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Safety Tips for your Flash Memory

I just read an article on safety tips for photographers and thought I would pass them on as we sometimes forget that memory cards are our film, and just like the way we had to protect film until we process it, we need to do the same for flash card.

  • Back It Up. This may seem obvious, but I here from students and even some pros that they had not back it up right away, and have lost photographs. This goes for all your digital media, backup your new photos immediately! This will protect you against data loss if your hard drive crashes. There are many options to use, CD’s, DVDs, external hard drives and online backup services.
  • Transfer you photos from you memory card to your hard drive as soon as possible. Some image management programs that will allow you to delete your photos after they transfer them to your hard drive, I never use this option. I want to make sure that the images have been transferred and that the photos have not been corrupted, it only takes a few seconds to reformat a card and I want my photos on at least two places before I delete them.
  • You want to have your photos stored in more than one place or drive. I keep my photos on three different locations: My first copy is on a Lacie big 4 hard drive, this is a Raid hard drive that has redundancy so if one hard drive fails I will not loses any photos and I can replace the bad hard drive and it will rebuild it self and I will keep the maxim protection I had before. Second is a DVD copy that I keep at my studio in a dark place with a number written only on the clear area on the DVD. Third is a DVD copy that I keep off site, and as I live in a hurricane prone area, I send a copy up north.
  • When you travel, you should bring along an external hard drive. Small portable hard drives have become inexpensive and faster. I carry two external hard drives when I work and travel, and will back up the same photos on both hard drives. You should transfer you photos to your home computer as soon as possible when you return home. If you have your photos on a portable hard drive this transfer will fast and simple.
  • Occasionally you should replace your memory cards. The number that most cards can be expected to last is somewhere between 10,000 and 1,000,000 erase cycles. If I have a card that last 1,000,000 erases I expect it to look a very old and used poker chip from a Las Vegas casino.
  • Caring an unprotected flash memory cards in your pocket can buildup static in your pocket and may zap your card and make it unreadable. You may also damage your card when you sit down by breaking it, or forgetting it’s in your pocket and washing it with your clothing.

Digital photography allows us to shoot an unlimited number of photos, but as we had to take care and store our film negatives, we have to time and precaution to store and backup our digital photos so if a hard drive crashes you will not loses you photographs.

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