Quick Tip–Managing Your Flash Cards

Six blank, formatted cards ready to go. (Copyright 2009 / Andrew Boyd)

Six blank, formatted cards ready to go. (Copyright 2009 / Andrew Boyd)

Have you ever had that sickening feeling when you realized that you had reformatted a card with images on it that you still needed? That feeling in your stomach, knowing that your day had just gotten a lot harder? Avoid this with a proper card routine! This Quick Tip explains my simple procedure for keeping up with my flash cards.

First, of course, you need a proper card wallet for all of your flash cards. Whether you shoot Compact Flash (CF), Secure Digital (SD) or some other card format, having a proper place to keep these cards is essential.

I recommend a wallet made by Think Tank Photo in another post.  Lightware makes another very nice, high-end case that will hold 8-10 CF cards. For SD cards, the Hakuba case at B&H looks like it will do the job.  I still use some card wallets I got for free from Nikon Professional Services several years ago. My photos in this post are of those wallets.

Simply put, before starting a big shoot, I create a wallet full of empty, freshly-formatted cards. All of the cards are ‘facing out’ with the manufacturer’s logo visible. When I fill up a card and need to change it out, I take the FULL card and put it back in the wallet,  face-side down. So fresh cards, I can see the logo;  full cards,  I’m looking at the card’s back side.

When a card is full, I replace it in the card wallet back-side out. (Copyright 2009 / Andrew Boyd)

When a card is full, I replace it in the card wallet back-side out. (Copyright 2009 / Andrew Boyd)

It’s that simple. I know that any card showing its backside is suspect. Even a week later, I won’t shoot a back-side card without first confirming that I’ve downloaded, processed and backed up those images.

I know this is simplistic, obvious and some might say, not worthy of a post. But over the course of my career, I’ve found that establishing simple, repeatable working habits is one of the keys to long-term success. And it will help you avoid that sickening feeling!

selfport1aHi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: How To

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

3 Comments on "Quick Tip–Managing Your Flash Cards"

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  1. WJD says:

    I had come up with same idea independently some time ago and it has proven to be a very effective yet simple way to manage my cards.
    I had and still do number the cards, but now that’s only for reference later.
    Face up/face down – end of much confusion!

  2. I believe in SIMPLE systems, and this is one of them. Having NO system is the danger!

  3. My system is get a reliable online storage… For me this is the best way to store and retrieve files… With the threat of viruses that ruins files and sometimes the whole card, we need the same protection of huge and reputable online storage sites put onto themselves.

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