NIGHTMARE----lost 900 images of wedding

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by bpearl, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. hello,
    I despise myself right now, and am racked with guilty feelings for the Bride & Groom, the entire party, the
    family and for myself and my portfolio.
    Last night i shot one of the best weddings of my career, i wasn't nervous, i was creative, funny, entertaining &
    spontaneous. Halfway through the bridal party portraits my 4GB card ran out, so i replaced it with another in the
    middle of doing headshots of the 20person bridal party.

    All were in good spirits, so i lined them up school portrait style to have them come in and give me a nice
    portrait then a funny face for laughs and to keep people entertained. It went really well, everyone had fun
    making fun of eachother -- THEN i did the Bride with her ladies, the Groom with his men.. then we had an extra
    hour so went to a pub unexpected -- took over a VIP room, everyone had pints - i shot that, got some really nice
    candids and captured the whole feeling of the moments, the bar even let us do a big group shot with the gals up
    on the bar & everyone crowded around... moments of pure gold -- then to the reception, where i got great shots of
    the receiving line, candid portraits of the moms and dads and grandparents, then the big family group shots...
    card ran out. then after the next card in the middle of the best mans speech i changed cards and unknowingly did
    the unthinkable, i formatted that golden 4GB card... UNKNOWINGLY... and proceeded to FILL it with silly dance
    floor stuff (with considerably less emotional meaning than the original content)

    It was this morning when I uploaded that i realized what i had done. i've spent the last 4 hours having a fit of
    guilty crying and anger at my own stupidity. I"VE NEVER DONE SOMETHING LIKE THIS, and just can't erase from my
    mind all the great shot I had, and now don't.

    I had them sign a contract with a clause about this kind of error (technical or personal) stating that if it
    happened I refund the percentage of the images lost versus successfully captured from the package price... my
    question to you dear forum are these:

    1. should i tell the truth? Or make like the card crapped out on me? (save my reputation a little, but ethically
    i feel terribly)

    2. HOW do i really get the value of those images -- they were 900, i have 2100 today - BUT I was there and I know
    those were emotionally the most important shots of the day (cause even though the ceremony was important, to this
    B&G their friends and the pub, and family were the biggest part of the day for them) ???

    3. WHAT CAN I DO?? Any tips on how to soften the blow for the B&G? I am going to have their Proofs ready by the
    time they are home from their honey moon, and have some amount of $$ to refund them.. .i could even offer a free
    shoot... i have NEVER felt this stupid, guilty and all around horrible about ANYTHING i have ever done....

    5. and on the slim chance that a super tech wizard reads this... IS THERE ANYWAY IN the UNIVERSE to get images
    off a 4GB that has been formatted and then 100% shot over?

    please dear forum members... help! (i'll be posting a version of this in wedding nightmares when i can stop
    crying and get on with life)
  2. Well if you posted this under your real name, it will be in google for eternity, so you might as well tell them the truth. There is absolutely no way to recover the images, you wrote over all of them, so there is nothing to recover. You should NEVER format a card on the job, you reformat all the ones you have on you before the shoot, and that way you can't do something so dumb.


  3. It is very unlikely you'd be able to recover images if you shot over the formatted card. If you didn't shoot over them, the formatting would probably have just erased the index of the disk, and not the image files itself, in which case you could have recovered them. It is possible there are fragments of files still in tact, but I think the chances are very slim they could be recovered without damage to the files.

    One part of my workflow is to NEVER EVER format cards in the field. They are ONLY formatted right after uploading them to my computer, and if they're important, burned to a DVD for a backup.

    Another thing I don't do (if I can help it) is shoot weddings... it's too much pressure<g>.

    To answer your questions: 1. I would be a little vague and say there was a technical problem that cause the images to be lost. 2. I would do whatever I had to do to recreate the event shots at no charge. 3. I think the sincerity of your remorse, conveyed to them, is very important. You can't beat yourself up though. It happens.
  4. number your cards with a magic marker in the future, if you haven't already. That way, when you're done with card#2, you're less likely to put card #1 back in and format it...
  5. yikes. nightmare indeed.

    in the future, you should never reformat a card until you get home UNLESS the images are copied and verified on two esparate hard drives. I break the 'golden rule' at jobs all the time and reformat cards during shoots - but only after copying to two hard drives.

    but that doesn't help your situation now.

    my experience is that a card that is simply reformatted is still useable to recover images, because the actual information is still there - the card just pretends that it isn't.

    however, if you shoot over the card, you are erasing that information and replacing it with something new, so I would put my bets on those images being gone forever.

    what to do? be honest with the couple and do whatever you can to redeem your reputation here.

    they are going to be shocked and upset, and they will be able to sense if you aren't giving them the truth - you don't want that.

    of course, give them back whatever $$ you say in your contract, and I think that reshooting as many formals as possible would be helpful.

    you might also want to offer to get the best photos that their friends took during the day and put it in a nice album - all for no charge, of course.

    sorry to hear about this. I have had this sinking feeling twice in my career but both times the data was recovered.
  6. Refund 100%. You missed all the important stuff .Then offer to try to recreate it all at your total expense including clothing rental and travel.

    They will not be happy still, but it is the best you can do.
  7. Be ready to discuss this with your insurance company.
  8. Don't give up just yet - a recovery service MAY be able to potentially recover files. I would contact them ASAP before you attempt to contact the clients about this situation. If you are a member of PPA, then contact Drive Savers at 800-440-1904 (PPA offers a 20% discount). If you are not a member of PPA, then you can do a Google search for other data recovery service providers. Another popular recovery service is OnTrack Recovery at

    At this point, in your situation, I would leave the card alone and not attempt to do any recovery - each attempt you make to read the disk may potentially lower your chances of recovering your data.

    I would have recommended trying some recovery programs yourself, but since you formatted the disk already and wrote over it, your chances of recovery are already slim. So, I would recommend getting professionals on this before any more damage is done.

    Good luck!
  9. It may be possible to get some of the images but don't do anything else to card...reformating for a 2nd time would make things much worse. Perhaps some pro-resecue resouces could give it a go.

    Honesty is the best policy when dealing with your clients.
  10. I'd never add insult to injury, you feel bad enough I know. This is one of those life lessons that is learned the hard way. Learn it well. NEVER format a card unless you have the images intact elsewhere, and for best measure, make sure they're redundantly backed up.

    I'd produce the images you have and give them to the client with extreme apologies, try every trick in the book to recreate the ones you overwrote (I'm not holding a lot of hope there), and refund them whatever amount of money THEY think is fair. Perhaps a percentage of the lost shots deducted from your fee, and then give them back a chunk more. That's the price you pay for carelessness. Offer to give them any sort of additional photo shoot for free, perhaps a bride/groom session where you rent the tux, pay for her hairstylist, and do some shots that way.

    I would not try to lie about it, and yes, since you've used your name in this forum, this post will live in Google for eternity. The fact that you've admitted entertaining the idea of lying and blaming the card is not a good reflection on your professionally or personally. I know you're just trying to come to some resolution here, but honesty is the best policy.
  11. Sorry to hear a bout this. The bad news is that onece a card is overwritten, the orinal files a long gone.

    I'd be honest. GIve them all their money back, and that tke business lost at tax time. I'd also tlak to a lawyer. EVen though this is on your contract, better safe than sorry.
  12. Welcome to the world of Wedding Photography...btw, if you don't have a license for the music on your website, you've stolen an artist's copyrighted someone stealing your pictures.
  13. For the future, if you continue to shoot weddings: Each and every time you remove a memory card from your camera, have a routine of what to do with it. Take some 3M post-its, mark 'em with RED lines, and wrap up your CF card before you worry about loading the next CF card. Carry a zip-lock bag and put the used CF card in the bag, zip the bag. Practice this several times until it is second nature.

    You have a major problem and the bride (and her family) will be looking at what to do, contract or not.

    Good luck.
  14. To make mistakes is human.

    I would do as Joshua suggests. Find a data recovery company with a good reputation and take the card to them. E.g. Be prepared for a sticker shock.

    If you can afford one, get a dual card camera for use in future weddings (Canon 1D series or Nikon D3).
  15. how do you lose 900 images on one 4 gig card? I shoot RAW and am lucky to get 160 out of a card. Are you shooting JPEG?
  16. yea that works out to about 4.5 megs per picture he has to be in jpeg.
  17. "how do you lose 900 images on one 4 gig card? I shoot RAW and am lucky to get 160 out of a card. Are you shooting JPEG?"

    Yeah, this is perhaps an interesting reason to shoot RAW. You would have to carry many more cards total. But, if you lost a card (for whatever reason) it wouldn't be nearly so many images.
  18. I did the same thing, sort of. I reformatted a card with some of the most important wedding pictures on it, and saved new
    ones on the card. I tried photorescue, the $30 version.

    first i downloaded the trial version to see if it could recover the images, once I saw that it had recovered them, I purchased
    the license in order to save them. Best $30 I've EVER spent!
  19. Contact Tallyns Photographic in Peoria Ill. He specializes in disaster recovery. He would be the final authority in my opinion.
  20. I should say that you should probably refund everything at this wedding.

    I would also not shy away from telling them that you made an error, instead of hinting at any technical problem.

    yes, it is a technical problem, but one that was caused by human error :-(

    the reason is that if you tell them it is a technical error, they are going to ask everyone they know what they think the problem could be, and it won't take long for someone to tell them "digital cameras these days are pretty good. if there's a technical error, it's probably because the photographer did something really stupid."

    which is sort of the case, here.

    if you just tell them that you messed up, they will be angry at you, but they won't think that you are hiding something. resentment builds and they will wonder if you are dealing straight with them.

    result - everyone starts talking about how incompetent you are and how they think you are trying to blame the equipment. if you just say up front that you messed up, they will still be angry, but the fact is that people mess up (I have made mistakes during shoots before!), and they will give you credit for being up front. the end result is that the relationship still has trust instead of resentment.

    oh yes, when you break the news, do not email or phone them. go over to their house and do it in PERSON unless that is impossible.

    bad news of this type should always be done in person.
  21. I'm sorry to hear about your mistake. Hopefully you learned your lesson! No matter how much fun you are having you always have to be paying attention! I never format cards in the field, and I don't even format the cards for at least a week after the wedding until I have all of the images burned to DVD and uploaded to the clients viewing website. As others have said it is best to format before the shoot and never during the wedding. I keep enough cards to do 3-4 weddings on hand and rotate them as each wedding is done. I also shoot raw (which I believe every wedding photog should, since no one can get perfect exposure on every single shot) and usually use 1 or 2 gig cards, which limits the number of photos per card, just in case of card failure. If I lose 100 photos it would still be terrible (hasn't happened to me, thank god) but not as bad as losing a bigger chunk. The only hard part is timing it so you can swap cards during a lul in the action. I often change cards when there are a few shots left rather than waiting for it to run out at an inopportune time. I keep my unused cards in the pocket of my jacket and as I take them out of the camera I put them into a small waterproof plastic case which has a string tied to a zipper on my jacket for extra protection. I started using the case when I was doing lots of weddings on ships in NYC cause I figured the cards would be ok even if the boat sank and we had to swim for it, but now that I'm almost always on land (in AZ) using that case makes me feel like I know that the couple's precious memories are safe, and that's the most important thing. Feeling bad won't get your clients there photos back. Hopefully this makes you realize how important it is to be "on point" when you are shooting weddings. As others have said I would suggest refunding all of their money, unless you can recover the images, but it will be difficult if not impossible since the card has been written over. Good Luck!
  22. I cannot offer any better advice than what others have said, only my humble opinions. Definitely be honest. This
    doesn't make you any less professional, instead it makes you more of a professional. I would also refund everything,
    regardless of your contract, and give them all the images you do have. I would also follow up with every company and
    person mentioned by others in this thread to try to recover what you can. Also, develop a good system to keep track
    of which card is what, several people mentioned some great ideas.

    Bottom line is, the bride and groom had a great day, and yes, pictures are great, but they shared it with a lot of
    people and the memories will always be with them. They will be upset, very much so, but if they are reasonable
    people, they will understand, you are a professional, you are also a human. I do not think that because you are the
    photographer you do not get to enjoy the wedding's atomosphere, rather because you were able to enjoy it the
    pictures were that much better. That speaks volumes about your ability to connect with people and make great

    To be perfectly honest, I would still hire you (if I needed a photographer) even in light of this. This should not end your
    career, if it is handled carefully.

    I am so very sorry this happened, and I do not envy the conversation you must have (in person!) or the difficulty you
    will have in trying to recover the images. I would also say, even if you do recover the images, I would NOT charge the
    couple a red cent.

    I might even ask the couple what they would feel is fair, perhaps no charge, give them all the images, and re-do the
    portraits at no cost. Don't say 'yes' to anything completely outlandish, but if the couple wants something resonable, I
    would do it - no matter the expense to you.

    As my mother says, 'This too will pass.'
    All my best!
  23. Does anyone buy new cards for each job, and just never reformat them? Cards are cheap these days. They should be
    much cheaper than an equivalent amount of film.
  24. Hi Pearl,

    Errors can occur when you get caught up shooting weddings. But one can minimize them.

    I use 2 identical cameras when I shoot weddings, with different lenses but some overlap focal length like the 24-120 and the Tamron 28-200.
    Images shot with camera A are often also shot with camera B.
    Using 2 identical cameras also has the advantage of one not having to think when I switch from Camera A to Camera B

    Portraiture work is done with the 60 Macro F2.8 (I prefer using this lens on the DX cameras rather than the 85 F1.8 and it also comes in handy for close ups of the wedding rings and jewelry shots) or the 105 F2 DC

    When longer lenses are needed there is the 80-200 F2.8 and the 80 - 400 VR.

    Of course the work is easier if my Assistant (er...wife) shoots the same wedding with me.

    We both carry spare PRE Formatted CF cards in the left pocket, and once the CF card is filled it goes into the right pocket. Every thing is shot RAW.
    I use mainly 1 Gig and 2 Gig cards as a precaution against card failure..

    NEVER FORMAT any thing when you are on the job.

    And yet even with these precautions I made some errors at the last wedidng we shot,......... like not swtiching the SB 800 from TTL balance to TTL when I came to shoot indoors from outside, this error was soon caught when I had a look at the images on the LCD and I was able to reset the SB 800 and re-shoot some of what had been improperly exposed.

    That's another thing check your images in the LCD when ever you get a chance so you know if all is well or not.

    After the wedding the CF cards were downloaded into the computer then to a DVD and the cards will remain unformatted until I am sure that all is well before these CF cards are used again. Oh, I forgot to add that when the images are saved they are also saved into an external drive.

    CF cards are cheap in comparision to the old days when film was used, so buy more of them and buy the better quality stuff, personally I prefer SanDisc or Lexar..

    Tell your customers the truth, they will remember you for your honesty, they will also remember you even more for your dishonesty and even tell all their friends about it... so how would you like to be remembered?

    And try and make it up to them in which ever way you can, full refund, re-shoot, more free prints, whatever it takes, that way you minimize the damage you caused and hopefully the remaining shots that you have will still show the quality of work that you are capable of and they will be more forgiving and hire yhou again for other jobs.

    Nothing is a greater nightmare than screwing up a wedding both for you and the couple and the family involved.

    Hope I could help..... yes also pray, that also helps ....perhaps they won't sue.

  25. first i must respond by saying thank you for all the advice. it is very helpful and i am sure it will help others in the future.

    second, i must tell you that this is one of my most embarrassing screw ups in my personal history, (and there have been a few before) and to add to it I shared it on the forum.... i jumped the gun before i had all the facts in my seekign of photographers advice... when i had uploaded all cards & didn't see those shots immediately in the gallery i paniced (i also didn't note the exact number of files that were on the card in question when i uploaded, it was the last one i did and walked away for seems confusing now to try to explain myself...i think there is still a chance for the images...

    as well --
    i didn't realize what a response i would get from the forum (i'm not an overly active member), and now i fear that some comments may also jeopardize my reputation, above and beyond what i have already done on my own, and will have to do my best to correct... i would greatly appreciate it if members kept their brash remarks to themselves -- i'm sure i've already said them all to myself in my own head anyway.

    i am a professional, and will handle this situation as one, if i cannot or even if i can recover the files...i have already started to create a plan to help prepare for handling the issue with my clients. Following up with the technical advice and sparing no expense to see if anything at all can be done for the card.

    Speaking of the card, it has frozen my finder, giving me spinning wheel of death as i try to access it...i am nervous to force quit the find (it's been frozen for about 4 hrs now) the last thing I saw in my finder window when the card's folder was opened was 87 frames then a series of symbols, no file numbers, labels or of images whatsoever -- so i do believe that i didn't FILL the 4GB card in question, and that there is some sort of error with it...

    I have insurance as well and will be in touch with them (thanks for that advice), and believe me I have kicked my own ass all day about this, i don't really need to be told what a dumb mistake i made....

    i do accept my actions and their impending results, I do know with confidence that from the rest of the 2000 images will still excite and please the couple... i know it's pretty freaking bad, but it could have been worse... i WAS on-point the whole day, and really caught creatively and professionally into the action, why i blanked out for that split second...i will never know. and i can never get it back, i can only go forward.

    I am definitely grieving this as it is a devastating and disappointing loss for all involved. I can assure you, I will never forget it, and hope that in my young career I can go forward into photography confidently...i was NOT going to lie, you'll notice I wasn't suggesting that i would, only seeking advice on what others would do... so thanks to those who offered their advice.

    I am going to hope that i can recover files from the card -- as although there seems to be larger problems at hand than my flash-human-mistake, i have hope that there is something there.

  26. Bob Bernardo - often active on this forum - is another person for you to touch base with. He has been successful with recovery of certain files in the past. The "overwriting" will likely make recovery impossible though.

    Perhaps 'amplifying the positive" (pictures that you DO have) could be an alternative strategy - prints, slideshows, etc - as an alternative for pictures missing?
  27. Wow... this is my absolute nightmare :( Hence the reason I have a very specific methodology for any and all events.

    1) Carry enough cards to hold at least 3000 images in RAW in 4GB cards. Overkill? Yes. Do i care? No.

    2) Once a card is done, it get's put in a ziploc bag in a special pocket in my computer bag... but not before ....

    3) ...any time I have a spare second, I backup any new images to my computer. Then, I STILL don't erase the cards.

    4) As soon as I get home, I backup all the images on my computer to an external hard drive. Then I backup all my
    cards onto a second folder a second time on the external hard drive. Then I backup all cards to a second computer..

    5) Finally, Once i've had a chance to go through all the images, I backup the original raw files to DVD and store
    them in my fire safe. Only then do I format my cards and take them out of the ziploc to be used again.

    ... Yes it's overkill and i'm paranoid... but... i've never had a problem with erasing a card accidentally, and
    if I did have a card fail, i'd only lose around 200 pictures, which is survivable.

    If i was in your situation, i'd refund them the ENTIRE amount, offer to do anything possible to re-create the
    important images if possible, talk to a laywer, talk to my insurance company, apologize to the couple on my hands
    and knees... and finally, get a tattoo on the back of my hand that says "don't reformat cards until they have
    been backed up and backed up again you dummy!"

  28. Pearl - sorry about your loss - it sucks and just want to add never ever ever format in the field - I carry around about 10 cards just so I never have this issue - and make sure that I put full cards in a different location to unused cards... that said I want to know how you got 900 images on a 4G card??

    If they were mostly head shots - I would offer to redue those shots for them and include some of the other offers suggested.

    From what I know cards which have been formatted can not be recovered - they are not like our hard drives...

    Hard lesson to learn... and it's mistake you have to own up to...

    hope it goes well --- good luck - go buy a few more cards --
  29. i want to clear things up here. it turns out i DID NOT OVERWRITE THE IMAGES.

    the 4GB card in question has only 396 files visible on it, and the counter says i have 5 still available. NOW
    thinking rationally, when i do the math there are 508 images that are not 'visible' on the card (both when it's
    on my computer through the reader & when in the camera) My other 4GB that is full has 909 JPGs on it.

    and when i think of the shoot more clearly and less teary-eyed -- 508 is what is missing, NOT 900 -- there is no
    way with what is missing from what i shot that it totaled, did my emotions take over my logical mind.

    SO --- i will be sourcing the BEST of the BEST to recover this 'invisible' information.... following up with some
    of those suggestions of this post -- and will let you know how it turns out....

    may the gods, angels and tech wizards be on my side - your prayers are welcome.


    ps --- one big lesson i learned today was exactly HOW passionate and emotionally connected and involved i am with
    the work i do, i think i am in the right field.
  30. It is possible to recover data from any storage device as long as it has not been overwritten. Even when
    overwritten it is possible to recover parts or all of the data, though this would be useless pieces of pictures.
    Googlesearch, there is lots of recovery software out there and it's not terribly expensive. Be careful with that card, if it is freezing up your computer there is an error somewhere - don't be discouraged, perhaps this anomaly is a blessing in disguise.<br>
    For what it's worth I feel for you. You made a mistake and you've likely learned a lesson. Be honest, good
    luck, keep us informed.
  31. I am so sorry for your position.

    I would advocate honesty in all aspect of your dealings. Make whatever restorative move you can in monetary terms and then ask, no beg, that they allow you to set up a time to re-shoot anything they can stand to do. Add your most sincere apologies and hope/pray for their understanding.

    Going forward, I would really consider the use of much lager cards (Sandisk or Transcend 16gb are my preferred flavors) as you will not have this issue and therefore can likely leave the card in cam from leaving your office till you DL the images to you computer. Just a thought.

    Best, D.
  32. This doesn't help you here I know, but I find the most stress-free method of working is to format all cards before the wedding. I have unused ones in my right jacket pocket, used ones in my left jacket pocket - that way there is never any confusion. I don't format a card until I've got all the photographs downloaded, backed up onto an external hard drive and backed up onto DVD. If I format the cards before I process them then I even go through each card first and the corresponding folder on my PC to make sure that card was downloaded.

    What may help you here - I bought an application online called Photo Nose - it was cheap. I used this to retrieve some personal photos I changed my mind about keeping and was surprised to see that even though I had formatted and filled the card with photos since my last portrait session it still pulled back 10-15 photos from it in addition to my personal ones.

    I think reformatting just overwrites the first couple of bytes of a file - so depending how much of the rest of the file was overwritten you could still pull some back.

    But I would be honest with B&G - offer a refund, a portrait session, etc.

    One B&G I shot for recently put their wedding gear back on when they got back from honeymoon and we spent a day taking their photos around various Sussex landmarks from Brighton Pier to Beachy Head. A lot of fun. Maybe you can offer something similar for free in your local area?
  33. Hi Pearl,
    I feel sorry for you. I am glad to know that you will recover more than half of images from the card. Everyone has given you some good advice and I would not repeat them. Have you transferred/seen other images from other cards? Look at them, you may find some pictures that may be good or better than the one lost. Looking at the pictures will make you feel good.
  34. The very best of luck to you, and I hope you recover as much work as possible.
  35. -- "IS THERE ANYWAY IN the UNIVERSE to get images off a 4GB that has been formatted and then 100% shot over? "

    If you had only formatted the card, and not used it at all, very likely all images could be recovered.

    If you had not filled it completely after formtatting, a certain number of shots could be recovered.

    Since you have used it completely (that's how I understand your "100% shot over"), the sad answer is: There is no chance to recover anything.
  36. "bad news of this type should always be done in person."

    Not necessarily: evaluate the probability of a broken nose, and whether you would be willing to accept one.
  37. I wonder how many of these stories need be communicated before people stop using small cards and swapping them out ... and how many times this has to happen before the value of dual card
    slot cameras for "one time events for pay" becomes crystal clear?

    Before the smug answers come flying, consider this: We are all human, and human error is inevitable sooner or later. Couple that with potential card failure, or other hardware/software failures in the
    chain of shooting/processing, and it provides the rationale for anticipation and preparation.

    As professionals, shooting one of life's important milestones, it is our responsibility to "anticipate the worst and prepare for it as being inevitable," in order to limit or eliminate the chances. This is
    NOT the place to learn the hard way ... because the way is hardest for those who trusted us to be professionals.
  38. Marc, as has been said before, many photographers just cannot afford two dual card cameras. That's a fact of life. I absolutely agree that dual card cameras are the way to go, but unfortunately its not a simple of case of just going out and dropping many thousands on a new body for every wedding photographer.

    A good methodology can go a very long way, i.e.:

    1) Shoot with 1G or 2G max cards, in RAW for improved post processing ability and reduced images per card.
    2) Use a good brand, such as Sandisk.
    3) Never fill a card as this can cause failure - stop before it nears being full.
    4) Format all cards at home before the shoot.
    5) Store used cards in a different location (e.g. in a pouch in your body).
    6) Backup to multiple locations asap, even during breaks at the event if possible.

    And there are many other good tips above.
  39. The truth shall set you free. As for a dual card camera how much more does one cost than the amount that you are going to
    refund. It is worth the investment. FYI i use little post it dots when i take a card out of the camera i put a dot on it and don't take
    it off until i format the card after i have done everything else everyone has said to do. Good Luck hang in there and all that. I
    promise you are not likely to do it again.
  40. There's a slim chance some of the images may still be there. I recently lost a card with some personal work on it (nothing wedding related) and used some fairly serious recovery software to bring it back. I was surprised that not only were all of the images I shot recovered in full, but also many older images that had been on the card from several weeks earlier, surviving two reformats and a fair bit of overwriting. As long as you haven't written over the exact same clusters, any older images will be intact. The extent to which this is effective depends on how much you overwrote the card. But at this point you've got nothing to lose so you might want to explore data recovery just in case.
    As you've discovered the hard way, good advice for when you're on a job is never format a card and never delete an image. Helps to prevent human error at least.
  41. Hi

    " Bob Sunley , Aug 24, 2008; 06:27 p.m.
    Well if you posted this under your real name, it will be in google for eternity "

    If he deletes his profile from How does google can bring back this posting ! !

  42. I don't intend to either suggest Hide or Run away from the situation [by deleting the thread post or profile ], I wonder whether google is recording each and every internet posting throughout Earth for all the servers and is archiving some where on their servers ! How can that technically be possible !

    Perhaps they [ google ] might have a pointer some where to the original posting but when I myself delete my own posting [ assuming allows that ] then google might return an invalid hyperlink pointing to a post that did exist in a past point of time.

    I know this way too different topic, but couldn't help the better of my curiosity.

    Thanks & Regards,
  43. "If he deletes his profile from How does google can bring back this posting ! !"

    There is the internet archive - they might have a copy of it. It might be in google's own cache, i.e. when you do a search
    for something, click on the 'cached' version.

    Also, somebody may have saved the page or printed it. It could be lingering in cache somewhere. It may be in
    archives if those are kept. I assume the database of posts is backed up somehow. etc

    Basically, once it is out on the internet, you cannot erase it.
  44. You DO stand a chace at recovering the images. We have done this in the past ourselves. You might not recover them ALL, but you do stand a very good chance of recovering a lot of them, even after reformatting. You can download software to recover. Spend some time online searching for recovery software for your card's brand. Once you download it, it will take hours per gig to recover, but leave it running overnight. Its worth it to give it a shot.

    I can guarantee you it is not impossible to recover some of the lost images. It isn't 100%, but it is a chance. We've recovered after a couple of formats even. Don't give up- look into the software. Mistakes happen, but you still have options.
  45. Thank you for posting your nightmare on this site. This is a good lesson not only to wedding photographers who
    must work under stress but to anyone else who is serious about photography. I got married last year in the
    Caribbean and contracted the service of a local photographer. Although I never had the opportunity of meeting him
    in person before the wedding to review the details of the contract, I did speak with him on the phone. Among
    many different questions, I asked him if he had enough memory cards to shoot the entire wedding in RAW format
    without having to reformat a single memory card in the field. He gave me the most reassuring answer by saying
    that he not only used a hard drive to back up the images in the field but he only reformatted the cards just
    before his next wedding. Today memory cards are really cheap.

    I hope you can recover your images. Try to please your B&G as much as you can, even if you have to refund every
    single penny. Sorry.
  46. Don't think you have to reformat flash card all the time after using it.
  47. jtk


    "everyone had pints"
  48. David Bell, sorry but I don't buy the argument ... a dual card older model can be had for near the price of a new less capable DSLR. People
    are all taken with buying the latest gadget even if it isn't as well suited to the work at hand as a previous better model.

    I've witnessed more losses from human error and gear malfunctions using small cards and swapping than I have from those using a better
    suited camera for this work with bigger cards. In fact, I've never heard of a failure or loss of images from a dual card camera ... not that a
    card couldn't fail, but the chances of two cards failing at the same time is astronomical. And, if the camera itself should fail, you'd know it
    immediately and go to the back-up.

    Again, I ask ... why do you think the manufactures make dual card cameras?
  49. How healthy is it to hand-hold a D3+24-70/2.8+bracket+flash, or same with 70-200/2.8, for 10 hours straight? For some photographers with less robust build, it may be too much, or at least uncomfortable. If you have to go for an older second hand model, you may end up with a situation where all of the low light images are somewhat worse than what they would be with a modern mid-priced model (e.g. a D700), but in case something goes wrong with the D700, you may lose images because of no backup card. While these sort of failures and human errors occur, and their probability and the consequences should be minimized, it shouldn't be done at the cost of the quality of images that you do get, nor should you have to get neck, arm and back pain because of the decision to shoot "safe" (from compact flash error) with a dual-card model. If you can afford a dual card model and don't have an issue with the weight, by all means get one - and use the feature ;-)

    I wonder if some statistics of card failures exist (assuming that human error can be eliminated). To get a rough idea we would have to have people who shoot so much that they get card read errors on a regular basis. I don't know anyone like that personally.
  50. Sorry to here that..

    The only thing i would add is this. The advantage of digital is that you have immediate access to the images. So, my rule of thumb is when i stick a CF card in the camera, to have a look at what files are on there. Usually, this will be enough to jog your memory as to how important they are.
  51. I shoot film so don't have a clue about the problem or the fix... but just wanted to say I feel your pain. I've made other
    mistakes and kicked myself. So sorry!

    >>>may the gods, angels and tech wizards be on my side - your prayers are welcome.<<<

    Believe it or not, I already did. Pray for you, that is. I hope it works out well.

    Janet Cull

    Photo rescue does wonders - give it a shot!
  53. there is no blow to soften. it is very bad news and that is that. my simple advice is just tell the bg. you are going to look stupid and silly and dumb and imcompentant and etc. but you know that going in. just have a check made out to cover the refund and have it with you, so you can hand it to them right then and there.

    and in the future-DO NOT CARRY A FILLED MEMORY CARD ON YOU AT ALL, NEVER, NEVER. when you fill a memory card it goes in your photog carry bag as soon as you can, only carry the empties on you.
    this is exactly why weddings are so hard to do-you are not allowed a mistake in anything or any part of it. and noone is going to care one whit about why you made the mistake. they only thing they know is they do not have the pictures of the wedding.
    i did some weddings years ago, and that was the end of that. i made myself a promise-no more weddings. i have kept the promise, though the weddings that i did were fine. i got into p[hotography many years ago for a hobby and enjoyment, not to get an ulcer.
  54. Hi B, First of all Sorry for the said happenig.

    I am working with computers from more than 9-10 years so I ma familiar with these tools and problems. Earlier and many time I have tried to recover data from mine and some of my friends hard-disks. I tried some software tools for that work and got surprising results..... Yes I got recovered maximum of datas many times and a few times, it was disappointing. Maximum of times I got these pleasent results whwn the Hard-disk was accidently formated.

    But here I should clear that I never tried recovering data from memory card but once or twice I tried to recover data from my flash-drive/pen-drive/memory-stick and I recovered some of JPGs and BMPs from that but I couldn't recover my needed file which was not a image format.

    If you search on internet, you can easily find some software for recovering data.

    Now Some advices for you;
    1.>> Don;t do anything with your that perticullar memory card, keep that safely.

    2.>> Now try to get some good softwares and then experiment those woth another memory card in which you don't have any important data. First of al shoot some images on that MCard and store some more images, you can total about some 700-1000 photographs. Than format this card and now try those softwares to reecover your data.

    3.>> Now which one software gives you best, try that software safely on your that weddings memory card where you lost your important shots.

    4.>> I think (Even I hope and pray for you) you will get recovered many files from that. Save those carefully in a folder on your hard-disk.

    5.>> If you still feel some mere files could e recovered than you can other left softwares with this MCard.

    I hope you will get some exciting results and tell me what happened.

    Now one and important thing, why pro photographers use DSLRs whether they earn money from photography and can spent a very little ut safe on the negative films. I am a hobbiest and a serious amature, but never fallen in love woth digitals, tried some but never let those my first love and need.

    Shooting on negative films and dropping those at the lab at night and get the prints next day is the best and safest way, but nobody thinks about the digital risks.

    When computers were invented, there were no viruses, but when those have become mainstream toll everywhere, proffessional hackers and viruses born and now everywhere damaging data and important informations. The virus problem is going to be the next big problem foor the Digital photography systems.

    Still we have time to wake-up. Keep film alive otherwise this (photography) great proffession is soon going to be killed.

    Best of luck for your data recovey tries.
  55. I once had a camera stolen from a church with 120 wedding images on it. I have also had to use recovery software
    many times because my camera bodies had different firmware versions that were not compatible and the file directories
    would not read properly if the cards were used in the "wrong" body. Its always these hard learned lessons that stick with
    you. Some of these lessons will be so rough that you will use the anxiety to avoid new problems. I will add my name to
    the list of folks with rigid habits of shooting in the field. My habits may not be all that critical for some types of work.
    Others will have systems that are better suited to their equipment, but most mistakes come from not having a system in
    the first place.

    1. Format all your cards at home, never format on the job.

    2. Have loose cards on your person at all times.

    3. Have two separate secure places for shot cards V. empty cards.

    4. Save money and sanity by using more small cards rather than few large cards.

    5. Know exactly how may cards you have total.

    6. Copy everything to an external storage device and go home with two copies.

    7. I can see the wisdom of dual card bodies, I just can't afford one that meets the other requirements I want.

    When the photographers I know all started going digital everybody was freaking out about data safety. Fact is, a good
    system is way safer than film ever could be. You can verify your shots as you go, you can back up your data, and you
    can be sure never to shoot an empty camera. I personally feel more secure with digital media.
  56. I must be too frugal. I shot a wedding yesterday and in six hours, ended up with 450 or so images. I can't imagine what there could be to take 3000 images of, even if I were visiting the ruins of ancient Greece, Egypt, and South America with a safari in Kenya thrown in...

    Unless there were lots of hyenas...

  57. Oh wow..I feel for you.

    I have two seperate card cases to keep the used cards seperate from the new cards to avoid incidents like this.
  58. If you start doing the math, things may not be as bad as you think. You note above that you now realize you're only missing about 400 shots, not 900. Hopefully you shot 2-3 frames of each important image to guard against blinks or bad expressions. So maybe what you're actually missing is 150-200 images (as opposed to files/frames). And if a professional recovery service can get some of those back, maybe you're only missing a few dozen. Not good unto itself, but a lot better than 900. And hopefully even 900 was only part of what you shot, not the whole wedding. In other words, if you shot 2,000 plus frames and maybe 100-200 are missing, it may be that the bride and groom aren't even going to notice -- were they standing there keeping a list of everything you shot? And if a few they remember are missing, you can legitimately write if off as "technical problems." I'm not saying at all to be dishonest. But many of the earlier posts saying to come completely clean were based on 900 missing pictures, not 100 missing pictures. Don't lie, but don't ruin your reputation by volunteering answers to questions that aren't asked. I also like the idea of buying new cards for each wedding. They're much cheaper than film. When I took feature film production classes at NYU, the sound class instructor said he put a complete set of fresh alkalines in his Nagra recorder each morning and again at lunch time. With a union crew and multi-miliion-dollar actors being filmed, "the batteries died" or "the batteries were weak" was not an acceptable excuse for why a day's work had to be reshot. The barely used batteries got take home for his grandkids' toys.
  59. If you formatted and the COMPLETEY filled the card again, then it's over. However, if you formatted and then shot up
    say 50% of the card, then there may be hope to recover some of those images. Formating simply wipes out the FAT
    table (the index of files in the file system), it is non-destructive to the files themselves. It only appears they are gone
    forever. The destruction happens when you begin writing to the card as the old information is overwritten with the
    new. So, your hope for recovery is in direct proportion to the percentage of space available on the card as of now.
    This empty space contains some of your original images. So, if you have 50% of that card left, there is a very good
    chance that half of your original images may be saved. If it was totally filled with dance floor stuff, then its all gone.
    There are a couple of recovery software packages available and could be worth their weight in gold for you. Good luck

  60. Although digital storage media may appear to store just 0s and 1s, in reality the information is stored in a physical system
    which may be far from binary in how it functions at the lowest level. I would not be surprised if some traces of the older
    data could be read by special hardware. However, the quality of the data after recovery may not be useable in the intended
    application, depending on the application, and the cost of the procedure could be in the tens of thousands.

    not trust your valuable images to a bag or case that is not on your body for the entire day. If your bag is stolen you
    are in big trouble. Take the last card out from all cameras and keep them on you after the wedding as well. This
    thread is not about having the cards with you and making big mistakes. It is about having a system by which you do
    not have to format a single card at an event - and - you have a system for keeping track of your filled cards.

    Put a sticker on your cards and number them. Whatever card wallet you use, when you load it for the day, put them
    in the wallet number side up. As you use them return them to the wallet number side down. Only use the ones with
    numbers. It's that simple.

    Don't leave your cards anywhere. Keep them in your pocket. I will be very blunt that the advice to not carry your filled
    cards on you is a huge error in judgement and will lead to way more trouble than you have already experienced. You
    can prevent your mistake from now on with a good system. You can do absolutely nothing to prevent loss if you
    leave your cards anywhere but on your body. Yikes!

  62. If you in fact do recover the lost images, perhaps you will be kind enough to post the recovery process here for others in the same circumstance. This is a tough, tough loss.

    Follow your instincts and make it right with your clients.
  63. You can't format film....
  64. "You can't format film...."

    But I've known many photogrpahers who thought they were being smart and leaving the tongue of the film out --and then proceed to put throug ha camera at least twice.

    This isn't anbout film vs. digital Nic, it is about being organized.

    I hope B. Pearl has insurance that covers re-staging and re-shooting. PPA offers it and it is good.
  65. So Ikka, does one tell the client that they are to weak to carry the proper gear? Does one tell the client they will place their wedding images at risk because the photographer is concerned about his or her
    personal comfort? There are all kinds of aids for made for photographers to carry cameras and lenses. Plus, one need not carry a bigger camera for 10 straight hours. You can use the dual card camera for
    the most important "must haves," and a smaller back-up for much of the rest. I do wonder how some of those great women photographers carried big Rolleis and Hasselblads around all day : -)

    As to not getting shots because one doesn't have the latest greatest is of course ridiclious ... how on earth did all those weddings get shot before the D700? They got shot beautifully, that's how.

    I also agree with Lou ... always keep all your cards on your person ... preferably thethered to you and in your pocket.
  66. My understanding is that memory cards (CF, SD etc.) have Locks. Once a card is filled, you just lock it.
    So that, if you want to use it again (to reformat or to take photos), it will not allow you. A locked card simply implies that the card is full with photos & don't touch it. Do it so only after transferring files to computer or CD/DVD. Is my understanding correct?
  67. Several threads running here. First is can you recover your first set of files. "Formating" in your camera does not re-format the card. It deletes the table entry for the file but not the file itself which is why recovery applications are able to restore files by recreating the table entries. When you write over the file that had its table entry deleted by the camera with a new file all the bits of the old file are replaced with the new bits from the new file copied over from the camera's memory buffer. The old bits no longer exist to be recovered if you completely filled up the card with new images.

    With weddings there are no retakes and EVERY precaution needs to be taken to protect the images you take for your clients. You failed to take any precautions and this time it had serious consequences. I would make amends in a way that is beyond being fair for your clients and their families. At a minimum I would provide a 50% discount and agree to use images from their guests in the album.

    Customer problems like yours are not good for business but you can recover some of the goodwill and loss to your reputation by how you choose to respond. Whatever you do be prompt and keep it simple. I would just say that the files covering a period of time during the wedding cannot be retrieved and that you will do everything you can to "make it right" to the extent that is possible.

    For the future you need to have a system in place to make it virtually impossible to lose your clients' images. For my part I do the following:

    1) All cards are numbered and in a wallet that is secured to my person the entire day until I get back to my office.
    2) When a card is full I turn it upside down and put it back in the wallet which goes back into the waist bag. When in doubt I go to the next card in the sequence - more to avoid running out of space and having to do a card swap at a key moment like during the first dances.
    3) When I get back to the office all of the cards are copied into a single folder on my primary computer.
    4) I verify from the time stamps that I have not missed a block of time, i.e. a card.
    5) I copy the entire folder to a RAID server. At this point in time I have 3 complete sets of the files.
    6) I verify that I have all the files copied over to the RAID server. If one of the 4 drives fails I can replace it and continue to have all my data accessible spread out over the other 3 drives.
    7) I leave the CF cards until the day before the next wedding - just in case
    8) The day before the wedding I reformat (erase the directory table) each card in a camera and put them back into the wallet and put the wallet back into the waist case.

    With this process I have eliminated problems from lost or misplaced cards, theft, computer problems, or user error.

    During the week between weddings I am converting the RAW files to JPEG and so even after I reformat the CF cards I am left with 2 complete sets of RAW files and a set of JPEG files located on 6 different physical hard drives. In 6 years of photographing weddings with digital cameras I have lost a total of 3 files which resulted from a defective CF card - now I test new CF cards before they go into my wedding kit.
  68. As far as I know, the images are gone forever. Sorry. As for what to do now, you should probably just come clean
    — or, don't; bottom line: you tell the people there're no pictures. Of course, you can't charge them anything:
    You don't get to somehow quantify the work and say, "You can give me 25%." Was there another wedding photographer
    present? If not, they MIGHT go ahead and take what you can give them, but, if that doesn't even contain the vows
    — just some post\-ceremony drinks — forget about making any money from the situation.
  69. Welcome to professional wedding photography. This can and will happen to many pros. It happened to me way back
    in the film days. I had multiple gear failure and then lab disaster to boot. All on the same shoot, lost near 70% of the
    images. Now with PS they could be scanned and probably salvaged.

    My only other comment other than to say I know exactly how you feel is say that you should move to a camera body
    that allows two CF, or a CF/ SD capability to automatically back up all images from origination. There is a reason
    that Canon uses that system and believe me I use it quite a lot on the 1 series cammeras. The other thing I would
    suggest is to number your cards so that they never are reused during a shoot. Purchase enough cards so that you
    will run out of DAY before your run out of capacity.

    I really wish you all the best. As to my situation? I was taken to small claims and sued. I offered a complete refund,
    but they wanted me to fly in family members, re-rent the church and re-shoot the entire wedding. The judge asked
    that I give a complete refund, what ever images I had and shoot a portrait.

    I did the first two that day. I had no issues with that even though my contract limited my exposure to monies taken
    minus expenses. The bride found the groom with an *ahem* friend.... Divorce was nearly immediate after just 6

  70. I am with Marc on the dual card camera's, except that I don't like those bodies.

    My solution is two bodies all the time and a second shooter, all the time. When these camera companies finally put two slots in the little bodies, I will be using them.

    I also believe, strongly, that a larger card will indeed be a better insurance than all the little cards which are so easily dropped, lost, formatted mistakenly, overfilled, used too often/much and generally harder to keep track of.

    You must consider the client. If you cannot afford the best/latest gear, l suggest you need to make a plan to get what is required as soon as you can. Meanwhile, tell your clients the risk THEY are taking with your plan of action.
  71. Wow ... people jumped on this one!

    I am so sorry ! I really feel bad for you. Reading your story brought back thoughts of my own run in with losing photos.

    I once lost 3months worth of pictures ... the first 3 monthes of me daughters life. We thought everything was backed
    up, but things happend. We reformatted the computer and reliezed there were no pictures (much longer story, but
    you get the point). Believe me there were lots of tears. We did find a recovery program and we did recover some of
    them, but not in the best quality. I think it hurts more when you know you played a hand in the loss. It was a
    humbling experince for me.

    I learned alot from that experince and I it hasn't happend since. I have so many procautions now, that I have
    procautions for my

    Anyway, this too shall pass and once it is all cleared up you need to go do something completely fun


    P.S Just an idea: maybe... you can talk to the B & G (parents) families tell them what happen before the B &G get
    back from the honeymoon. Plus, You were not the only photographer there that day, I am sure there were many
    family member taking photos too. If the families can gather photos for you, you could work some magic in a photo
    program. This is going to happen anyway once the family find out about the photos, so why don't you start the
    process. This will also show that you have some empathy for they family.

    Granted, you will have to do more work, but it does tell the family the lengths you would go to correct a mistake. The
    bottom line is it will end up as a great wedding story and a photographer who went to great miles to make sure their
    wedding was captured. Just and idea ... I am sure it won't be welcomed with open arms at first....Just an idea.

  72. Refund Their Money ... ONLY after you have explained the problem and worked diligantly to make the rest of the Portfolio a
    very acceptable treasure and ... have investigated a reliable recovery service. If the photo's can be recovered, you really
    don't have a problem ... only a small delay. I would reserve the refund as a final gift ... either way ... and learn from the
    whole experience. People are more forgiving than you might think ... and YOU are probably harder on yourself than they
    will ever be! For what it is worth.
  73. Yes, there are a couple of threads running here. The poster has gotten plenty of suggestions concerning recovery, and lots of sympathy ...
    and I add mine to that list.

    However, this is a forum read by many beginners and the lessons learned can and should be wider spread to benefit all.

    I also grasp that some folks just do not want to carry the larger dual slot cameras ... and frankly, when I only had single slot cameras I
    used two like David Wegwart, and IF I had a
    second shooter they'd shoot key shots also. This obviously was the case when I shot film ... since no one ever made a 2 roll camera : -)

    I will always advocate the use of dual slot cameras, because I will never forget when a friend lost a bunch of key shots on a 2 gig card that
    could not be recovered by anyone regardless of what it would cost.

    In reality, there are easily identified key shots that are prime candidates for these cameras ... Processionals, a few key altar shots, first
    kiss, formals, cake cut, a few toasts and first dance. Those are the shots that you cannot explain away. Telling the client that a technical
    glitch ate some candid reception shots or getting ready shots or group dance shots is far less devastating than telling the Bride her trip
    down the asile with her dad is not there.
  74. So I[l]kka, does one tell the client that they are to weak to carry the proper gear?
    So now the dual-card cameras are the only proper gear? It's not about a weakness but a trade-off. I was shooting side by side a dance performance with someone using a 300/2.8; I had the 300/4. The other guy with the big lens was most of the time holding the camera down as he couldn't point it towards subjects all the time. I was taking pictures of the performers and the audience pretty much all the time. Sometimes he would copy my shots but most of the time he wasn't shooting but resting his hands. Now, he may have gotten better isolation of the subject because of the f/2.8, but I got great shots. Analogously, you may be happier and a more productive photographer when you're using a lighter camera. Or you might be happier because of the added security. Personally I think using smaller and less conspicuous equipment can make people notice the photographer less and appear more natural.
    Does one tell the client they will place their wedding images at risk because the photographer is concerned about his or her personal comfort?
    No, you can just say that the equipment that you use doesn't have this kind of a backup feature if they ask. BTW it's not just about comfort, it's also about the photographer's health.
    I do wonder how some of those great women photographers carried big Rolleis and Hasselblads around all day : -)
    A Rollei or a Hasselblad with a lens isn't necessarily as heavy as a dual card camera + lens. And I would bet that most women photographers today do not use dual card cameras (not that the sex here is all that relevant).
    [H]ow on earth did all those weddings get shot before the D700? They got shot beautifully, that's how.
    How on Earth did all those weddings get shot before the dual card cameras? Did you say to the clients that I wish camera manufacturers made better gear so that your images would be safer?
    There are risks involved in anything that you do. You can end up in a traffic accident, for example. Do you avoid driving and arrive at the church the day before so that you have time to get a replacement in the event you don't make it there? What if you have a stroke and nobody knows where you stored the images?
    BTW just for the record, I shoot all of my ceremony images with a D3 and write on two cards. I still don't think this should be required - it is an extra precaution that helps with certain types of problems but not all.
  75. "BTW just for the record, I shoot all of my ceremony images with a D3 and write on two cards. I still don't think this should be required - it is an extra precaution that helps with certain types of problems but not all."

    The irony is that although no professional photographer worth their salt would shoot a wedding without a backup camera, few consider a dual media card to be mandatory equipment - even though cards fail far far far more often than cameras.
  76. cards fail far far far more often than cameras.
    And your referring to published statistics which I can find ... where? This is important enough that it shouldn't be left to anecdotes. I've had several camera and lens failures but haven't lost an image due to CF card problems yet.
  77. lou k-
    the op got into his problem precisely because of the fact that he was carrying filled cards on himself. when he went to get another empty card he got a filled one by mistake. the problem is solved if the filled cards are not on you, so you cannot get a filled card in error. though he should have known something was wrong when he had to reformat the card. if he started with all empty cards the only ones filled were from the wedding, which should have told him something.
    maybe someone is going to steal his gear, but we know that the error he made can and will happen if there is any way he can reach for a card and get a filled one.
  78. You may want to try this tools - GetDataBack

    The website doesn't look that impressive, but the tool is, at least in many situations, not sure about yours, you wrote over your images:(

    I had to use it very recently and it helped!

    Whatever happened to your drive-

    GetDataBack will recover your data if the hard drive's partition table, boot record, FAT/MFT or root directory are lost or damaged, data was lost due to a virus attack, the drive was formatted, fdisk has been run, a power failure has caused a system crash, files were lost due to a software failure, files were accidentally deleted...

    GetDataBack is safe-

    GetDataBack is read-only, meaning the program will never attempt to write to the drive you are about to recover. Please make sure to read the safety instructions...

    GetDataBack recovers from

    * Hard drives (IDE, SCSI, SATA)
    * USB drives
    * Firewire drives
    * Partitions
    * Dynamic Disks
    * Floppy drives
    * Drive images
    * Zip/Jaz drive
    * Compact Flash Cards
    * Smart Media Cards
    * Secure Digital Cards
    * USB Flash Drive
    * iPod Disks
  79. For whatever it's worth, these are my ways of avoiding / minimizing this kind of mistake.

    1. Data doesn't "exist" until it is stored in at least two places. Preferably, one of them is off-site.

    2. Never, ever format a card during a shoot. Format them only after condition #1 is satisfied, and then do it right away.

    3. In my CF Card wallet (holds 4 cards) a card that's right side up means it's empty. Upside down means full.

    4. Never shoot anything important on a CF card larger than 2 MB. Spreading images across more cards mitigates loss, failure and accidental erasure. This number will eventually migrate up as small cards go away, but the philosophy will remain intact.

    As to breaking the bad news, be completely honest with them. Apologize sincerely and present them with a plan for recreating as much as possible at the same time. PPA 's has an insurance plan to cover these sorts of situations. If you're a member, contact them ASAP.

    Good luck with the situation - and thanks for sharing your pain. It gives us all a chance to benefit from it, and hopefully avoid doing something similar.
  80. 1.) Refund them 100%

    2.) For the next month, cry yourself to sleep each night.

    3.) After getting tired of it, do the opposite of what everyone else in the past has ever told you about using a bunch of cards on an event, and get ONE HUGE card, like an 8Gb / 16Gb. Never take it out of your camera, and teach yourself to dump / write to two DVD's (Take note - backup your backup!) / and then format the card.

    4.) When you have 120000 pix backed up without LOSING A SINGLE ONE, start telling other people to do the same.
  81. so I sent my card off Puralator yesterday to the golden hands at Tallyn's -- (thanks for pointing me in their

    i HIGHLY recommend them, even though I'm not sure how much data he'll be able to recover he's going out of his
    way to help me out ASAP -- and believes there is a good chance i'll get most if not all the 500 images back (NOT
    900 as previously thought)

    to AGAIN clear things up -- since some aren't reading my updates & still commenting....

    1. I DID NOT REFORMAT THE CARD (only THOUGHT i did when I first noticed the files missing, and when i posted my
    original message i was obviously ETERNALLY distraught)

    2. WHAT HAPPENED: I didn't reformat before the wedding (which IS part of my workflow-system, and was a HUUUUUGE
    oversight on my part) SO, by the middle of the speeches i thought I was going to run out of card space &
    proceeded to delete the 200 or so images from a previous shoot, one by one... apparently this caused a block up
    of some sort on the card, making the files unreadable in the camera & computer....the information is all there
    still, just needs a genius tech Dr. (ie. Scott Tallyn) to get it back.

    3. Noting the importance & responses to my post - i will of course update everyone when i hear back...

    I'm glad to see some of the comments, and hope my asinine error of not pre-formatting helps someone before they
    go through this gut wrenching experience, I'm trying hard NOT to question my career right now - why IS it so hard
    to realize that HUMANS DO MAKE MISTAKES, including Presidents, professionals of all walks, great athletes,
    photographers and parents?

    Thank you to those who are offering prayers and support -- and for sharing their own nightmare stories -- And
    what was earlier said is also VERY true -- things could be a LOT worse....from car accidents, strokes, or ... i
    could have realized I did this AT the wedding and then puked on the bride...
  82. "i could have realized I did this AT the wedding and then puked on the bride..."

    what I should say is this:

    "i could have in my PANIC of not seeing the images on my card, THOUGHT i formatted the card and then puked on the bride"
  83. IMO, Thomas Hardy has the best idea.

    I dont shoot weddings but if i did, I would buy a bulk box of cards. Contact the company who makes the cards and
    see if I could order a carton of 250, 1GB or 2GB cards. I would never reuse cards for weddings and keep them as a
    secondary backup since they are much more likely to last compared to a HDD. They are cheap now and they will
    withstand floods and drops, much safer in terms of backup.

    You will never make this mistake since you will never put a card into your camera that has been used before. Its
    still a good idea to format though in order to prevent errors. Once the card comes out, mark both sides with a
    marker and your done with that card forever.

    Im sorry for your loss, but at least you learned something. It could have been worse, what if you had formatted
    the same card three times for the same wedding? You have learned the lesson in care and this will extend beyond
    your photography. Who knows, one day, being careful might save your life.
  84. 1. Don't lie to your customer. You messed up and this happens. You should have kept your cards separated. 2. Don't lie to
    your customer because if you tell the truth you will never have to remember what you said. Give them the work you have as
    a gift and forfeit the money. 3. Don't lie to your customer. Show integrity. 3. Don't lie to your customer. If there is any
    chance they ever learned the truth you will be doubly cursed and word does spread.

    And finally, don't lie to your customer because it is wrong.
  85. I would just echo what Lou Korell said: ALWAYS keep your used cards on your person! Keep them in a separate pocket, or whatever you have to do. Camera bags can get stolen, and if your cards are in them, the thief will have no more respect for the images than for your stuff.

    My boss made the critical mistake one time and he'll never forget it. He's a professional engineer, and was on whirlwind travel tour, carrying a new Nikon F4 and many rolls of film. He went from location to location over 3 days, shooting images for multiple jobs, and was checking his bag at the airport. You know what happened next...his bag fails to arrive with him, and all of his field work photos, camera equipment, etc. wound up gosh knows where. He had to not only file insurance on the gear, but had to go back and recreate ALL that field work documentation again. He bills out at $300 an hour, so he had to eat the time and expenses. And it wasn't tasty.
  86. Quoting William... Don't lie to the customer... Tell them the truth... tell them, ("i have NEVER felt this stupid, guilty and all around horrible about ANYTHING i have ever done....)"That, in my opinion, and in the long run, will do more for your reputation than any story you could fabricate... And then there is the possibility "post story" that a long lost cousin of the B or G's is also a member of and was reading this along with us all....
    I'm really sorry this happened to a fellow photographer (or in my case... wanna be) And nothing anyone can say will soften the blow to you... I wish you Good Luck...
  87. B...
    I have a suggestion for the future. I recently bought a Hyperdrive to back up cards while on a 25th Wedding Anniversary trip to Italy this summer. You could back up your cards to the Hyperdrive and not erase them. This would give you 2 copies of ALL of your pictures... I found the HDrive to be very fast and flawless in operation...
    See it here:
    Again Good Luck...
  88. This is kind of like getting screened for an illness because a friend has it and that saved your life. Whatever small consolation it is to you, we've all learned a strong lesson from your pain and you've diverted unnumbered disasters by sharing this with us. I for one appreciate it.
  89. OK let me ask a question to the group. If the data and images are recovered completely or even 70% does he still need to disclose the issue? And furthermore does the client really need to know that their was a potential issue. I really do not think that a 100% refund is required regardless of the outcome.

    If all the images are lost then sure, But a proportional refund is really what should take place. He did work, and that work needs to be paid regardless of the issues at hand. I would offer a portrait pkg or enlargements along with a partial refund.
  90. I can really understand how you are feeling about your lost.. Something similar has happened to me, only I lost 90 giga bytes of data because one of my hard disks one day decided not to work anymore.. Only advice that I can give you is that you find a professional help who can do a diagnostic check up on your card to see is there anything on it to save. Don`t try to do it yourself because if there is a slight chance that something is there to save it might be lost..
    I truly wish you luck,
  91. "OK let me ask a question to the group. If the data and images are recovered completely or even 70% does he still need to disclose the issue?"

    No. Certainly not if everything is rescued.

    However, if 30% are missing and they happen to be some of the most crucial groupings wanted by the couple, then I'd start thinking of serious refund/reshoot options. "Folks, I had a serious card issue, for which I take total responsibility, and I want to make it up to you..."

    If that unrecoverable 30% would not be missed by the couple, I'd say nothing.

    Do we tell the customer, "Man you should've seen the one I MIGHT have had IF my focus hadn't been off!!"? No...
  92. From my experiences with weddings as the father of the bride and as a guest to close friends who have discussed
    photography and photographers with me I have come to realize that the photos of this once in a life time moment
    (hopefully) is very important. Not just to the bride and groom but to the families as well. In re: to telling the bride and
    groom that you screwed up if everything is recovered? No I don't think you need to do that. The customer doesn't need to
    know how the soup was made, only that it turned out great. Why scare them or give them a reason to give you a bad
    review to their friends?

    Les, I have to respectfully disagree. I know the photographer showed up and worked but the quality of his work was not
    satisfactory as he lost a great deal of the photographs and it seems the most important ones. If someone build your house
    and only did it half right would you pay him? I would think not but then again maybe it's just me.
  93. "If someone build your house and only did it half right would you pay him?"

    But the builder would "own" a half-lien against your property (and the house.) You, hopefully, would hire a contractor with enough insurance [or a bond] to cover a half-right job, which in the end would be the completed house as agreed upon at the start of the contract.
  94. Very hard to predict how the B&G will react to what ever the final results.

    Though I only shot one wedding with a Graflex, before buying a Rollei, I shot many with film, working for three studios
    and myself, and, yes, it is a nervous time, and you need to develop procedures to reduce your stress and lessen
    your possibility of errors.

    With film, if 35mm, I would tear off the leader, with SD cards, I would use new cards and write protect them. I retain
    everything original.

    Systems fail, so you have several, and check what is working before and as you go. Check Sync, exposure, etc.
    which is much easier now, and if you cannot afford duplicate professional equipment, do not photograph such
    events. If you are shooting thousands of images of a wedding (yes, I shot 24 4x5 sheets at the first wedding, I went
    home to swap the film in the holders), I assume you are charging accordingly, and can afford to buy, or rent the
    appropriate equipment.

    With film, that meant two MF cameras, two Metz 60 series flashes, spare cords, spare film, and yes I carried it 10
    hours or more. Exposed film stayed in my pocket, mostly 220. I am thinking it was about $4K in older dollars, so
    even the best stuff today is close in price to what you needed years ago.

    You guys have pretty much covered what it physically means now.

    An assistant might be of help as well with the responsibility of keeping things coordinated when you get in to the
    spirit of the event, and keeping an eye on spare equipment. If someone walks off with a camera and a card full of
    images, it is a huge problem.

    Same with traveling, I have heard of people losing a month of images when their camera was stolen.

    With digital, tech problems will eventually occur, with film, the processor or the messenger could damage or lose
    film. I switched to either personally delivering the film, or having it shipped collect. People do not accept mis-
    delivered packages if they are collect. One of my neighbors' kids kept a package delivered to the wrong street.

    I had several events, where salvage was necessary, even taking a year to track down a gift 16x20 print that was mis-
    delivered and damaged, requiring hand retouching, ultimately costing me much of the profit from the job, and then the
    family hired elsewhere for the next two weddings, despite the fact the results were excellent, and the groom's father
    was my camera dealer.

    I caught hell from a client for a processor lost negative of a print they did not even want. You just cannot predict

    Things are going to happen, you correct what you can, and learn from mistakes, sounds like a lot of things in the
    world. I have trained people to try to step around avoidable errors, but Murphy is out there.

    And, finally, every time any name is mentioned any where in any thread, someone can find it with a very easy
    search, so everyone, not just the OP, needs to be civil and careful what you say about anyone. Delete may be
    better than send. I plan on signing up under the name Smith?

    People say innacurate, unkind things that remain in cyberspace forever.

    Clients' comments last longer.

    Good luck with all the recoveries.

    John Smith
  95. WOW!......... That, is almost all I can say.......... I have not been in the business long enough to give some high tech low emotion response to add fuel to the fire, or a stategic reverse engineering stratey about the shoulda, woulda, coulda's. I can olny say that I am sorry for the loss and hope it ends up being a valuable lesson learned, but (with data recovered). I truely do wish the best for you and the married couple.

    For those among us who seem to be chalk full of (well, I'll just leave it at that), I have also learned a lesson from you. Do not expect the answer we may be looking for, especially when addressing a forum like this. For some, compassion and the ability to give guidance and reassurance when a brother in arms is in need (well, it's just beyond some people's capabilities). That's ok, I have learned a valuable lesson here and will always remember the comments made and by whom the comments came from.
  96. "If someone build your house and only did it half right would you pay him? I would think not but then again maybe it's just me."

    Actually, he would have to redo it and you would STILL have to pay. You don't get a free house just because there was a mistake. And I don't think the clinets should get a full refund either.
  97. What about the Olympus E3 option for dual card capability? Does anyone use two of these for weddings? I'm using 40D's but would
    consider the E3 mainly for this reason. Not ready or willing to get two Mark 3's.
  98. I feel your pain. It was a mistake, you are only human. While the Bride may be really bummed out, the truth is the best thing. Do the best you can to make it up to them. Learn from this mistake.

    I do a simple low tech way of keeping track of my full and empty Compact Flash Cards. I cut out a small piece of Post-It Note with the word empty. I have about 15 cards each with a small post it with the word empty. After the card is filled, I scratch out empty and write a breif description of what is on the card then back into the plastic case. The card does not get reformated or get a new Post It with the word empty until I have downloaded the photos to my Computer and Burned Them to a CD. It may be anal, but you will not lose photos. If you are a professional, people are paying for your services go the extra step to avoid this.

    I emailed you a link to some pretty good software that may be able to recover your photos off a reformatted drive, even if some files may be corrupted or damaged from over writing, you may get some back. It does not rely on index tables to find the files, it looks at the data left on the drive and will pull the file back from the dead or reformated drive. It's worked pretty good for me on Hard Drive Crashes even if Windows has reformated and reinstalled. It should do a 4 Gig flash drive pretty fast. They even have a little program that will repair corrupted photo files. The software is very reasonably priced. It is made by a Company called Get Data. the website was, The software is better than most rescue software on the market. Good luck and try not to beat yourself up too much. Having to face that Bride will be hard enough. I would bend over backwards to make it up to them. Hopefully you still have a lot of good photos. Next time take two digital cameras and at least one 35mm, so you have back ups.

    Good luck
  99. I don't have any input to give that hasn't already been given.

    After reading about your horrible dilemma, I think I will have to start reevaluating my actions in the field! God knows, I don't have the best habits either.

    Just wish the best of luck in your recovery and hope we can see a happy ending.
  100. People may disagree as to how to avoid such problems, sometimes vehemently, but it ends up providing a wealth of information to
    consider ...
    and people do tend to be shaken out of complacency and listen when it is connected to a real life scenario ... which may, just may, save
    someone else from experiencing the same thing.

    IMO, that is the greater good this forum serves to provide.
  101. Hi

    I perfectly know how you feel. I do few weddings and have not ever had such problems, but, after covering a UEFA Champions League match between Sevilla FC and Fenerbahce SK, a 4 Gb card containing most of the pictures got corrupted and I had a really bad experience. But even if I was still able to recover 90% of the files (I did NOT format the card nor wrote anything else into it), and even if I was covering the match only for my own pleasure (I am a big Sevilla FC fan!) and for expanding my stock collection, I was totally desolated, because that night I felt like you (free, creative, relaxed) and I remembered well how good pics I had taken...

    I tried several programs and only a recovering utility by Sandisk (you can download it from their website and it's freely distributed with most of their cards) did the work. It was kind of magic! But, as others said, your case is really hard, after having formatted and written into the card...

    A friend of me, wedding photographer, only uses 1Gb cards, he hates to put all the eggs onto the same basket... It's a smart, cheap solution. Just remember how many film rolls we used to carry... 1 Gb cards are still much lighter and cheaper, and let you take more pictures than a roll...

    And regarding your customers, well, supposing you cannot recover the files (let's hope you can!), as others have also said, sincerity and discounts (if not doing the entire job for free) are the better way to deal with them.

    Best of lucks!!!
  102. Marc,

    You offer such valuable pedagogy ; borne from experience and common sense.

    I and others I'm sure, are deeply indebted for that. .

    Thank you.
  103. I'm so sorry ... I know how horrible this kind of thing can be. I got muddy at one of my sessions and quickly threw my pants
    -- and memory card -- in the washer when I got home. You just feel like such a dope. A recovery service actually did get
    my pictures back, though. I know that your situation is different, but I hope that someone might be able to help you recover
    something. If it were me, I'd tell them the truth, give them a full refund, and then offer them a free "day-after" session. Of
    course, they may be so angry that they don't want anything more to do with you ... but hopefully not. Perhaps you can
    shoot some really amazing portraits of them that they'll love so much it will lessen the pain. The one positive thing is that
    you'll never, EVER do this again.
  104. OP: I saw your message about not reformatting the card. That's great news. So long as the file system corruption from deleting the older images manually (by the way folks - NEVER EVER use that little trash can button on your camera for any reason - I've repeatedly heard of it causing issues like this) didn't result in new images going in over other new images that you wanted to keep, I'd place some good odds on you getting a good recovery.

    As to used vs. unused cards - the card wallet that goes on my belt has little red flaps that you can put over top of used cards. When I put a used card into a slot, my finger automatically yanks the little flap out and it provides a visual and tactile indicator that the card/battery isn't to be used again. As with others, I don't format cards at the event, and no card gets reformatted after the event until the images on it are dumped to 2 hard drives and a DVD, and all three copies are verified for completeness. If, during event preparation, I see files on a card, I verify that those files are all on my two backup drives before getting my fingers anywhere near a format button.

    Best of luck.
  105. Sorry to hear of your situation, but glad that you are on the way to recovery.

    What backup systems do you use? Assuming that you haven't lost anything in the CF or SD cards.

    I'm not a WF, but I have three separate external hard drives, and back up all the pics onto them, when I remember,
    which is not often enough. They are in different locations in the home, so I feel reasonably safe from loss.

    What's your foolproof plan? (Since you're professionals, it should be more robust.)
  106. WF = Wedding Fotog. (Spelling is not my forte!)
  107. Tell them the truth and refund a percentage of the money. I once missed a bridal shoot due to a misunderstanding I felt the same way she drove over an hour had her hair done and I was a no show. I told them the truth and they where very understanding.

    Good luck
  108. I believe a full refund is in order. I would also offer to revisit the church with as many of their friends as they choose at no charge. This may soften the blow somewhat. Honesty is the best policy and without that you have no ethics... it will also allow you to sleep again.
    I believe your odds are beyond slim for your card recovery but every member of this forum would love to hear that you make a full recovery of your missing images. Good luck!
  109. My very techy friend tells me he has rarely heard of accidental loss from cards, but that it should be possible to corrupt cards with static electricity. Has anyone here lost any data from flash memory this way?

    Many errors can likely be avoided or reduced by careful procedures, but storage of filled cards may require specific treatment to protect the contents, and they are small enough for any number of unpleasant things to occur in pockets.

    I have a couple of Canon wallets for cards, they seem well made.
  110. I did this same thing over the weekend but luckily realized it immediately so I was able to re shoot the formals and haven't touched the card since. I'm not a pro and this was a gift. It worked out except for having to tell everyone about it, which had to be done so I could re shoot.

    I got lucky to say the least. I knew better and I have no excuse for the screw up. It wont happen again.

    Unfortunately I use Oly gear and have been told that once the card is re formatted all images are lost, not that I wont try anyways. If anyone knows of a way to recover from a card re formatted by a Oly cam. I sure would like to know.

    Someone asked about the E 3 and it'd dual card slots. The xd card slot is good for additional space but there is no means of writing to both cards at once that I know of. You could copy the images to it as a back up but it takes forever and is limited to 2 gig cards.

    I do hope to continue on the way to shooting weddings, aside for the above, I really enjoyed it. I'll wait till I have taken more classes and put in some time as a second/ assistant before I'd ever charge someone.

    This is my fist post here, I was directed to this thread after discussing my issue on another forum.
  111. Well, it looks like I was told wrong, at least in part.

    So far one program has pulled the JPGs off but none have found the raws. I shoot both in case raw editing isn't required, in this case it may have just saved my butt. lol

    I still hope to get the Raws back but 157 formal shots are better in jpg than nothing.
  112. One more update

    A program called ZAR was able to get all but the grooms formals off the card in both Raw and Jpeg.

    In fact none of the programs tried could find the grooms shots, which were the last shots taken.

    In any event, thanks to the forum for inspiring me to try recovering anything at all.
  113. Send me your phone number and I'll call you. I just saved 400 plus shots from Judes wedding a few weeks ago. savagesax at aol dot com. Prices vary from $10 to $600, but I've never charged $600 yet. If I can't get the files back most likely no one can.
  114. Sorry for not responding sooner, I've actually been away doing photography and also doing hard drive data recovery for a local hospital. It's kept me awake all night and away from

    I actually just photographed some Playboy models! It was a hard job, but someone had to do it! Hopefully it will be an on going job, which I will hate. <joking of course>
  115. oh my god, im so sorry. that sucks so bad. i have nightmares about doing that. But, it happened, theres nothing you can do now. Are you a member of the PPA? you might be covered to re-shoot.
  116. "I would really consider the use of much larger cards (Sandisk or Transcend 16gb are my preferred flavors) as you will not have this issue and therefore can likely leave the card in cam from leaving your office till you DL the images to you computer."

    Having an entire wedding on only one card would be risky at best. Maybe I'm nuts but I subscribe to the mentality that anything can break so I use multiple 2 gig cards in my Canon 5D. I number the cards and shoot with card 1 first and work up to the highest numbered card. Weddings are fast paced and can get confusing if you don't have a good method of operation. I've never had a card go bad but I'm very cautious with my handling of all my equipment. Additionally I never re-format a card until I have 2 copies of the data stored on DVD (not just hard drive - they can break too).
  117. AFTER ALL:

    All images have been recovered! The card was jammed up due to my deleting of 100 RAW (with corresponding large/fine JPEGs) during the wedding shoot.

    Thank to those who offered feedback, support and all the information and opinions.

    I'm sure other "humans" will learn from this mistake. Some will refund 100% and offer costly re-shoots, maybe even get punched in the nose or cry themselves to sleep for a month....and the others will send their card to Tallyn's and get it all back and wake up from the nightmare.

    Thank you times one million to Scott Tallyn of Tallyn's....
  118. Congrats! I sort of expected this after you noted that you'd just deleted some files and the system had gotten
    confused (instead of the original explanation).

    Post some of the best shots if you can.
  119. If you google it there are lots of software allows you to recover some files even after you formatted your card. I have used it personally and they are magically good.


    [Moderator note: Website link removed - No signature links allowed]
  120. B. Pearl- THANK GOODNESS!!! You have a happy ending and can save face to your client. You learned a valuable lesson and shared it with the rest of us. There is a lot to digest from the 100 posts generated here and each reader will take away something different.

    Thank you for sharing your heartache and allowing others to learn from your experience as well as everyone else's.
  121. I'm so glad to read that you recovered your images... congratulations!!! Any chance of you sharing one of those pub shots with us! :)
  122. Hooray! Many congratulations to you, and I'm glad everything has been recovered.
  123. oh yay! i was having sympathy anxiety for you! =) So, you hadnt written over the card in the first place?
  124. After reading this I just backed up everything.
  125. It has nothing to do with me, but I too, was sweating over this one. So glad it all worked out. :)

  126. Hey B. Pearl - I haven't posted here yet but have been following the story since the beginning - So happy to find that the images have been recovered! You can sleep easy now!!! :)
  127. here are some of the "NOT-SO-LOST-IMAGES" feedback / critique welcomed :)
  128. and another
  129. Katherine - this thread is more than likely dead...

    Please start a new one - reference this thread - ask for critiques in the title and put your images in a folder for people to see on - give them the link - and post only one image in the thread. They can go to the folder to see the rest.

    Nice shots by the way. I would have had the groom in a better light. One of my pet peeves is images with hot sun on one side and shade on the other on faces - also in this one - the hands have hot spots as well.

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