We all may use different cameras, lenses, tripods and many other pieces of kit, but one thing all photographers have in common is that we need somewhere to store our shots and unless you have a camera with lots of internal memory, you'll probably use a memory card. So, as memory cards play such a vital role in our picture-taking process, we've put together a list of tips on using and looking after memory cards.
Obvious But Important
Even though some memory cards are water, shock, and magnetic / x-ray proof and come with warranties, keeping them dry, clean and avoiding dropping or bending them is still a good idea. Store them in a case when not in use and avoid extreme temperatures wherever possible.
Before you start taking photos, format the card when you've put it in the camera you're going to be using.
You can connect your camera straight to the computer to transfer your shots, however using a card reader, which is specifically designed to transfer data, will tend to do the job quicker, speeding up your workflow. Also, when you're ready to remove your card from your camera always wait for your images to finish writing to your memory card before doing so.
How Many Cards?
Do you go for the option of using one or maybe two larger sized memory cards or use lots of smaller cards instead? There are arguments for and against both suggestions and at the end of the day, it is down to personal preference. Some say you risk the chance of losing all your shots if you just use one card as it can break, be stolen etc. etc. However, similar things can be said about using several smaller cards as you can misplace them just as easily and you have to find somewhere to store them all.
Change Your Cards
If you do use a few memory cards make sure you use them evenly so one doesn't wear quicker than another. It's always a good idea to carry a spare memory card in your bag just in case anyway.
If you, unfortunately, encounter an error message stop using the card straight away, switch your camera off and remove it. You can then use recovery software once back home to see if you can save the shots you've taken.
As mentioned above, many cards are now waterproof and very durable. However, if they do get wet, still give them the chance to dry out at room temperature before reusing them again.
Can You Delete?
Do make sure you've backed up your photos before deleting them off your memory card(s). Using multiple backup devices is recommended as you may want to store them in various locations too.
More On Memory Cards
Take a look at our complete guide to memory cards to learn more about these essential pieces of kit and we've also listed the Top 10 Best SD Memory Cards and Top 10 Best MicroSD Memory Cards we've put to the test.