Image Safety


Let’s talk about something often thought about, talked about, and reinvented.

Safety regarding your cards, files, backups and other like things.

SD cards are awesome. Tiny and easy to loose, confuse, and break. We buy different cases for them, have certain ones we use for certain events, and trade them with friends and colleagues.


What if I told you something you already know? SD cards can go bad. We don’t really know when. I’ve had brand new cards corrupt files, and I’ve had old cards corrupt files. Here’s some methods I use to protect myself from scary situations like this during weddings.

  1. Get a good case to organize yourself. I will be showing you what I do for weddings. (90% of what I do.) The case I use is here.

This case does something really big for me. It allows me to use certain cards for certain points of the day. I shoot using a Holdfast Strap System, so I always have a prime on my main camera, and my 70-200 on my other. This unexpectedly provides an extra backup of certain times of the day with another camera. So I always have 2 cameras, and 2 cards.

I have freshly formatted cards for every big change in the day. Getting Ready, Ceremony + Family Pictures, Portraits, and Reception. I label each compartment with what card is to go into what camera when.

Now, instead of having one or two cards where majority of your images possibly go corrupt, you would only have some images from one small portion of the day missed. (Again, this is all so rare, but you can’t predict it!) I also can have cards with higher speeds and lower gigs.

In the summer, I shoot every weekend. So I have 2 cases and sets of cards, and alternate back and forth.

When I get home from a wedding, I immediately upload my images to my laptop. (Backup One) Then, once downloaded, I back the files up to my hard-drive. (Backup Two)

I will shoot the next wedding on my other set of cards, and leave the first set untouched. (Backup Three)

My cameras have dual card slots. One for SD and one for CF. My CF cards are large, but couldn’t hold an entire wedding in RAW format. I have also found that my camera slows down when shooting with dual cards both recording RAW. Consequently, I record large Jpegs to the CF, and only put RAW files on the SD. The CF cards can hold 3-4 weddings in Jpegs from one camera. I hope to never have to use what is on those CF cards, but if I absolutely had to, they would be large enough to work off of. Chances are, it would only be a few images anyways. (Backup Four)

Additional Tips!

  1. Mark your cards with a dot of nail polish so you know their yours! I use blue ;) Make sure the dot is fully dry before putting it in your camera. (Don’t ask me why I’m telling you this.) The identifying mark will help you discern between your cards and your second shooters.

  2. Write what card goes in what slot so you don’t get them confused, and can put them where they belong.

  3. When you finish a card, flip it upside down so when uploading later, you know what ones are to be downloaded.

  4. I read somewhere on the great interwebs that you should never delete photos on your card while shooting. Here’s an article that covers some great stuff.

  5. Also in that article, always format your cards on the camera you are shooting on!! Try and do this the day before.

  6. Have spare cards in your case. Mine has 4 extra spaces once I have all my needed cards in it. I always need it!

This is how I do the things.

Maybe one day is could change, but I find this works best right now! Hopefully this gives you some ideas of how you can shoot safer. If you do something similar, or would recommend something to make things better, feel free to comment below!

Thanks for reading!