Part of being a photographer is having your gear and everything ready to go the day of a shoot. This pertains to all shoots, although the equipment definitely varies – weddings, senior portraits, families, kids, you name it, I’ve photographed them. This past weekend’s shoot was no different. I went through my checklist – camera (2 bodies), lenses (3 various sizes), batteries (fully charged), SD cards all formatted (2 in each body plus 3-5 back ups), reflectors, extra batteries, you name it, I had it ready to go in my pile to head to the car Sunday morning.
STARTED OUT LIKE ANY OTHER SESSION
I was hired to photograph senior portraits – that’s right two of them – TWINS! It was great because I could relatively relate having twins of my own. Met the mom, met the boys and realized they too were fraternal, so post production was going to be much easier. Walked them through the areas of the park I wanted to get them into, and started clicking away. One young man (apparently the youngest of the two) was a natural. He knew how to hold his head, which was his best side, and could pose with almost no direction – a photographer’s dream! The other brother was more camera shy and I could tell he really did not want to do this, but his mom urged him on. He honestly did really well, and being so shy, I quickly figured out how to pose him so he looked more natural, and not so forced. The shoot went great….. then it began.
THE ERROR I NOW KNOW TO AVOID
We started to switch areas in the park and I always check every few frames in the LCD preview just to make sure the lighting is good, and it looks ok in camera. Picture, error. “Cannot display file.” Hmmm. Ok. Picture, error. Picture, review looks great. Odd. I thought for sure that I was just moving too fast for my camera to keep up. Picture, fine. Picture, error. Start freak out. What’s going on? What’s this mean? Are things ok? All the images from the beginning are all there, so sure… things are fine. JUST KEEP GOING. As the commercial goes, “Never let them see you sweat.”
I kept on shooting, occasionally checking the preview screen. Some came up, others didn’t. It’s got to be fine if I can still hear the shutter, and still see previews on every other one, right? Let’s hope so.
We headed home, and after racing home, I pop the SD card in and sure enough, the last 100+ photos, there are no previews. Crap. OK, don’t panic yet. Maybe copying them to the hard drive will help it. Sometimes it’s just a preview issue. Check the drive after copying them…. nope. Still not showing up. I try opening them in Photoshop and Lightroom, nothing. Oh my god. At this point, hubby can tell I’m seconds from the jumping off the ledge. Calm down….. that’s where there is recovery software. Hours later? Nothing.
EVERYTHING IS OKAY, RIGHT?
Yes, and no. What I did have came out fantastic. Both the guys looked great, and I even got them to smile (ok, only once, but still, it’s a win.) I finally dug up enough courage to email the mom with an update. I offer to re-shoot again this weekend, just the last few areas, which I can knock out in a half hour, or I offered up to photograph their senior prom pictures in the spring at no charge. She emailed back and said she was completely understanding (thank you Amy!), and they would just opt to re-shoot this Saturday.
Whew, crisis averted.
A few lessons learned –
- If your camera gives you an error, stop shooting. Switch bodies if you can.
- Try changing the SD card so you don’t further corrupt the data.
- Don’t freak out, there’s not much you can do to save it.
- People are understanding, it’s technology. It all fails at some point.
- Thank the stars above this wasn’t a wedding. You can’t recreate those!
Breathe. You’ll get through it, and at least it was a learning lesson, and not one you’ll take as a regret to your grave.