Do you chimp?

Want to know a secret? Though Serious Photographers pour scorn on the habit, say it is degrading – the mark of an amateur - and will never publicly admit doing it, they’re lying through their teeth.

They’re all chimping.

This is a habit that arrived with digital cameras, and some of the older Serious Photographers, especially those who were raised with the rigours of film, even pretend that they do not know what it means.

But watch them carefully. You’ll probably catch them doing a ‘stealth chimp’.

Do you chimp?

Go on ... be honest.

Do you check the images on your camera’s LCD immediately after taking them? Do you make strange simian noises as you look at your photos on the tiny screen - Oooh! Oooh! Aaah! - bob up and down, and excitedly show your photos to others?

Look around you, wherever there are people taking photographs. You’re sure to catch someone chimping – often complete with actions.

And here’s a video that shows just how common the habit is, even with top professionals. (The second half shows you what a ‘stealth chimp is, too, though the sound is out of synch.)

I’ll admit it. I chimp (though without the sounds and actions).

Being able to view an image immediately, and maybe re-do the shot, is one of the huge advantages of digital photography.

There are disadvantages. If you’re photographing fast-changing situations such as sport, children or wildlife, and you chimp too much, you can miss a moment of crucial action. Also, the LCD screen on your camera uses large amounts of power. Chimp too much and you could find your battery going flat much sooner than expected.

But, apart from that, forget what the Serious Ones say. There’s nothing wrong with it. A carpenter checks the straightness of planing and the angles of joints as a cupboard is built. A potter checks the roundness of pots on the wheel. A chef tastes food as it is being prepared.

So chimp away!

Just leave off the funny noises.

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