HOW TO... protect your Christmas photos so they last a lifetime

How to format a memory card in the Nikon D3400
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Saturday December 16, 2017

By Jeff Meyer

Whether it’s the traditional family group portrait taken in front of the fireplace, or candid shots of the cousins playing outside, the Christmas season provides ample opportunities for magical photos.

Unfortunately, many people expend a lot of time and energy getting the perfect shot, but protecting their photos is an afterthought. In this guest post, David Zimmerman, CEO of data recovery firm LC Technology International shares his best tips for protecting your Christmas photos to ensure they last a lifetime.

01 Let the Camera have a Holiday

Modern DSLR cameras are great for shooting in any type of lighting or action environment, from festive candlelit dinners to backyard football games in bright sun. While these devices are perfect for fast shooting, they do need to be treated with care.

One problem that often occurs is a photographer will take a shot and then immediately turn off the camera or quickly use the viewer to try to edit the photo. It’s best to give the computer within the camera a few seconds to “write” the file properly, before powering off whipping out the card.

And, try to avoid using the on-board editing functions, and instead safely move files to your computer and then use software that’s specifically built for editing.

If you do either of these actions too abruptly, then the file might become corrupted.

02 Keep Battery Levels in High Spirits

A DSLR requires battery power to work properly, and a “low battery” can negatively impact how the device functions.

For example, the camera does some work in the background to format and file every photo, and this function can be interrupted or broken if there’s not enough “juice”.

Use a combination of backup batteries that fit into the camera as well as external charging batteries to ensure you don’t miss a single moment.

03 Avoid Gift Recycling

You shouldn’t engage in re-gifting that salad spinner that Aunt Martha gave to you last year, and similarly, you should avoid deleting photos from a SD card in order to make space for new shots.

This means deletions made using the camera’s own functions, not instances where all of the photos are moved from the card to storage.

By using the delete function, you can cause problems in the “file table” and the new photos you take might try to effectively “fill the holes” in the file that’s now missing because it was removed.

Keep every photo on the card, and decide later on which ones warrant deletion and those that will be on the family calendar.

04 Give Yourself the Gift of Backups

Think about the most prized possessions that you’d grab in a fire, and many people will immediately consider family photos. These memories are irreplaceable, and are often especially fond when they’re created over the holidays.

In the digital age, a simple way to protect photos is to backup the files to a secure location. This means using a cloud-based storage service (Amazon, Google, etc.) and combining that with external hard drives for an extra layer or coverage.

Storage is exceedingly cheap, so don’t be a “Scrooge” when it comes to creating backups.

Regularly move photos from your camera to designated backup services and never worry about losing a lifetime of memories.

05 Handle the SD Card Like a Fragile Present

SD cards (the memory card that goes into the camera), or amazing devices that can store thousands of photos and hundreds of high-res videos. They’re designed to be very small and light, but these features also mean they’re fragile.

Handle these cards with care, especially when taking them out of the camera. Keep them away from dust and liquid, as even a small amount of foreign material can make the contents unreadable.

Try to only remove them when you are downloading the photo files to a computer or external hard drive. You should also avoid swapping out the card into another device such as a GoPro, because every piece of electronics will use unique formatting for the card.

If you mix the cards, then the formatting can go haywire and your amazing shots of turkey dinner will be wasted.

Selecting the right memory card for your GoPro