Flash memory cards or SD cards safety tips for photographers

With more capacity at a cheaper price, SD cards are now the most used storage devices in digital cameras. Another benefit of SD cards is their compatibility with the different camera brands. Any brand of SD card can fit in any camera brand. Most computers also have a slot for memory cards which makes it easy for photographers to transfer photos to their computers without any hustle.

Like any other storage device, memory cards can fail at any time. This may lead to loss of data that might be impossible or expensive to recover. Some of the causes of flash memory card failure include the following;

  • Getting corrupt by malware: This is one of the commonest causes of memory card failure that normally happens when you connect your memory card to another device like a phone or computer. If that device has malicious software, some of the files and partition tables on the memory card may get corrupted which may lead to loss of data or even total failure of the cf card itself.
  • Physical damage: Due to the small size of these memory cards, you may at times misplace it and end up damaging unintentionally. When the card gets damaged physically, its internal circuits get damaged which in the end makes accessing the data on the cards almost impossible to access.
  • Ejecting the SD card before unmounting it: It is common amongst many PC users to remove SD cards before properly unmounting them. On a good day, you will likely get no issues doing this. However, you may get unlucky someday and your memory cards firmware system gets damaged in the process of ejecting. This also makes accessing data on the card almost impossible

There are so many other causes of memory card failure but the above are the commonest ones. If you are a photographer and you want your memory card to last long with good performance, make sure you handle it with care. Below are some of the tips you can use to ensure both your memory card and the data it has are safe.

  1. Avoid connecting your memory card to devices you don’t trust

If you suspect a computer or phone to be having malicious software, you shouldn’t risk connecting your memory card to such devices. If you have a computer that you always use to edit photos from the SD cards, make sure you always scan it with an up to date antivirus to ensure it is free from any form of malware.

You should only connect the SD card when you are sure that the Pc is safe and doesn’t have any form of malware that may damage the memory card

  1. Always backup your photos

SD cards are so delicate and they can fail at a time you least expect them. To be on a safe side, you should always back up your photos to avoid losing all of them from just a simple mistake. The safest place to backup your data is the cloud. Storing files on the cloud is now way cheaper than storing them locally on your disk drives. So, if you value your hustle, always back up the photos on your SD on the cloud.

  1. Always unmount the memory card before ejecting it from the pc or phone

On some days, you may be in a hurry and be tempted to just pull out the SD card from the pc or phone. However, this practice is not a good one and on a bad day, your memory card’s firmware may get corrupted. This may lead to loss of data and failure of the memory card. This is way more expensive than the 5 or 10 seconds that you would have used to unmount the memory card before ejecting it.

  1. Never interrupt the memory card during formatting

Whenever you are formatting the memory card, avoid being tempted to remove it or cancel the process before it fully completes. Interrupting the formatting process can also compromise the firmware of your memory card that will render it unusable. Always ensure the formatting process is completed before you start using the card again.

  1. Keep the memory card away from water and high temperatures

Just like any other storage device, your memory card can get damaged by water and extremely high temperatures. Once water gets onto the memory card, it creates high chances of failure the next time you connect it to any of your devices. Extreme temperatures can also physically deform the structure of the memory card.

This will render it unreadable and restoring data from such a memory will be an expensive process to undertake. So, avoid doing photography on rainy days or any other kind of scenario that will likely expose the memory card to water and high temperatures

  1. Put your card in some sort of casing before storing it

If your memory card is nether in your camera or any of your other devices, it is always best to put it in some sort of casing before storing it. This will reduce its chances of getting physically damaged or even getting lost since it is a bit small. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a standard casing. Any enclosure that can keep the memory card safe is good enough.

  1. Minimize the number of times you delete photos from the card

The life of flash memory devices has a direct relationship with the number of times you remove or add to them. It is always better to delete photos at once while sorting them on your pc than deleting one at a time on the camera. During a photoshoot, if there are some photos that you don’t like, just don’t delete them immediately from the camera. Wait till you get to the pc and remove the unwanted photos all at once. This will increase the lifetime of your memory card


Memory cards are so fragile and they need to be given proper care if you want them to last for long.  Following the 6 tips we have shared above will give your memory card capacity to be used for all its lifetime. All the above practices do not require any significant financial investment, they just need a change in your habits as far as handling and using the memory cards is concerned.

Improper handling and usage of the memory card is what reduces its life and may lead to immediate failure or other negative effects in the near future. So, to avoid incurring unnecessary costs of restoring data or replacing the memory cards every now and then, just be a little responsible and careful in the way you handle your memory cards.



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