Image loss a mystery

  • smickel
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have been shooting with a Canon DSLR for over 5 years. Recently I shot a wedding (I was refered to the couple by another photographer that was already booked) They were very happy that my services for 4 hours of shooting would only cost them $650. (CHEAP!)

I arrived at the site of the wedding and got me gear ready. It was overcast and raining very lightly. I took some test shots to ensure my flash was set accurately and after taking the tests I turned my camera off. As the ceremony started I turned it back on and shot all the photos, checking my preview screen regularly to ensure I go the shot. Directly after the ceremony I did some formal family portraits and a group shot. I took quite a few group shots because I kept seeing the bride look away in the preview. I then turned the camera off again. I turned it back on for the formal portraits of the bride and groom and continued to shoot until they sat down for dinner.

I was horrified to find out that a huge portion of the images weren't recorded. Upon downloading and using recovery software all I could retrieve were the test shots I took prior to the ceremony, the formal shots fo the newly weds and the reception. The ceremony, the formal family shots and various others taken at during the same time period were not there. I ended up losing all the money, the bride and groom are treating me like I wanted this to happen, and although I should just get past it, I can't. What happened? No one seems to know and it's driving me crazy. Is it possible for the Camera to decide "Not" to write the images to the card? I saw them on the preview screen so I assumed they were captured. Nothing was turned up by the Sandisk Recovery Pro Software and it is really bothering me. Does anyone have any insight??
  • Ishii
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  • Ishii
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  • Loc: Gilbert, AZ

Post 3+ Months Ago

What camera are you shooting with? Did you change memory cards at any point during the day? If you shot an entire wedding on a single memory card that's asking for trouble. CompactFlash is subject to just as many issues as hard drives and computer memory. It's possible you have a bad sector or bad chip in the card.

I budget to replace my cards after 30 weddings, or a year, whichever is sooner. Old/overused cards have an increased likelihood of causing problems.

There is also an option on most or all of the canon DSLRs to shoot without a memory card. Make sure this is turned OFF. It is insane to risk shooting without a memory card when you're getting paid.

One more thing... when you're done with a card, do not erase the images, and don't do anything to it in the computer. Put the card in your camera, and go through the menu options and format the card with the camera you are going to use it in.

On a side note... this is why many pro photographers shoot with the higher end bodies that record to multiple flash cards and/or shoot with two bodies.
  • smickel
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I guess I asked for trouble. I was shooting it with a Canon EOS Rebel.... I've wanted to upgrade for some time, but I've been waiting to make some money to do so. Unfortunatley this has set me back a bit!! I never really considered that there could be problems with the actual memory card. The one I used is just over a year old and maybe that's the trouble. When I bought my DSLR I was so excited at the prospect of not having to deal with film. I thought that shooting digital would help me feel more confident in knowing that "I got the shot". Now I'm skeptical.

The couple had the option of hiring a photographer for over $2000... they would have had at least one assistant on the job. I guess it's a lesson for both of us. Spend more if you want guaranteed results and for me..... no more weddings without charging enough to bring along an assistant!

Thanks for your reply. I just finished doing another recovery and have turned up nothing. I still find it strange that it had to glich right at the most crucial point in the event!!
  • Ishii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The fact that all of the images are in series and then it's fine indicates a problem with your memory card. Seriously though, I get comments sometimes that my pricing seems high, but nobody seems to understand the liability involved, and how much it costs to minimize that liability.
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So you are not seeing them on the preview of the camera either?

There is another alternative to why you might not be getting the files, it could possibly be the way you are uploading them to the computer.

It's a strange coincidence, but the last time i saw something like this happen it was for a wedding shoot that a friend of mine took the other month. Luckily she managed to get most of the files back. The problem she had was the card upload hardware she was using was faulty.
  • smickel
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I only saw them directly after I took the shot. When I uploaded them to the computer there wasn't a break in the file numbers. When I realized that I was missing abunch of shots I put the card back in my camera to make sure that I wasn't having a problem with my computer downloading program. I'm pretty sure you are right about it being the card. This has been a really BIG learning experience. I hate learning the hard way as an adult... it's always expensive and hard to swallow.

Do you have any advice on how to ensure that CF cards don't malfunction? I read that you replace your cards annually or after 30 or so weddings. The one I used was only 8months to 1 year old. I don't regularly shoot weddings and I do the odd portrait session (not enough to pay any real bills) Is there any way you can test the card without filling it with test shots?
  • Ishii
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  • Ishii
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  • Loc: Gilbert, AZ

Post 3+ Months Ago

Might try a check disk in windows or use disk utility if you're on mac. I recommend using name brand, warrantied products like sandisk or lexar, too. Also use small capacity cards so you're forced to switch often.
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I swear by Sandisk. Not had a problem with them and many people i've known over time recommend their cards.

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