10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

(Photo above by Andrew Eccles. Disregard how classy the chimp looks)

Chimping– it is a disease and an unhealthy addiction that runs rampart within the digital photography community. What is chimping you ask? It is the act of looking at your LCD screen the second after you take a shot. Why do they call it chimping? Well imagine if you think you got a great shot, you show other people, and point to your LCD screen while saying “ooh ooh ooh” like a chimpanzee. Why is this bad when it comes to street photography? Keep reading to find out.

Introduction

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

(Photo credit: Sam Haskins)

To reiterate, “chimping” is the act of looking at your LCD screen immediately after shooting a photo. This is something that 99% of digital photographers do, as it is almost natural to do (if I have the technology to check my images afterward, why not? I do advise beginner street photographers who are having difficulty with exposure and technical settings to chimp when first starting off street photography (or even aspiring flash street photographers who don’t know how to use a flash). But for those of you who are either intermediate or advanced, it is not necessary at all. Read some reasons why I think you shouldn’t chimp while shooting street photography below:

1. You can miss the decisive moment

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Thomas Leuthard

I used to chimp a ton, without even knowing it. However there was one instance when I almost missed a potentially great street photography opportunity because I was checking my LCD screen. As I was so intently looking at my previous shot, fellow street photographer Derriel Almario told me, “Eric, look up!” I then immediately saw an interesting character with a reflective shirt, sunglasses, and a garbage bag coming toward me. I instinctively crouched and snapped a photo. This has easily become one of my favorite flash street photographs.

Had Derriel not been there, I would have missed this decisive moment. I am sure that if you are accustomed to chimping as well, you have experienced something similarly.

2. It puts unnecessary pressure on you

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Rinzi Ruiz

When you chimp, it gives you the feeling that every shot that you shoot has to be an amazing photo. However this is the wrong mentality to have. If I am out shooting for an entire day– getting one or two decent photos makes me happy. If I can even get a “keeper” which I consider is worthy to share online, I am even more lucky.

Therefore don’t deal with this stress. When you out shooting focus on taking good photos. Only take a look at your images once you get home.

3. It interrupts your flow

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Alex JD Smith

Have you ever had an engaging conversation with a friend at dinner and then suddenly your friend gets a text message? What happens? Your friend says “sorry one second” and checks their phone, sends back a text, and slowly adjusts their focus back to you and says “Oh sorry–what were we talking about again?”

Think about the same thing when it comes to street photography. If you chimp while you are taking photos, it interrupts your flow. Getting in “the flow” of shooting street photography is difficult enough– why risk disturbing that flow? When you are shooting, only focus on shooting. When it comes to editing (selecting your best work) and post-processing your images, do it all only when you get home.

4. It kills your battery life

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Derriel Almario

Another practical reason not to chimp when shooting street photography is that it kills your battery. Cameras such as the Leica M9 and Fujifilm FinePix X100 are notorious for draining batteries. If you are using your LCD screen the entire day, you probably need two batteries. Ever since I quit chimping on my Leica, I can go an entire day on only one battery.

5. You can potentially delete good photos

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Kramer O Neill - shot with film

If you chimp while shooting, you might be tempted to delete your “bad photos”. However I advise highly against deleting any of your photos. Why? There are times in which I thought I took a bad photo– but realized I actually took a great photo once I got home. The LCD screen is too small to judge the composition and content in an image– you have to wait until you go home to truly make the final decision.

Some street photographers are also tempted to automatically delete any images that are either blurry or out of focus. However if you have ever studied the work of Daido Moriyama, he took some of the most emotional and powerful images that were either out of focus, blurry, or even both.

6. You enjoy the shooting experience more

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Charlie Kirk

When I am out shooting street photography, I love the experience of shooting street photography. The opportunity to appreciate the small things in life, to interact with the people on the streets, and even get out of the house.

I don’t believe that in street photography, the final image is everything. Although it is important to create compelling images, think it is the process I enjoy most. Therefore when you are out shooting, remember that street photography should be enjoyable and fun.

7. You don’t need to use a film camera

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Brian Soko

Although I am a huge advocate for shooting street photography with film (it helps you become a better judge of exposure, patience, and composition) I feel shooting film isn’t necessary for 95% of the street photographers out there. The reason why I loved shooting street photography the most is that you weren’t tempted to chimp after shooting (you can’t!). That is the main reason why many street photographers I know switch from digital to film– so they can focus on the shooting portion. If you have the will not to look at your photo at your LCD screen every time after you shoot– you already have one of the largest advantages of shooting film.

8. You learn to trust your instincts

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Nils Jorgensen

When I think of my camera, I think of it as a tool that is an extension of my body and eye. There is a certain point that you have to learn how to trust your instincts and just shoot. Trust your camera and don’t concern yourself so much with the settings. Just find the settings you are comfortable using on your camera (whether it be Av-mode, P mode, or fully-manual) and just shoot.

9. There is no real reason to

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Nick Turpin

Think about the real reason you are chimping, it is either for any of the below reasons. Here are some of my rebuttals:

a) You want to check your exposure

Nowadays if you are shooting in RAW, don’t worry if your exposure is not dead-on. Although exposure is important, I would argue that shooting and having a good composition is far more important. If your photo is a stop or two overexposed or underexposed, post-processing can easily fix this.

b) You want to check your focus

If you are shooting with zone focus, you don’t have to worry that your photo is in-focus, as the small f-stop you are using (f/11-f16) will alleviate that problem.

c) You want to check if your photo is not blurry

Make sure your shutter speed is above 320ths/second to make sure your photo is not blurry. However there are even time that “accidental” blurry photos make great photographs.

d) You want to marvel at your photo

Save this when you get home ;)

10. You risk the ridicule of being made fun of by your friends

1x1.trans 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography

Andre chimping at my Toronto Street Photography Workshop. Photo by Brian Bonitz

For fun, whenever me and my fellow streettogs find another oen of us chimping, we start crowding around them, bringing out the bananas, and saying “ooh ooh ooh”. Try doing it for fun next time you catch your friends doing this as well. Above image is Andre caught chimping by Brian at my Toronto workshop! (sorry Andre!)

Conclusion

If you want to chimp less, first step is to turn off your lcd screen preview. The second step is to try to fight the urge to check your LCD screen after every single shot. Try it out for an entire day, and then try to make it second-nature NOT to look at your LCD screen while shooting. It will be extremeley difficult, but it will open up your eyes so much more to photography and the world around you.

What are your thoughts about chimping? Share your thoughts and experiences below! 

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  • http://briscophoto.com/ Brian Scott

    All great tips. I chimp too much. I hope I haven’t missed anything.

    • Adam Marelli

      Chimping is like a guitarist watching their fingers as they play. If the screen needs to be consulted its because a doubt has crept into the workflow. Eliminate the doubt through practice and save the battery life.

      Reserve the screen shots for showing other people. Nice article Eric.

  • Simon Garnier

    Haha! Very nice! I cannot agree more with everything you wrote Eric :-)
    The only time I look at my LCD is to check the exposure when light conditions change dramatically and I want to make sure the camera is correctly set up till the next change. Otherwise, I discover my pictures on my computer screen sometimes days after they have been taken.

  • http://www.iambidong.com I am Bidong

    I am guilty of chimping…I am going to try and improve.

    PS — who is the handsome looking guy to the left in your last image? What a stud.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003735321 Brian Bonitz

      LOL.

  • Pål-Kristian Hamre

    Good read! It’s very natural to chimp and I do it all the time! Next time I will keep working on not doing it. Worst case, I might just tape over my LCD screen while I’m out :)

  • Hopefoote

    Oh whatever. I do what pleases me. Even if, in someone else’s opinion, it’s wrong.

  • CG

    well, i can not agree at all neither … i think sometimes you have to check your picture, just beacause i’m not sure if it was ok, sometimes because what my eye see it’s different to what the lens sees (also different focal lenghts has different views), sometimes beacause if i use a low “f” will be nice but i have to check if the focus was ok, and i think i can do a long list … sorry, but i do a lot of chimp, and for me it’s ok.

    • Erik Highfive

      Well i think in street it don’t make a difference to check the picture on your lcd because 99,9% of the time the moment will be gone when you are done checking anyway. Save it until you get home and spend the time on the street shooting instead.

      • CG

        … you didn’t add nothing to what the article says … try again

        • Z

          You didn’t add nothing means that you did indeed add something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003735321 Brian Bonitz

    Eric, I am guilty on chiming at times. You guys can ask Eric about him caught me chimping on my cam. By the way, Eric, thanks for sharing my photo. It says it all – something for you guys to think about… At times, I had to check and make sure that my camera/lens are working ok. For some reason, I had a feeling that my lens was not working properly for some reason. It apparently is working ok. But I don’t think it is a good lens. You guys can ask Eric about my lens. They teased me about it. ;)

    • http://calm7clear.tistory.com John Kim

      Brain, I am glad that you didn’t use my big head shot while I am chimping during critique time. :)

  • Anonymous

    I maintain that Andre was just checking to see if he had set his camera at 3200 ISO. Ooh Ooh Ooh !!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003735321 Brian Bonitz

    I am glad that Eric wrote this wonderful article about chimping. It brings up some interesting thoughtful perspective, both pros and cons. In Eric’s article, it mentioned there were “accidential” photos at times. It is very true. Again, you can ask Eric about my lens in question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003735321 Brian Bonitz

    Eric, perhaps that you should write a new article in the future about motion blur in street photography. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1297844071 Jordan Dunn

    I still am guilty of this, however once made aware it is easier to correct. Never saw it as that bad of of thing but all of these are great reasons not to.

  • Anonymous

    Ha! Brilliant! Resisting to chimp was a huge challenge for me this past weekend. But poor Andre!!

  • Bob

    Its funny, using an M6 or FM2, I get a fair few people asking me if they can look at the photo, and they try and look at the back of the camera. Then the usual ‘are you insane’ expression comes across their face followed by the inevitable “Is that a film camera? Can you still buy film?”

    • Jose luis abalo

      Two months ago I did a picture of a man in the street. This man came to me very angry saying “show me the picture”. When I showed he the back of my contax G2 and said that it was imposible because I work with film, the man did not now what to say. A months ago I lived the same situation with a woman. I am begining to think that work with film is a very good “protection” in case of problems doing street photography.

  • Anonymous

    I think the photographers that switch from digital to film do so for the quality and range that film delivers as well as the contemplative mode shooting film puts one in. I think chimping is far down on the list but admittedly can be part of the neurosis attached to digital shooting. I agree that you should save your photos until you get home and sometimes it’s even better to look at them a few days later so you can be more objective. That way your eye is on what you are out there for and your focus isn’t on what you believe, at that time, you are achieving or not achieving. A draining attitude can ruin your mood when you are shooting, keep to the task at had but as you say, Eric, if you aren’t sure of your settings or are unsure of a technique, of course you should chimp so that while you are out there you can practice. I don’t like getting on any bandwagon because there is no ‘definitive one way’ that works for all people. But if you are out there, most certainly, make the most of being out there. And actually I don’t chimp at all shooting street. The only time I do use the lcd is to adjust my settings if I am uncertain of them.. or of course for macro/landscape in which there isn’t so much a decisive moment [with exception to timing sunrise and sunset] as there is in street photography.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003735321 Brian Bonitz

    As for question #3, “It interrupts your workflow”… I totally agree with Eric’s observation. It is very interesting analogy between interrupted conversation with a friend vs chimping camera right after photo shooting. Not only that, perhaps next few seconds later, you may never know what might brings one of those decisive moments. Once you miss that opportunity, it is lost gone. It does just like that. There isn’t any time machine to unwind few seconds back and try again. ;)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/c-wroe/ Cameron W

    It’s important to take a peek every hour or so to make sure your pictures in the camera look like the pictures in your brain. When I first shot my 24mm on film, I was waaaay too far away. If I would have been able to peek, I might have been able to fix my mistake.

    So I agree–the occasional peek is REALLY beneficial to learning.

  • http://www.dannyst.com Danny St

    When I was working on my ‘portraits of strangers’ project, i never chimped in front of them… it just wasn’t polite.

  • K Brown

    Good article Eric, with some very sound’ practical advice.
    But.
    Wether you’re chimping, focusing or looking both ways before you cross the street, you always miss some brilliant shots, you just don’t know about it.
    I always find that there is no right or wrong way to take a picture, as everyone is different. Part of the “mystique” of shooting street is having the freedom to shoot anything and anyone you like, without rules, kind of the unwritten mantra if you like. Putting rules (even good ones) on people is somewhat self defeating as it says “you’re doing it wrong, do it like this”, always a bad thing…
    I have always found that people sort out for themselves what works best for them, some people chimp simply to make sure they actually got something in the frame, or to see if they are getting the kind of pictures they think they’re getting.
    Nothing is ever wrong with how you shoot, or what you shoot, as long as you shoot.

    • Anonymous

      Well said!

  • sheeple

    so true…

  • http://calm7clear.tistory.com John Kim

    Digital technology changed really many things especially when it comes to photography. If people use digital cameras without any “view finder”, only one way to frame the scene is using LCD. It naturally leads people to look at the images after shooting even one doesn’t have intention to do “chimping”. So one good way to avoid this is using external view finder with a lcd turned off. Nowadays even entry level digital cameras have many built-in function and it lets people depend on more LCDs. I think digital cameras are great tools to experiment manual modes: manual focus, zone focusing, manual expose and so on. If people are a bit familiar with digital photography(as most people do), it is a good opportunity to use film cameras to extend their photograpy up to next level. Especially more ‘primitive’ range finder(RF) cameras are better candidates. The reason is that RF film cameras(you don’t have to buy Leica though) made people more work. In the contantly changing street scene, it is not easy to focuse manually and it will let people practice more zone focusing. These simple RF cameras require people to decide aperture & shutter speeds settings more actively.
    And of course, photographers will get used to wait til they get scanned images. It will take some time without looking back immediately after shooting. It helps. But anyway people are all different. They will find their own ways to get to the goals. :)

    By the way, I like the chimps above. “ooh ooh ooh”

  • Stewart Reid

    I’ve been getting more and more wary of “chimping” lately… though I didn’t have such a particular and colourful name for it!

    I tend to shoot JPG and RAW, and the camera always shows the JPG – which usually doesn’t actually look like the RAW at all – which can be deceiving.

    I’m lucky enough to have a Canon 60D – one of the new Canons that has a reversible LCD screen. Leaving it in the “closed” position both protects the screen and keeps me from being tempted to chimp! You can probably get a similar effect with most cameras by switching off the automatic image display after shooting…

    • K Brown

      “10 Reasons Why You Should Never Chimp While Shooting Street Photography”, the article that should never have been written.

      Eric is an extremely enthusiastic shooter that has a great way of showing people what can be done in a positive, user friendly manner. He has a great future ahead of him, but unlike every other article he has written, all with good ideas and advice, this one shouldn’t have been written.

      Ten reasons why chimping is wrong (with examples) saying that everyone doing it is violating some unwritten rule of photography. Sorry Eric, in photography, especially street photography, there is no wrong, and the is nothing that “you should never do”.

      Your site is among the most user friendly collection of tips, hints and classes people can join you in shooting street. Your enthusiasm is obvious, and safely to say, infectious and I’m sure everyone reading through the site has picked up on it. Well done.

      But an article telling everyone who chimps that there’s something wrong with them for doing it…. Not good.

      Everyone is different and so are the ways people shoot. You can’t tell people what they’re doing is wrong when there is no wrong. I see your intent with the article, but there is just nothing wrong with checking you shots as soon as you take them. If you need a second battery, that’s not a problem, if you can’t afford a second one, then you’re just done shooting when the battery dies, not a problem.

      Love what you’re doing for street shooting Eric, first rate stuff, but you got this one wrong, badly.

      • Erik

        The world isn’t black & white only. I get the feeling you read the article as to say “never look at your LCD”. To me chimping is when you look at your screen for more or less every shot, a lot of people even set their camera to automatically display the last picture on the LCD. I don’t feel Eric is saying that looking at your LCD every now and then is wrong. However he has some fair points, you will loose the flow and you will miss a few shots if you do it too often.

        @Stewart Reid The raw-file is raw data that needs to be processed later on a computer. The jpeg is that same raw data that has been processed in your camera. The two should be different. If you like the look of the jpeg use it, or you can post-process the raw-file and get the exact same look.

        • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

          You’re very right Erik. If you have to chimp every now and then to check your settings– no problem. I do it when I’m testing new settings with my flash and in unfamiliar lighting situations. But once you are comfortable with your settings, I feel chimping is not necessary, and makes you miss great photo opportunities

  • Anne Schmidt

    Chimping is not the reason that made me get back to film photography and I must say that I’d never thought that chimping would be a problem. The reasons you give are quite good though. :)

  • http://asphericalperspective.tumblr.com Eddie

    Did you really just imply in reason #7 that one of the biggest advantages to shooting film in not chimping? Wow…

  • ZombieVader

    I always thought chimping stood for CHeck IMage Preview… CHIMP, not looking at it and making monkey sounds.

  • Gérald Verdon

    Good and concise points, Eric.

    The only good reason to use the LCD is to set up your camera for a difficult spot (high level of contrast, light/shadow, possible unwanted flares, etc.)

    Having said that, I tend to agree with K Brown: there is no right or wrong, it actually is a personal matter.

    Moreover, I would say that the simple idea of the “missed shot” is very strange for my mind: I “miss” zillions of shots when I sleep, when I eat, when I dream about the “perfect” shot… ;-)

  • http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/shooting-from-the-hip/ Scott Strazzante

    A couple weeks ago, you told me that I couldn’t shoot street musicians or homeless people and now you notify me that I can’t chimp. What’s next? I can’t eat Twinkies because they are unhealthy?
    Seriously, I enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      The next step is that you can’t quit your passion for street photography. Keep hustling:)

  • OM

    I beg to differ, although this is just my experience and opinion.

    Looking at the LCD is useful when you want to check composition/frame coverage, like on the d700 where your viewfinder is only95%? Or sometimes on the Leica M9 where the image outcome and the actual frame line guide can be a bit off sometimes.

    Maybe its just me, but i prefer to get it right out of the box rather than having to crop again later. I usually double check if the framing is a bit close and there are objects on the side of the viewfinder that I may or may not want to include.

    I try to get it out of the camera like how i imagined it would look, or as close as possible if the situation doesn’t allow it. Then again it boils back down to personal preference. Plus, looking back at how you shot it can inspire you to try out different layouts for composition, for example including/excluding things.

    But seriously some of your points are quite disappointing. For example, “10. You risk the ridicule of being made fun of by your friends.”

    I mean really? I could careless if they make fun of me. I’m there to take photo, not for show.

    • Gulingmaut

      ** “Care less”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002774924 Graham Green

        *** “couldn’t care less”

    • Matu4251

      You don’t have that luxury when taking photographs of strangers in the street. Not when you are capturing moments. That’s basically the point of this article.

  • http://helsinkippusa.wordpress.com/ PPusa

    A person chimping notices if the camera/memory card etc. starts to malfuction. Noticing this early can save the day. Or what if the settings on your camera have accidentally changed?

    During a sunny summer day I noticed that my shutter didn’t work with very fast shutter speeds. I was still able to take photos with slower speeds before sending the camera for repair. Without chimping, I would have lost most of the photos.

  • Magnus Hovland

    I’ve caught myself chimping a lot of times, and have been looking for a way to turn off the image review on my camera since I got aware of it. Haven’t found a way to disable it though. So I guess I’ll just get some Duct tape and cover the whole screen next time, and see how it goes :p

  • Sam

    stupid post. not chimping makes you more pro? wait till your tools let you down it will be too late to realize. that time your fail pictures will be even pro for your client.

  • ChikChik

    Okay. Good concept. Good idea. Makes good copy, but…ridiculous advice.
    Every key point has an ounce of valid truth, but the whole concept is just ridiculous.

  • Sggladden

    Interesting but I always find such absolution inherent in list like this to be a little off putting.

    Bottom line is control your camera. Don’t allow it to control you… unless that’s what you want- but then again isn’t that still you in control LOL

    I always recomend changing your approach from time to time. If you always review try not doing so and if you never do try it. Both ways have merit and cause the mind to think differently which is a great exercise to unlocking your creativity. My natural tendency is to shoot fast but I’ve found by forcing myself to slow down I get more variation on an individual subject. The trade off is you end up with less variety in your subject matter. Ultimately we all revert to our comfort zone but by stretching yourself you grow your comfort level and allow yourself the option to tailor how you are shooting to what you are after.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mcurrin Michael Ashley Currin

    Good post, I want to apply this. When I got my D7000, I was surprised to see the default is actually NOT to display the photo after it is taken. It was easy enough to put back to way I was used to.

    I find myself chimping for no good reason. I know the last 10 photos I took of that flower were correctly exposed after setting compensation at the start, why do I check to see if the 11th one is ok? Why check if its in focus if I was experimenting with lighting etc. and don’t intend anyone to see it?

  • Anonymous

    If you have an experienced eye, the visual instant while pressing the shutter will be enough to tell you whether you got the shot or not. Regarding exposure, you should have that wrapped up by now, especially as gone are the days when we used separate light meters.

  • H Hankin

    “If you are shooting with zone focus, you don’t have to worry that your photo is in-focus, as the large f-stop you are using (f/11-f16) will alleviate that problem.”

    I enjoyed this piece but there’s an error I must point out: f/11-f/16 are SMALL f-stops, not large ones!! As a college photography instructor, it pains me to see this mistake — one on which I often have to correct my students.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Oops I always get this confused- will fix this! :)

      • Japen

        noob

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-McCormick/1129403964 Aaron McCormick

          Japen totally has beef with your article, Eric. Watch your back! :D

    • whatisfilm

      Well the denominator is large. :) He understands the larger the number/denominator the greater the DOF.

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  • Pinceretta

    No – it is a ridiculous post. Technology and the instant feedback is obviously a bonus. Me thinks that you might be thin on the ground for blog ideas???

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  • http://www.cutebun.blogspot.com Cutebun

    Good guide!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344791182 Heidi Martinez-Reyes

    I think that at the beginning it is quite fine to “chimp” as your getting the settings right for the day, once you get set though I really think it a burden.

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  • http://twitter.com/twoguineapigs Julianna Koh

    I followed through the Chimp on Pinterest to your article – great read! Made me laugh, we all are guilty of chimping!

  • Japen

    You clearly don’t shoot in Manual. What on Earth do you think the histogram is for? Chimping is for managing highlights and for seeing what you cannot see in the camera’s monitor? Its for looking into channels and shadows. Its also important to anyone that prints. Most poor exposures will survive on-line but some of us print our work.

    “bananas” …are you a child (not a question).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-McCormick/1129403964 Aaron McCormick

      wow. major humor/ + slang comprehension fail, Japen. good one, dude. ;D

  • East_end_geezer2005

    Really good article. I have just bought a 60d and will prevent myself from chimping by turning round the LCD screen!

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  • Al LeGator

    Ridicule of my friends? Ah… my camera is better than their cell phone so I pull rank. Seriously though, I take the same attitude I do with driving cautiously. Anyone wants to challenge me on waiting until I feel safe pulling into traffic or drive the limit? When they pay my gas, my insurance and any tickets… THEN maybe I’ll let them tell em how to drive. Same with camera work- I will decide how I work best. Don’t care what anyone thinks. (If Annie Liebovitz challendged me, I might listen.)

    You may have a point with the “beginner” thing. Sort of. I’ve been using a DSLR for only a year or so but spent decades with 35mm film before it became too expensive. My camera, back then, became part of my body, part of my eyesight. But just as I flick the hair out of my eyes, sratch an itch to take care of things that pop up, I was even then, feeling the camera controls and looking at the settings frequently. I see checking the display as part of that “becoming one with the camera” aspect. And like scratching an itch, it’s just something you do. To catch that special moment, I’ll keep my peripheral vision as sahrp as can be. I will still miss “moments” but checking won’t be a big factor.

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  • James

    My goodness photographers are such a proud breed. Chimp or no chimp, who the hell cares. Unless you’re shooting a photo every second and keeping the viewfinder up to your eye the entire time, taking a second or two to look at your pictures won’t make any difference, and in fact will help you to tell if you’ve gotten a good picture or not. Stop being so elitist. The only valid point you make is number 4.

  • Anonymoused

    Really, making fun of someone for “chimping” is a bit harsh. In that last photo, nobody is even shooting — looks like he’s just getting a quick review of his day’s shots. Nothing wrong with that.

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  • Bernie

    Hi all, I have worked as a photographer for nearly 20 years, and when i started we did not have the luxury of digital cameras to instantly view the images. This is where the real skill and professionalism of your photography were exercised because film and processing cost money. I have worked as a wedding photographer and a combat photographer in the Australian Army and it was only occasionally I would chimp to check exposure, maybe flash etc. I feel photographers today rely on a scatter gun approach of taking a shot checking it, re taking etc rather than knowing simple photography fundamentals and getting the image first time.
    http://www.bernardpearson.com

  • Sharon B. Dowdell

    Thanks for sharing. Student of http://www.Bobglicksmith.com. We received this information in class. What a treat to receive your direct insight.

  • Marie Williams

    Getting a great shot, that you would have missed, if you were chimping. PRICELESS !
    M.L.W.

  • Star

    Making fun of your “friends” for doing anything makes you a crappy friend and is a crappy thing to do. I would never go shooting with a group of people who did that to me ever again.

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  • Cristobal Pereira

    Being able to see what you did in the moment helped me shape the way i wanted to take photos. It is the same as putting it on film developing and seeing the results just in a much much shorter time spam. I learned to take photos in the street (and I’m still doing it) by failing and then mending or correcting, maybe not technical things like composition or exposure, but something more related to expression and language. Being able to kinda follow the steps of my “fails” as soon as they happened really helped me be more confident in the streets.

    I agree though that it could interrupt the flow and maybe make you miss things in a scene you are photographing, but with time you learn obviously to avoid checking what you did on those moments, when you trust yourself a bit more.

    Thanx again for the post!

  • ToddZ

    Omg you guys look through your viewfinders!! I am such a pro, I just hold my camera at the hip and get every shot perfect. I dont even review my photos on photoshop. I just plug it in and hit print. Whitebalance, composure, and exposure is perfect. You guys are all such amateurs. Anyway maybe chimping every shot is not good but you should check your shots every so often. That is one of the advantages of digital.

  • Wholewitt

    I did film photography for many years and the worst thing was waiting until the pictures got back to see what turned out (digital is far better in this and many regards). You should check your first image or two to make sure you have not left the camera in some weird setting. Beyond that I don’t see anything wrong with checking the image if you want to make sure you have what you think is there. This may be less necessary for street photography since you can take hundreds of those and later choose the good ones.

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  • Ver Astro

    That’s a nice article, Eric. I chimp when i shoot digital.

    Been reading your blog very frequently. Oh, there was once I was out on the street shooting with my Canon EOS3.

    I saw a TV production team doing a video shoot. I went in close for a few shot and was immediately stop by their producer/director. “you can’t take photos, show me your shot and delete it, you must delete the photos.”

    I show her the back of my camera and tell her. “Film, if you want the whole roll you have to pay me the film and all my images.”

    She quietly walks away…

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  • JAKE FUKK

    What a stupid subject. To be fair, I do not think any of the images on this
    page are so good. Maybe YOU should chimp more!