Exploring Photography Week 2: Lens Chimping

When portrait and wedding photographer Sam Hurd, shared his prisiming technique, the photography world went into melt down and prisms practically sold out around the world. Sam is renowned for pushing photography techniques to the next level and a method that followed last year ‘Lens Chimping’ is the next technique we’d like to delve into for our ‘Exploring Photography’ series.


Lens Chimping is a technique achieved by holding a convex lens in front of a camera lens much like the prism. However, Lens Chimping differs from the prism because it doesn’t pull from the top or bottom (or left and right depending on how you hold it) plane of your image, the convex lens pulls and distorts light evenly from the side. The result of all this is a dreamy blend of reflections and circularly shaped light orbs without any of the straightforward reflections you get from a prism. Lens Chimping will look different depending on how you chimp and what is brought into focus and into the lens.

Lens Chimping Main

Lens Chimping has been described as a natural continuation from prisiming as the techniques are largely the same but give very different looks, however, there are two significant benefits in argument for Lens Chimping over the use of a prism.

1. If you set the lens flat again, your camera lens turns into a macro lens.
2. You won’t get the rainbow effects no matter how hard you distort the lens.

Overall the technique is a great way to add some mystery and excitement to an image, particularly at weddings when you’re trying your best to fend off those clichéd wedding photos. Like many distortion effects it’s easy to get carried away, but don’t let that stop you, it begs to be experimented with!

Dom Read, a director and photographer from London, wanted to adopt the same technique for a video (below).

Lens Chimping from Dom Read [DFR] on Vimeo.