Memory Cards ... 6 ways you can avoid the dreaded "card failure"

Memory Cards ... 6 ways you can avoid the dreaded "card failure"

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Have you ever had a card fail you?

Let me just set the scene for you ... You're on your way home from a successful photo session, even worse ... a wedding you shot. It's time to back up all the images and even edit a few sneak peeks.

Getting ready shots √

Bridal portraits √

Family portraits √

Ceremony ... what the hell just happened ... the memory card says "card failure" [Insert panic mode here!]

This is the moment your successful business may take a nasty hit. Unfortunately, sometimes this card failure means that the files are gone forever and there is no way to recover them. Corrupt (aka deader than a door knob) cards can wreak havoc on your sanity & success.  

What can you do to ensure this doesn't happen to you?


1. Use dual card slots

One of the best ways to ensure that this doesn't happen to you is to shoot with a camera that has two slots that you can put two cards in.  These types of cameras allow you to set them up as a backup of each other.  It creates a copy of the file on both discs.  yes this means you are buying more cards but it certainly is the safest method.  


2. Use cards with less memory size

Some photographers may find it annoying to change cards every hour but to me this is security at it's finest.  If you lose a card that has 8gb vs a card that holds 64gb, your window of lost images is smaller.  For wedding photographers this can be the difference of losing an entire ceremony.  


3. Import images to your computer using the cord that comes with your camera

The truth is, the more a card is pulled out of a camera and put into a third party reader, the more possibility for damage to occur.  


4. Do a proper card format before every session

Prior to every session, before I even leave the house, I prepare all my cards.  I format each card IN CAMERA!  I put all those formatted cards into my pelican (card holder) and I know during the shoot that it's a clean card.  When I fill one up I put it in a bag that I have labeled "DO NOT FORMAT.  SESSION IMAGES".  

This protects me also from any accidental formatting that could occur if I was doing in on shoot.  Important:  only format cards at home prior to a session, never during one!  This way you don't accidentally format one you just shot.  Note:  before formatting make sure you have exported all the photos and backed them up.  


5. If you notice card errors happening stop using the card immediately

Sometimes during a session you start to get errors in camera.  If any of these relate to the card immediately take it out and use a different card.  Any hints of an issue are your lucky sign to major loss if you had continued.  


6. Give your cards an expiration date

This can definitely be costly but I certainly do not prefer to use a card until it dies & potentially makes me lose a session.  Yes, a card can go bad right after purchasing but honestly the most nightmares come from a card that has been in the loop for years.  I write the date on each card that I buy.  Every card gets the boot after two years of use.  This doesn't mean you have to throw it away, you can give it to a friend who isn't a pro, you can keep it for personal projects, but the bottom line is to always have working equipment.  Remember, cards are a business expense.


Has this ever happened to you?  If so, comment below what type of card it was and what you did.

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