4 simple tips to avoid deleting your images by accident

The little girl in the video below is heart-breaking. But it can be much much worse if we are talking about lost precious memories made in a faraway destination or during an event that cannot be replicated or repeated. The worst is of course images of kids that grow up and will never be the same age again…

So here is a few tips that can help avoid accidental image deleting disasters:

  1. Know your gear. Never go out and shoot important photos with gear that you do not know. Read the manual. Play around extensively with lots of test shots, try different modes, get in the menus, learn as much as you can before going out shooting, get to know the delete button! This way you will not get to push buttons accidentally, and this of course includes accidental deletes.
  2. Avoid deleting images with your camera. Camera screens are too small for meaningful image reviews, unless you are prepared to zoom in/out a lot and spend disproportionate amounts of your precious time. Keep everything until you can make your decisions later on your large computer screen. Use histograms to help you take well balance images and keep everything till you get to a larger screen. Some images can some times be revelations!
  3. Carry plenty of storage cards. When you know that when your card is full you can go to the next one, you do not feel the pressure to pick the best images and delete everything else to maximize available storage. Keep your cards with your camera so that you never leave home without them. When shooting, separate and mark which cards are full or empty so you get the full cards out of harm’s way.
  4. Establish a backup plan. Once you have made your backups you can play around a lot without the fear of accidentally deleting something or changing your mind. I have previously written about my backup strategy when on the move, of course there is a huge range of options that you can pick to do what suits you best.

Being able to delete unwanted images was one of digital photography’s biggest selling points when it was still young in the 2000s. It surely was fun and deleting images was something we all enjoyed doing with our first digital cameras. For me this “delete” enthusiasm has worn off a long time ago and these days I format my cards once everything has been properly backed up. Storage is cheap and image management software is so handy for choosing the best images, it is best to take advantage of these assets as much as possible.