Losing…My Mind

At some point while shooting digital, you’re gonna face the hard reality of images disappearing from storage media - whether it be CompactFlash, SD or some other storage device. Trust me, it will happen usually at the least opportune moment, while shooting for a client or capturing a special event.

Fortunately, in most cases the files still exist on the card, even though they aren’t showing in your software. They just need a little coercing to make their way over to your hard drive for processing. Thankfully software exists specifically to help us out of this bind.

I just recently encountered this situation while shooting a benefit concert in the north country of New York. I inserted my 16 GB CompactFlash card into the reader with a little over 1000 images on it, eagerly anticipating how the photos turned out. When the import page came up in Lightroom, only about 70 image thumbnails showed up. Uh oh. Panic started to set in. After sticking the card back in the camera, I knew the images were on the card, just not showing.

Next step was to find a piece of recovery software. In my case, because I was using a SanDisk card, I ended up downloading RescuePro for $40 and installing. Sure enough, it was able to find the files and download them to my laptop harddrive. The process took a good hour or so to complete, but was worth every penny and every second.

So, a couple of quick tips to consider:

  1. Use reputable brands - Sandisk, Lexar, etc.  It’s tempting to buy that $40 16 GB card. Don’t. (No, I’m not getting paid by any of these companies.)
  3. Re-format your card in camera EVERY time you clear it. This prevents a bunch of different errors that can arise by simply erasing all images. Others say to do this every now and then. My practice is every single time.
  5. Treat your cards nicely. It’s all too easy to toss them around, shove them into a pants pocket or leave them on a car seat. Treat them better than you do your car keys.
  7. Don’t pack your cards full of photos - leave a little space on them.
  9. Avoid deleting images from your card while in-camera in the attempt to pack in more shots. This can cause data corruption issues. Think ahead and buy a few additional cards. Software like Lightroom and Aperture make the process of deleting images very easy in post.
  11. Avoid using the newest, ultra humongous cards for a bit. Let someone else test-drive them and prove that they’re worthy. Carry a couple of smaller cards instead.
  13. Switch out older cards for newer ones over time. Like anything else, they do suffer from wear and tear.
  15. And lastly, if you do encounter a data loss situation, have a copy of an image recovery utility available.

Hopefully, these tips will help a little. In the end, these types of situations may well happen even after you’ve taken all precautions.

10-July-2011 | Techniques & Tips | 0



If there’s one question I get the most when showing my photography, it’s “did you Photoshop that image”? Of course, I now have my spiel that I toss out there about the digital darkroom and how every photographer who shoots digital has a workflow that includes some level of tinkering in a graphics package such as Photoshop.

However, when it comes to shooting portraits, there is typically little shame about ‘enhancements’ shall we say.  Well, those days are now over.  New on the market is an innovative cream that allows people to become beautiful instantly.

As you can see, this cream has done wonders for the likes of Madonna. And that sound you hear is the collective sigh of thousands of portrait photographers who have carpal tunnel from erasing age spots and wrinkles….

09-July-2010 | Techniques & Tips


Stretch Yourself

Never stop learning.  It’s one principle that I try to live by. One way is to force yourself to stretch creatively by starting a project. Dustin Diaz, a very talented photographer out of San Fran, took on the type of project that was undoubtedly grueling, but incredibly valuable. He called it the 365 Project.

The goal of the project was to set up and shoot a new photo every single day. And by setting up and shooting, I don’t mean simply walking out the door and finding a flower to shoot. He actually took strobes and umbrellas to each shoot. Not only did he take a different shot each day, but he added notes and video about nearly every shot.  Why? So others can learn from his experience / mistakes / successes as well.

Dustin Diaz

Check this project out. Make sure to click on the links following each shot that take you to Flickr for the setup and strobist info.

01-June-2010 | Techniques & Tips


Reinvent Yourself

In any creative field keeping your work fresh is a challenge.  The recipe for this process calls for a cup of introspection and a hard dose of reality.  The moment you think you’re great, the sooner your work becomes stagnant.  You’ll get lapped by others who have the thirst and drive to push themselves and grow creatively. Reinvention is a must.  Rethink your style.  Revisit your technique. 

As a professional photographer, I often go back and look at my work and frankly, I’m often left unsatisfied with the results.  I know I can do better. Be more creative. Stretch myself. I know that it’s vital for me to grow as a photographer.

Zack Arias serves up some reality about his own work (and stellar work I might add) in a video he produced for Scott Kelby’s blog. It’s a fantastic look inward and a must for fellow photographers or for anyone who strives to be creative.

19-May-2010 | Techniques & Tips