What happens if you’re shooting a wedding, leave your camera on a table to run out of the room, come back and find it missing? The camera is replaceable. But what about your memory card with the digital files you’ve just created? Worse yet, what if you have a large memory card that you’ve been using throughout the entire event, and have just lost a sizable amount of the wedding images?
If you haven’t thought about safety of your digital files yet, its time.
In today’s marketplace, you can get a small 2 GB compact flash card for under $15, all the way up to a current release of a 64GB compact flash card. And the amount of storage space is only half of the equation; current compact flash cards also are super fast to allow you to quickly transfer from your camera to computer during your small amounts of downtime.
But with the increased size capacity also comes the desire to have few cards to control during your shoot. A 65GB flash card can store thousands of images in JPEG format.
Which brings me back to my original question.
What happens if you’re finishing up a wedding, leave your camera on a table in the reception site, come back and find it missing? Your one 64GB card was inside the camera, with the entire days’ worth of images on it. What are you going to do?
1. Okay, number one has to be “never leave your camera unattended, even for a moment”. That’s easy to say, but it happens to everyone. You forget a bag in one room, leave your equipment for a couple of seconds to retrieve it, and come back to find the camera missing.
2. Divide your risk. The best way to divide your risk is to use more than one card. If you have more than one camera body, you obviously have at least one card per body. But beyond that, having multiple cards can also help control your risk throughout the day.
One of the ways we protected ourselves was to have a flash card case per camera. We would start the day with the flash cards in the case, label side up. Each flash card had a number (#1, #2, #3, #4) written on the back in permanent marker. When we used the flash card and replaced it in the camera, the card would be returned to the case, label side down so the # would show. At any point our cards were quickly accountable. And the case is small enough to keep comfortably in your pocket, so its safely on you at all times.
3. Download periodically. Technology is easy to come by pretty much anywhere, and its usually very fast. When you have a break between the wedding and reception, or at the reception while everyone is eating, load your images from the flash card to your computer. If you have online backup and storage, and if you have a fast Internet connection, you can even backup your data at the same time, further guaranteeing its safety.
Remember, your camera and equipment is replaceable, your data isn’t. Do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of your digital files, and protect the one thing that has the most value of all – your reputation.