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What is Lens Chimping and How You can Use it?

Hailing from Washington DC, Sam Hurd is one of the most established and renowned wedding photographers in the country. He photographs over forty wedding annually along with numerous commercial portraiture and press events. In his off time, he loves sharing novel photography techniques and tricks that he’s smartly developed over a long and accomplished career. During the wedding season, he constantly strives to impart some new lessons from his vast repertoire of photography skills to aspiring photographers. Many a times, even experienced photographers have found his knowledge and tips to be invaluable. At times, Hurd, himself, finds certain useful tips in the brenizer, prisming, and free-lensing tactics of other photographers. Lately, Mr. Sam has developed a brand new and highly helpful photography skill known as lens chimping. Let’s see what’s it all about and how can we use it in our future projects.

Sam Hurd has named his latest technique as lens chimping due to the fact that it’s achieved by shooting your photos via a hand-held convex lens element placed right in front of your camera lens. What you get is a magnificent coalition of spherical light orbs and reflections along with a faint prism/free-lens merged appearance. What’s more, it even does away with the straight forward reflections of a normal prism.

Basically, lens chimping is a type of natural extension from prisming as both methods rely on the same techniques. However, the end results are quite different. Another thing that you need to remember is to use a simple convex lens at all times while employing this technique, since it can be easily stored away in your pocket and you’re unlikely to face any hassles from airport security staff with it.

Lens chimping is certainly a marvelous way of infusing some spice to normal procedure of capturing the wedding party seated comfortably in their chairs. The best place to deploy this technique is in scenarios where you get to exercise maximum control such as while capturing portraits.

This method also throws up two more advantages against the conventional prism technique. First, if you place the convex lens element flat in against the lens of your camera, it automatically metamorphoses into a macro lens. Secondly, irrespective of how much you distort the convex lens, you’ll never get any weird rainbow effects as in a prism.

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The lens chimping technique offers you the opportunity to really bring about some stark differentiations in your works. It also provides you with many wondrous textures and mercurial colors by seamlessly integrating the actual surrounding of your shots into your pictures.

Perhaps, the best way to sum up the lens chimping technique is through these simple explanatory words of the man who invented the technique himself: “It enables you to make images that are nearly impossible to recreate and adds a bit of mystery and excitement. It can be really useful in a boring situation where you just don’t have time to experiment — a situation I’m all too familiar with as a wedding photographer.”

If you wish to experiment and create something entirely new and unprecedented, then the lens chimping technique should definitely tick all the boxes in your checklist to achieve this. Besides being an invaluable and quick method of for creating an interesting wedding portfolio, it could also prove immensely useful in the projects of other kinds of photographers, who wish to tweak their style a bit, but don’t have the time or adequate resources required to invest a complex new method.

Photo Credits – Sam Hurd

1 Comment

  • Simon Yong Says

    Can I know what lens he are using for this lens chimping technique? I try to use 50 & 85 but all become like macro lens, the distance need very close up the subject just can get the focus point. Appreciate your advise.

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