Yesterday was probably the worst day in my career so far! I felt my heart race and I felt like a heart attack was right on my heels, I felt numb and every thing stood still. But thank the Lord all worked out well. It’s probably something very little photographers will write about, as it puts you in quite a vulnerable position. But something I realized was that we are all human! We ARE vulnerable, we do make mistakes and we will make mistakes! And the quicker you realize it and accept it, the easier it will be for you… ok, so all of you are wondering what happened, well, here is the story:
I did a shoot and while I was editing I realized that some of the photos were missing. Ok, NOT COOL! I checked my 3 backups…Yes I run 3 backups of all my shoots. I basically download my cards and then I copy that same folder on 3 different external hard drives, to make super sure nothing can fail on me. I have a very set system and it’s NEVER failed me before, but as I say, we are human and technology can fail, so as I checked the files I realized that there was a gap in the time zone, which meant that those photos were missing and missing on all 3 hard drives! So I went back to my cards, but they were already formatted. So they were gone…
But then I started reading up on recovery software and I first bought Sandisk Rescue, but I had no luck, then later that day I came across Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery. This is the program that saved my files!! I ran the program over the formatted card and I got all my RAW files back. In full quality! As if it was still on the card! This is a program you hav to buy! It’s only 38$ and a must have for such a situation. I still don’t understand how this happend, as it was only about a quarter of the photos on the original card that I was missing, so for some reason they were never downloaded.
I jotted down a quick check list for those of you who don’t have a set system yet, this might help to illuminate situations like these:
- While shooting, make sure you put your clean cards in one bag/holder and the full cards in a separate one. I use the sandisk bags to separate mine. I hook them on my shootsac, so that they are close by. I use the white sandisk bag as the empty cards and the red one for the full ones.
- When you get home, create a new file on your computer or external hard drive. I use external hard drives as this gives me freedom to travel with my files and it doesn’t fill up my computer. I use a filing system with the following sub divisions. A year division eg 2009, then I have a division for COUPLES, WEDDINGS, CORPORATE etc. Under the weddings I create a new file for my client, but I put their date first. In this way all my files will be sorted in the shoot date and not the name eg filename: 20091011 John & Adri
- In the past I use to dump all the files in that folder and then it’s done, but NO!! Don’t do it! Your files names might over write each other especially if you shoot with more than 1 camera, so to keep track of exactly each file make a file for each card, eg in “20091011 John & Adri” you make a file “1″, “2″, “3″ etc and after each card is downloaded make sure you check the original files on the card and make sure you have the same amount of files in your file as on the card.
- Copy this same file on 2 other external hard drives/flash disks so that you have all the originals in case one fails.
- If you ever format a card and you need the files, DON’T shoot over it!! Use Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery and recover your lost photos!
I hope this post helps some of you and that you’ll never have to go though what I went through yesterday!