Chimping, the art of looking at the LCD screen on the camera after taking a photo. My first uninformed attempt at film a friend offered some advice, “Use digital, with film you don’t get feedback fast enough to learn. With digital you can take a photo then see the product immediately.” I eventually followed his advice. I came to understand what he meant. He started taking photos before digital. He spent his middle school and high school years developing and printing in a darkroom. He learned quickly from the fast feedback. He could expose a roll then develop it when the experience taking the photo were fresh in his mind. Next time he shot a roll he could use the experience to better expose the film. It is the art of learning how to use your tool similar to a painter leading to use brushes.

In these situations, chimping is good. You learn to get the correct exposure. After you learn the technical art of using your tool it is time to remove the training wheels and stop chimping.

I had to re-train myself. Chimping was second nature. I shot a photo then I would look. Spending a year with film only helped. I learned patience. I learned to value the press of the shutter. Each shutter press is a choice. Each choice is a representation of your artistic vision. I learned to be more selective in my choices during that year.

Chris Wessells Las Vegas Fremont girl smiling

I didn’t see her in the frame when I pressed the shutter. I am happy she was there.

I spent the weekend in Vegas with my wife and daughter. I didn’t process the images until I got home. Monday I downloaded the images to my computer and sometime later in the week I edited them. After distancing myself from my photos it felt as though they were someone else’s photos. Looking through them was a joyful surprise

Next time you shoot, don’t review them until later. Get them off your SD card and leave them for a while.

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