Losing your camera stinks, losing your photos is heartbreaking.
When Santiago, Chile’s professional soccer team won its big championship at home last spring, the bad boy futbol fans went wild. There was rioting. There was tear gas. In the melee and confusion and crowds that spilled into the downtown plazas, someone unzipped my friend Lisa’s purse and stole her point-and-shoot camera. And it was not just her camera, but the photos of her 21st birthday and a week of adventure in the Patagonian outback (as seen in the photo above). Fortunately, there were three other cameras on the trip, but still: Every picture she shot was lost forever.
When it comes to digital photography, don’t wait for something to go wrong. Memory cards are cheap, and it’s easy to buy the biggest one and store all your photos on it. Even a 1 GB card can stash hundreds of snapshots. But don’t do it. Cards corrupt themselves, get lost, are stolen. I’ve had four simply die and who knows how many I’ve lost. When I’m shooting a story, I use 2 GB Compact Flash cards even though my camera can take much bigger ones; that allows 120 pictures per card and reduces my loss if something goes wrong. The extra work swapping and storing cards is nothing compared to the cost of losing irreplaceable pictures.
Here are four simple, yet essential digital photography guidelines >>