Monday, April 16, 2007

Chimping: What's the Problem?

Chimping is the term used to describe when a photographer’s sounds and actions of reviewing frames on-scene appear similar to the actions of an excited monkey. (Oooh! Oooh! Aaah!)

The term 'chimping' was created by Robert Deutsch, a USA Today staff photographer, in September of 1999 when writing a story for the SportsShooter email newsletter. That story is here.

Just check out any media event like a football game and you'll see most of us doing it. I do it constantly.

Some purists and old schoolers think it's cheating...rubbish. It's a digital SLR. Use it to your advantage. Before digitals some used Polaroids to get an idea of the shot's results. Some folks check the histogram. Others are checking for hot spots. Some still are checking exposure as digitals can be extremely fickle. Some simply want to look over their composition and see if they want to try the shot another way. I use it for all those reasons, but most often, I chimp as a way of self-editing. It is especially useful when covering sporting events on deadline. I can flip though my images between action during a game and tag/mark images I like Photo Mechanic will show you which photos you tagged earlier to make editing quick so you can return to the action without missing anything.

Just be careful while you do your impression of Bonzo...while you're oohing and ahhing, you may miss something!

If you think chimping is for hacks or wannabes, you're probably a little full of yourself. I shoot plenty of traditional film on personal time...I actually prefer it. But if I have the advantage of seeing my image immediately, I'm going with it. But, if you're so confident as to fill a 1 or 2 gig card with images without checking exposure, white balance, depth of field, or what have you, more power to ya, Bub. Me? I'm gonna make sure that I do what I'm paid to do and do it I've got one thing to say....oooh oooh ooohh aahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

Check out Bert Hanashiro's video about chimping on's pretty funny.


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