constantly moving from shadow, to daylight and then popping into a building. I generally will know how to set my camera and pretty much have it right when I do my compulsory chimp check, however I sometimes forget to change something ( ISO for example ) and if I did not check the next string of images would be toast, and since I may be moving back into shadow, or the subject might I do not to be sure that I have accommodated these changes and so I chimp. I do not see it a a crutch simply as a tool that I am happy to utilise.

  • Dewan Demmer

    October 4, 2012 10:07 pm

    I like the approach of treating the camera as a "film" camera and seeing how the images come out the other end, however I do still stand by the fact I probably chimp a fair bit, for me it is for the simple reason that I am constantly moving from shadow, to daylight and then popping into a building. I generally will know how to set my camera and pretty much have it right when I do my compulsory chimp check, however I sometimes forget to change something ( ISO for example ) and if I did not check the next string of images would be toast, and since I may be moving back into shadow, or the subject might I do not to be sure that I have accommodated these changes and so I chimp. I do not see it a a crutch simply as a tool that I am happy to utilise.

    During this wedding I went from daylight, to dusk and in and out of buildings and shadow so often I am surprised I didn't feel dizzy, I am sure anyone who has done a wedding would understand.
    http://www.dewandemmer.com/eloise-and-hein-holtons-wedding-at-makiti-muldersdrift/

  • John D. Roach

    October 4, 2012 09:53 pm

    Unfortunately, I disagree with the writer on this one. Every photographer needs to develop the process that works for them. For me, I guess I "chimp some." So what! The digital age brings tools to the photographer so that he or she can better capture light. It is something we didn't have in the film era. I use the LCD screen often to ensure that I am managing highlights. By so doing, I can make the adjustments that will enhance the next image. If I am in a situation where I might miss something, then, of course, I shot with some abandon; hoping that my experience gets me where I need to be. I believe in quality out of the camera and if I have the tools and the information that might help me get the results I am looking for, wonderful! Those we criticize others for the method they use, need to step back and think about how important it is for all aspiring photographers to find the way that works for them and learn from what they find.

  • Matt Bristow

    October 4, 2012 09:36 pm

    I shoot press work, sports, motorsport, PR and features for a living, and before anyone says anything I started shooting with film.

    I can't think of any paying job that doesn't warrant a chimping! My clients pay me to get the best images for them and they want/need them quickly often form the event itself. I think the real lesson to be learnt here is knowing your subject matter well thus enabling you to know when its safe to do so!

  • Jai Catalano

    October 4, 2012 08:44 pm

    You have to act like Leonardo Dicaprio Catch me if you can.

    Do you concur?

  • Luis

    October 4, 2012 04:47 pm

    I agree with everything you said except with taking the images to the store and printing them. A good image needs to be finished in the computer, that's not optional if you are a photographer. Grandma doesn't care and can use that service, but not one who wants to get the maximum out of a photograph.

  • Lisa

    October 4, 2012 04:05 pm

    I love the suggestion of covering the LCD. This sounds like a wonderful exercise for me, and something I should try probably several times a year. It's a great way to learn to trust yourself.....or discover what I don't really know.

  • Mridula

    October 4, 2012 03:11 pm

    Not sure where I stand on this one. I don't check every image and sometimes I feel I should do more of checking so that I could have taken another shot! But reading your article it feels it is good that I am not addicted to checking my LCD.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/

  • peter

    October 4, 2012 02:15 pm

    Chimping isn't necessarily a lack of your own confidence, in my case it is mostly a lack of confidence in the equipment. In 40 years of film photography I have had cameras that the iris jammed open at f2.8, shutter has malfunctioned, flash not firing, anything could go wrong with your equipment and most has at one time or another.

    So I think it's worth a quick chimp, much better than finding out when it's to late to do anything about it.

  • mark

    October 4, 2012 01:57 pm

    why do we need this article? its only going to fuel those who don't have even a foggy clue to have another reason to say to some people "thats not professional". it's my opinion that the only people who need to keep their eye in the camera are paparazzi. if you're not checking all your paid images you're not making sure you have the best version of the best shots you can get and risking the fact that you're missing something big.

  • Michael

    October 4, 2012 10:12 am

    I try not to chimp too much, I'd rather be taking shots than looking at the screen and missing shots.

  • Adrian Agoes

    October 4, 2012 08:41 am

    Exactly. When you grew up with film camera, you're going to miss that feeling of anxiousness waiting for your photographs developed. When your photo is 'burnt', then that's it. I put my LCD checking mode off aome years ago already. But will try your suggestion to print my photos directly to the lab. Very interesting.

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