Stop Chimping, A Bad Habit That Causes Photographers to Miss Great Shots

The advent of digital photography had a revolutionary impact on how we take pictures in the field, but not all of the changes in our workflow are necessarily positive. In the video below, photographer David Bergman points out a surprising bad habit that can cause us to miss great shots:

“Chimping,” or repeatedly looking at the review screen after every shot, is a bad habit that many of us have fallen into. I mean, let’s face it, resisting the temptation to see if we got that perfect shot takes a lot of will power. And if you’re shooting with a bunch of your pals, it’ll be that much harder to avoid kibitzing over ever cool or funny shot that passes your screen. But, as Bergman points out, every moment you’re looking at the back of your camera, you’re not noticing the life that’s happening in front of you.

“Part of being a photographer is not missing those little moments in between the big moments. And when you’re looking at the back of your camera, you’re gonna miss something.”

Back in the film days, photographers had to wait until their film was developed before getting a chance to review their photos. That meant that there was much less to distract you from clicking away during sports scenes or your child’s birthday—the temptation to review each photo or check to see if you got a good one simply wasn’t there. On top of that, there was no way to be sure of what you were going to come out with. That meant that if you were serious about getting some good shots, you’d stay focused until the event was over or you ran out of film.

Don't let this be you!

Of course, the review screen has a vital role to play: it allows you to set up the scene and make sure you have the right camera settings, and it’s a serious help when you’re learning how to use new equipment. But once you have things dialed in, it may be worth your while to just forget that review screen and pretend you’re shooting with film. As Bergman says,

“Live your life. Enjoy the moments as they happen. And don’t keep your face buried in the back of your camera.”

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