I’ll admit, I used to have a chimping habit. I think as photographers, most of us did.
The habit started from when I first picked up a camera, every time I took a photo, I would immediately look at the back of the LCD screen to see how it turned out.
Well, 2-3 years later I still find myself doing it once in a while.
And in case you don’t know what chimping is, it’s the habit of checking the back of your camera screen after every single shot to see how it turned out.
With that being said, in this article I’ll touch on the negatives of chimping and how to stop it.
Cons of chimping
Let’s dive into some of the cons of chimping. From personal experience, there are two major cons.
1. Missing out on shots
The first major con of chimping is that you can miss out on shots if you look at the back of your camera screen every time you take a photo.
Unfortunately, I’ve made this mistake a couple times while shooting street photos. I took what I thought was a great photo, immediately looked at the back of the screen, looked up and saw an even better looking composition, but I was too slow to bring the camera back up to my face.
If I had just stayed in the position and snapped a series of photos instead, I most likely would have captured the image!
2. It breaks flow
Chimping can break your flow. Flow is when you are in the groove of something and focused on the task at hand.
During flow state, your mind is most active but you are relaxed and “in the zone.” Better focus and being relaxed usually correlates to better thinking and as a result, better composition and images.
By taking a photo and immediately looking at it on your camera, you can break this flow state.
How to stop chimping
Now that I’ve touched on some negatives of chimping, let’s dive into some tips to stop.
1. Increase shots in between
The first tip is to increase the number of shots you take before you feel that urge to check the back of your camera.
If you notice that you have the habit of checking the back of your screen after every shot, then slowly increase that number to checking after two shots, then four shots, etc.
There is no set number of shots that you should take before you check the photo. I think it’s important to just break the habit of checking after every shot.
2. Turn off image preview
If you have a bad habit of chimping, a simple solution is to turn off the image preview on your camera. This will prevent the photo you just took by showing up on the back of your camera for a few seconds.
By turning it off, you will have to manually hit the playback button to see how your photos turned out. This might be the best solution and it can train your discipline if you have a bad habit.
A bad habit everyone goes through
Chimping is a bad habit that every professional freelance photographer has gone through at least one time during their career.
It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that you are chimping and some of the cons to it. If you realize that you are a bad chimper, then try the tips above.
Good luck and have fun!