[ a precautionary tale ]

Years ago I swore I would never shoot weddings. First lesson – never say never.

After shooting a wedding as a gift to a family member I realized I could handle it and thought maybe I would do one once in awhile. That was back in the film days. My thoughts were – you screw up someone’s once-in-a-lifetime event and you’re just DONE professionally.

Fast-forward about 15 years. To last Sunday, to be exact.

I shot a wedding Saturday and thought I’d start Sunday off with hot cup of coffee and load all my digital files into my computer. My first three cards imported without a hitch.

And then nothing. My computer told me it couldn’t read my card. Wait. What?

I’ve never seen that before. I tried not to panic and thought I’d just put it back in the camera and transfer from there.

My camera told me that the card had a formatting error and it couldn’t. be. read.

I started to SOB. Sob.

300 photos of the bride getting ready, groom and groomsmen portraits, groom seeing his precious daughter for the first time. Gone. G.O.N.E. Gone.

I freaked out and called Greg who told me not to worry.

Then I got online and found this company: Flashback Data.

I was immediately impressed with their customer service and quick response. They assured me that they see this all the time. (This happens a lot? I’ve been shooting digital for about 15 years and have done thousands of shoots and have NEVER had it happen to me). Flashback Data was AMAZING to work with. And super understanding and just wonderful. Keep them in your back pocket in case you ever need them. And I hope you don’t.

So I packaged up my little card and shipped it to Texas…and it took a week to get there. And I was being taught patience. A lot of patience.

And I tossed and turned at night and worried about how I would tell this bride what happened. How do you tell someone that 1/4th of their wedding memories are just gone? How do you tell someone that you screwed up. Big time. But it wasn’t really your fault and you had no control over it. How do you even start that conversation?

And my friends and family told me not to worry and I prayed for my little disk.

Today I was told that they found what I was after and I was saved after all. After spending a LOT of money to get those photos back. But it was worth every penny. Not just to save my professional reputation – but more importantly to get those images the bride trusted me to get.

So my lesson to other photogs out there. Card failure happens.

I have since bought all new fresh memory cards. (Although, let’s be honest. That’s no guarantee they won’t fail either.) And I was reminded that my camera actually HAS two memory card slots. WHY I’ve never thought of using this before? Probably because card failure had never happened to me. It actually backs up what I’m shooting to a second card in real time. You can bet I am using that from now on when what I’m shooting can’t be recreated. One more reason I buy top-of-the-line Nikon professional bodies.

This was a professional humbling on a scale I don’t care to repeat. Ever.

And yes, I do have it outlined in my wedding contract what happens if equipment fails. And I’m so thankful in this case we didn’t have to go there.

Thankful and humbled. It can happen to me. It did. And it can happen to you.

The photo above is just one of hundreds that were saved. Thank you Flashback Data.

[ bird ] – Richland Wedding Photographer

I had the pleasure of photographing this small, backyard wedding this month. It’s amazing to me how much I can accomplish for such a short time. I was only there for 2 hours, yet got some really lovely photographs documenting this special occasion.

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