Photography Tip: Break the Habit of Chimping

What the heck is chimping… right!
Chimping is checking the photo on the back screen of your camera every time you take a photo.

I still remember my amateur years of photography, I was always so unsure of my lighting and framing that I developed this nasty little habit of always checking the LCD screen of my camera with each photo I took. At the time it was no big deal because I was taking photos of still life and learning how to see the light, use the light and creatively frame the subject. However, it was not long before I was working with live moving subjects and “chimping” was proving to be a real bad habit which was costing me amazing shots! At that time I thought to myself, I have to break this bad habit if I ever want to document those amazing moments that live in the in-between. The moments that tell a story, the moments that make the world stop even is just for a second.

And so I did. Before I ever even shot my first wedding I broke myself of “chimping” and freed myself to be more creative. I begin to trust myself, because lets be honest, if I didn’t trust myself how was I going to get anyone else to trust me.

To be clear, I’m not saying that every photographer checking their LCD has a lack of confidence. Wedding and portrait photographers are making sure smiles are right and eyes are open. We all have any number of legitimate reasons to double-check ourselves. What I am saying is that we never want to become so reliant on the LCD that we miss the in-between moments. Those moments that are not planned, the ones that make up the truest part of someones love story.

So how did I break the habit of chimping?

  1. Adjust Camera Settings. As I began working with live subjects I would arrive to the shoot location and adjust my camera settings till I had my light perfect.
  2. Test Shots. I would then take a few shots to ensure it was exactly what I wanted.
  3. Sticky Note. I kept a little pad of sticky notes in my bag and I would place one over the back of my LCD so I could not see the screen.
  4. Shoot. It was then go time. I would shoot several photos in that one location with several different poses not looking at a single one. If I tried to peek the sticky note would remind me that I was breaking a habit.
  5. Readjust Camera Settings. If during the shoot we moved the location I would them remove the sticky note, readjust lighting for that location and then place it back on and shoot away.

I did this for several weeks till the urge to check the LCD was gone. Not only has this freed me to be the creative I was designed to be it has also allowed me to document so many more amazing photos throughout the allotted time frame, making our clients so incredibly happy. And after all that is our goal as a husband + wife photography team, to serve another human with creativity, light, joy and memories. We are here to document the  glory in their life so they can see, feel and experience just how much God loves them.

I hope this little tip helps free you and enlighten your creativity!

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