PetaPixel

A Digital Dog Tag for Your Lost Camera

youmusthavefound

Recovering your camera after losing it is one of those things that most people don’t really think about until the situation actually arises. If you were to lose your camera today, would anyone be able to return it to you?

Andrew McDonald‘s solution is to always keep his email address in a photograph that never leaves his camera.

Anyways-Can-you-email

In fact, he keeps a whole series of photographs that help him “speak” to the stranger (or thief) that found his camera.

It’s a pretty clever idea, since someone who finds a camera is bound to look through the photographs stored on the memory card. You don’t even need to take a fancy photograph – a simple hand-written note should suffice:

IMG_5107

The reason you should save your contact information as a photo on the memory card rather than as a text file is because the text file won’t show up when viewing the photographs using the camera. Even if the person who finds your camera is tech-savvy enough to browse through the card using a computer, they might not see a text-file intended for them no matter what you title the file.

A problem with this simple approach is that simple altruism isn’t enough of an incentive for some people to return the camera rather than to keep it or sell it. Thus, the following “digital dog tag” might have a higher chance of success:

IMG_5106

Notice how the prize is completely ambiguous. This might be a good way to get the finder to email or call you so you have some tangible link to your camera. What you choose to offer them as a “prize” is up to you. How much is your camera worth to you?

For the rest of Andrew McDonald hilarious set of images, check out the following link:

A Pictoral Guide to Avoiding Camera Loss


 
  • http://www.focalmatter.com/blog mike

    I've seen this tip before, but the problem with this is that you really should reformat memory cards fairly regularly (rather than just deleting images) to avoid corruption risk, and there's no way to protect a photo from formats.

  • jberkenbosch

    I completely agree with Mike. I never choose 'delete all images' but reformat to avoid any possible corruption.

    I like the creativity of this solution, but it isn't very practical.

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Good point with the formatting. I format my card every time I pull photographs off as well, but I know a good number of people who rarely format (and are PC users?). I guess the tip isn't very suitable for the “formatters” ;-)

  • http://life.outtacontext.com/ Jeff

    Many cameras have built-in memory and you can store this image in the camera's memory rather than on a card. That way it will be more permanent.

  • jbbbbb

    i reformat every time i go on a shoot.

  • andyschmitt

    Funny, I seem to hear of more Mac users having corruption problems after using their computer to delete files than PC users…maybe because it's a native PC format?

  • http://www.focalmatter.com/blog mike

    This is true. Almost every non-photographer I know tends to keep photos on their camera for AGES. Even long after offloading them.

    This is probably a better tip for P&S users than photographers. Then again, most photographers probably go to insane lengths to ensure that they never lose their cameras. :)

  • Cornet

    Firstly it's nothing to do with it being a “native PC format”. There problems are probably due to people pulling the cards out without un-mounting them (ejecting/dragging to trash can).

    The same goes for Windows use the “Safely Remove Hardware” thing.

    Sure many people don't do this and get away with it but, in general, it's a stupid thing to do.

  • Cornet

    Firstly it's nothing to do with it being a “native PC format”. There problems are probably due to people pulling the cards out without un-mounting them (ejecting/dragging to trash can).

    The same goes for Windows use the “Safely Remove Hardware” thing.

    Sure many people don't do this and get away with it but, in general, it's a stupid thing to do.

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  • GC

    1. Put a piece of paper or business card in your bag (perhaps in every pocket).
    2. Small sticker with your contact info – stick it on memory card, battery, body, lens, etc. Make it in black and make it small.
    3. Want to spend money? Have a pro engrave your body, battery, etc. This is possible with high tech machines, I saw this on a trade fair.