Accidentally losing your digital camera pictures is a major pain in the you-know-what. I know that because it has happened to me. However, near the end of my most recent European site seeing trip with my family when I received the dreaded “memory card error” on my new Canon D90, I immediately knew what to do, and within a half hour I was able to successfully restore all of my lost pictures! In this guide, I will show you how to get back your lost or deleted photos, but before that I need to explain what causes this problem so you can prevent it in the future.
How did my photos get deleted?
The most common cause of lost digital camera memory card photos is a disruption in the data transmission stream. That basically means that the camera is turned off while it is writing to the memory. In real life this is most often realized, by accidentally dropping the camera, running out of batteries, or removing the batteries right after taking a picture. So, it is very important that after you take a photo, you are very careful with the camera and give it time to write to the card. Also, if you notice you are on low battery, change to a spare battery right away because if you completely run out of power you risk an automatic shutoff. Finally, always carry your camera on a strap around your wrist or neck – this way if you drop the camera, you are covered.
Now what do I do?
First, I recommend connecting the memory card directly to a pc or mac through an internal or USB card reader. If none of these are available, you can connect through your camera’s usb connection, but it can sometimes be problematic. If you still cannot view your photos, you can try gently cleaning the memory card with an eyeglass lens cleaner. In many cases that will fix the problem if it was a connection issue.
If you still have not gotten your photos back, don’t worry we are now moving onto the serious business. The software that I used, which I’ve had a 100% recovery rate with is Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery. Stellar uses an advanced scanning algorithm to find the hidden photos on your digital camera’s memory card. Simply download the software for either Windows or Mac OS, and install it to your computer. Once the program is installed, it will automatically scan your memory card, and show you previews of any images it can recover. At this point you can check for pixel damage, and decide which photos you want to recover, and where you want to save them on your computer.
At this point, you’ve recovered your photos – congratulations!