April 3rd, 2016
Brandon brought up the following issue last week:
I’ve noticed that most photographers these days seem to prefer “chimping” exposures over using a light meter (Mike Kelley and Scott Hargis both mention their preference for this in their video materials). While this makes sense to me, especially in real estate photography with digital equipment, I have found it extremely difficult to accurately judge exposure from the back of the camera screen (I use a Canon 5D Mark II). I have tried adjusting the LCD brightness and I use the blinking highlight exposure warning. Sometimes I’ll take some shots that look great in camera and find out they’re over-cooked with flash once I open them up on my desktop. Using the CamRanger helps a bit but it adds a lot of time to each shot, and with basic houses seems a bit overkill. The same problem sometimes occurs when taking daylight exteriors—it’s just hard to tell whether I’ve nailed the exposure based on the LCD. Does anyone else have this problem, and what steps have you taken to address it?
First of all, a word of explanation for readers that may not be familiar with the term “chimping”. Chimping is a colloquial term used in digital photography to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera display (LCD) immediately after capture. Chimp is an acronym of CHeck IMage Preview.
I use Scott’s flash technique and I chimp on my Canon 5D Mark II. My take to your question is that I find that if I shoot RAW I can easily use the Highlights, Shadow and Exposure sliders in Lightroom to easily recover from any chimping inaccuracies so not getting the exposure spot-on in the camera doesn’t create a disaster I can’t recover from. Far easier and faster than fooling around with a light meter. I think you are expecting too much to always nail the exposure by chimping. Chimping is approximate. Doing a little adjustment on a large calibrated screen in Lightroom only takes a few seconds and is the way to get the exposure right on.
What advice do others have for Brandon?