As many of you know, I have been writing this blog for 8 years now, and I also spent many years of my life as Director of Marketing at Lexar dealing with the ins and outs of the memory card business. And in all that time, I have never written a blog about the do’s and don’ts of memory cards. Now that I have left Lexar and not on that side of the business any more, I feel that I can write this objective piece for you without any conflict of interest.
And if you are taking digital photos on a memory card (and you probably are), YOU WILL WANT TO READ THIS!
First, let me explain the memory card in simple terms for you.
Most people look at a memory card as a piece of plastic or metal, and they don’t think much about them. But inside those covers, there is a LOT of intelligence. There is flash memory, a controller and much more. The quality of that memory and controller often determines the speed and quality of your card.
Your memory card has something called a File Allocation Table, otherwise known as a FAT Table. Think of your memory card as a book and the FAT Table as a Table of Contents. When you format a memory card, you are not actually erasing the card, you are just clearing the FAT Table. So…you have removed the Table of Contents, but the chapters of the book still remain. Yep, all the images will remain on your card until you shoot more and overwrite them. This is why you can use a program like Lexar’s Image Rescue, SanDisk’s Rescue Pro or other data recovery software to recover images from a card even after it is formatted.
And now for the tips, which I am going to write in the order of importance:
1. DO NOT erase images from your memory card in your camera! Clarification: What I mean by this is: Do not go through your photos and delete them one by one using your camera. I see people (including professional photographers) doing this all the time and it is a REALLY bad idea. Your camera is awesome at taking photos, but it is not very smart at managing the data on your memory card. Deleting individual images from the card using your camera is a great way to scramble the FAT Table. DON’T DO IT! And heck, memory cards have gotten so inexpensive and large, that you should not have to delete images to save space. Just pop in a new card and keep shooting. Once you have downloaded to your computer, and backed up the images THEN format your card to use it again.
2. Format your memory cards in your camera, not on your computer. I have seen countless web sites which tell people to format their memory cards on your computer. This is just bad information! You want to format the cards in the camera. And you should do this on the camera your are shooting with. I am currently shooting with the Canon 1DX Mark II, Canon 1DX, Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 5D Mark III, and I format the card in the camera I am using. You are reading this correctly…I do not format in one Canon camera and move it to another. Will they work?
Photographers have had a good run. From the first photograph ever captured in 1826 until today, we’ve all witnessed countless, amazing advances. Unfortunately the demise of professional photographers is almost complete.
Decade old tech kills professional photography
Ironically the death knell to the business of photographers turns out to be 10-year-old technology. This tech enables everyone to be a photographer, by making capturing a photograph as simple as pushing a button. In short the professional photographer is going the way of the buggy whip maker.
With today’s introduction of Kodak’s “Brownie” camera, Mr. Eastman is leveraging his transparent roll film, invented just a decade ago, and brings photography to the masses. His advertisements for this camera “You press the button – we’ll do the rest.” does not bode well for any commercial photographer and at a price of on dollar, soon everyone will be creating their own photographs.
Why the iPhone is just like the Brownie
That’s what a blog post in 1900 may have read like. Fast forward to today, replace the 10-year-old technology of transparent photographic film with digital image capture, and substitute Kodak’s “Brownie” with Apple’s iPhone. Even Steve Job’s slogan “the internet in your pocket” is a carbon copy of “a Kodak in your pocket”.
It’s true, iPhonography lets everyone carry a camera with them 24/7 flooding the world of social media with photos and video. Today’s trend is definitely away from the carefully crafted photograph, but it is going towards photographers. Heather Elder, a rep on the west coast said it best in a recent blog post “The bottom line is that relying solely on your imagery to speak for you has become dangerous.”
How to survive the final nail in the coffin
Since everyone can create a good image these days, (and if it’s not perfect, a quick Instagram filter can fix that) the focus is turning away from your imagery standing by itself and is shifting toward the photographers themselves in addition to their photographic ability. Heather goes on to say “Adding your voice to that imagery is equally as dangerous, but for everyone else, not you.”
In my experience, many of my clients tell me, that after they find my business through a Google search for a photographer; they look what Google has to say about my brand (i.e. me and my business in addition to my photography). Almost everyone comments that the presentation of my business online played a huge role in their decision to hire me. For more on this, see my earlier Strictly Business post when I wrote about why having a strong online brand is worth more than your skill set as a photographer.
Today our profession finds itself threatened by popular adoption of 10-year-old technology again to the point, where we have to adapt how we brand and market what we do. Being able to see the trends in your industry is essential to one’s survival – after all Mr. Strong was a buggy whip manufacturer who, after foreseeing the death of his business, partnered with the first producer of photographic dry plates: George Eastman.
[This article was first posted on Strictly Business the blog of the American Society of Media Photographers
in March of 2015.]
Read the fine print
I recently was hired to create photographs and video for a client. We agreed on number of images and video I was to create in which time for what amount of money, subject to a joint usage agreement. OK. No problem so far. Then I got the agreement and read the fine print.
Here’s what the proposed contract read:
This job was bid out for a specific number of images and videos. This wording in the fine print says I will turn over every photo I take and every frame of footage I capture at the end of the job for future use and on top of that, I will transfer all rights to the client.
Don’t be afraid to say no (in a very nice way)
If you’re in a situation like this, how do you handle this request? Here’s what I did: I went and rewrote the fine print of the agreement, changing the language to grant the client unlimited and exclusive usage to the images a final videos we’re creating for them, which is exactly what they need. I added a line that I may use the material licensed to them for self promotional purposes and that all other usage would need written authorization from the client.
Then I submitted the reworded agreement. I received an email asking for clarification on some other issues, that had nothing to do with the usage, reworked the agreement’s fine print again and received a signed copy today.
Here’s the point I’m trying to make: Just because you’re dealing with a big client, don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms with them. It never hurts to ask. I know many photographers that would have signed the first contract, saying “Oh, well it’s just the way that CLIENT does business and if I want the job, I’ll need to play by their rules.”
Suggest solutions – don’t point out problems
Sure, I could have pointed out why this doesn’t seem fair, but that usually gets you nowhere. Instead submitting a fair change to the agreement, which now reflects what we had talked about in the first conversations gets you much further. Realize that many big companies have boiler plate language in their agreements that may totally not apply to your project. An agreement is a starting point to negotiate from, not the end. And if it is the end remember you always have the right to walk away from the job, before you sign on the dotted line, but never ever neglect to read (and change) the fine print.
Please take the time to read the agreements you’re asked to work under and don’t assume that they were crafted specifically for your project.
Have your own terms and conditions (your part of the fine print) in place and send them to the client with the first document describing scope, time or cost. I don’t send out an estimate without attaching mine, with this job it won’t be my terms and conditions, but the agreement that we’ve crafted together.
Look for a win for both parties and stick to your guns.
Who isn’t excited about a 5 figure job?
I’ve been working on producing a 5 figure job over the past few weeks, that I was referred to by a friend of mine. Everything looked great, every discussion I had with the client was promising. They liked my work. They were happy with the budget. They were in agreement with the conditions for the job, which we had defined in the fine print of our terms and conditions. They had the money for the 50% deposit. Everything was going smoothly, until
Decades before Google search Granddad had one of these beasts on his desk (Image: Wikipedia)
My Grandpa mastered Search Engine Optimization 75 years ago!
Gotta hand it to my Grandpa. He got Google search, before the invention of the calculator, decades ahead of the internet. My grandfather loved technology, he was an early adopter, before anyone had even coined that phrase.
Granddad – or Vati-Vati as he liked to be called, was an avid inventor and had founded his own company after in Germany after World War II.
He also had a brilliant mind for business and used SEO long before the world-wide web was born. Here’s what he would do:
How SEO worked in the 50s
In the 1950s the preferred “search engine” was a big, fat book with yellow pages in it, where businesses advertised their phone numbers to get new clients.
Every time someone would call his shop, to ask if they offered a specific service, this man’s answer was always yes, even if they didn’t. After he hung up he’d figure out how to solve the customer’s problem and once he’d gotten the solution, he would create a new listing