Personal · Senior Models

Andrew ~ 2012 Senior Model {Xenia High School}


I debated if I wanted to share all the behind the scenes of this session or not but I have decided I DO. Why?

~ Because I am sure some of you WILL be in the same boat as me someday and I want to give you a hint of hope!

~ Because NO session is fool-proof and complications CAN come up.

~ Just because something seems hopeless at 2:30 a.m., KEEP TRYING 3:00 is coming.

~ Because as a professional you HAVE to be prepared and take steps to handle these situations!

~ Because I want to share my heart and let all my clients know I want to do the very best I can for you and I want you to walk away happy with your images but most of all your experience.

So here it goes…

John and I had a wonderful session with Andrew, one of my new Senior Models for Xenia High School, this weekend.  We went to some cool locations, played with off camera flash and had some really fun shots I was super excited to see.  Andrew did a great job and I was extremely please that I chose him as someone to represent my business.  I came home and did exactly what I always do.  I plugged my memory card into my card reader and started downloading his session ready to find my favorites.  After his first image loaded I received a message on ALL of his other images that said  “UNSUPPORTED FORMAT VARIANT”.  There was a black hole where all of his images should be. WHAT!!! PANIC BEGAN TO SET IN!  I took a deep breath and tried again, and again, and again on my PC, and then again on my MAC. After a few times, some of the images from the end of his session started to come in but only a small section.  John noticed the look on my face and all my deep breathing and came over and immediately started to PANIC too.  Was the problem my memory card, my camera, my downloading software?  If I stood on my head will they come in?  {Just kidding but I was getting that desperate.}  My only relief in all this was at least it was NOT a wedding!!!! I could reshoot this session if I had to but I knew we had some really great shots and I did not want to make the call to Andrew to tell him ” I got nothing!”   I took another deep breath and turned to my long time friend and advisor ~ GOOGLE!

After some research, I found out that this was not a fluke.  This is actually very common.  I found many forums discussing this problem and they all mentioned several photo data recovery solution.  After comparing all the reviews, I decide to give Photo Rescue a try.  If this could save even just a few of his images, the $29 would be worth it.  I have to admit that I was NOT impressed with their website.   You download their trial program, purchase the activation code and then you can save your images to your computer. Apparently I downloaded the wrong trial program and after about an hour of waiting for the images to restore I found out I purchased the code for the other program.  About 2:30 a.m. I was about to give up and go to bed but then by 3:00 am ALL of his images were safely restored to my hard drive.  HALLELUJAH!!  Am I a fan of Photo Rescue? YOU BET!  {Quick Tip ~ let the program run through the second time.  The first pass through will recover some of the data but if you do the second pass through, you will receive more.}

After more research, we have decided it was probably a memory card problem and the reason is most likely caused from deleting images while in camera.  I always format my memory card instead of deleting them any other way.  By formatting your card you are removing more stored data from your card.  Simply deleting them in camera can leave leftover information.  While I always format my card before a new session, I have been known to delete an image here and there as I go through a session.  If I see an image that is unflattering or their eyes are closed, I have deleted it on the spot to save time later.  Well I guess this is a BIG no no!   Lesson learned.  No more chimping and deleting on the spot.

A few lessions I have learned through all this …

1. NO session is fool-proof.  {Even if everything looks great in camera.}  Cards can go bad or get lost.

~ A Data Recovery Program can help recover some if not all your data but at some point this may fail too.  Having one of these in your toolkit, however, is a GREAT idea.  I highly recommend Photo Rescue.

~ Use smaller memory cards.  We have decided to use only 4g memory cards from now on.  Why? If we are shooting a wedding, for example, and one card goes bad or gets misplaced, we have only lost a small portion of the event.  Yes we will be devastated as well as our client, but at least we did not lose more of the event.

~ Treat your memory cards like gold!  Only use professional quality cards, use caution when loading your cards,  format your card instead of simply deleting, do not chimp and delete as you go.

~ Shoot with backup!  I cannot stress enough how important this point is.  For weddings, especially I always have a back up shooter. Having at least two cameras going at all times, insures the most coverage.  We have had moments where the batteries on one flash die but if someone else is covering you while you switch out those batteries, you are safe.  Having backup is crucial when shooting weddings but it is also important to have back up equipment when shooting alone at a senior or family session.  Once again, I have had a camera freeze up on me before but I was able to grab my back up and everything went off without a hitch.  Be prepared!

2. Panicing does not fix anything!  Remain calm.

~ Remain calm and say lots of prayers!  {God DOES care about the little things in your life!}

~ Search Google for help! {Google is your friend!}

~ Don’t give up!  2:30 a.m. may seem bleak but 3:00 can be the best time of night! 🙂 {Sorry to any family members I may have woken up shouting!}

3. Prepare your clients that equipment failure is possible but you will do everything in your power to prevent it.

~ Make sure in your wedding and portrait contracts you have a statement that equipment failure is possible but as a professional you have taken every step available to avoid it.

~ Do your research and be prepared!

~ Be Professional – If they are paying you, it’s your job!  Take it seriously.  Use professional equipment and if you don’t have it ~ RENT it!.  We both shoot with professional camera bodies and along with our own arsenal of lenses we also rent more.  While I would LOVE to own every lens I would ever need, sadly that is not possible yet.  Borrow Lenses and Dodd Camera have come in very handy for this area of my business.

~ Remember you are human and problems will arise.  There WILL be faulty equipment once in awhile, you WILL have unhappy clients now and again  but do your best and try to remedy those situation to the best of your ability.  I NEVER want one of my clients leaving unhappy but I am human and I can’t please everyone all of the time.  I will do my absolute best and apologize profusely when something goes wrong.  That is all I can do.

4. Have coffee on hand for the next morning and if you have a wonderful spouse to make it for you in the morning ~ even better!  {Enough said!  Thanks, honey!}

While this is supposed to be a post about Andrew my wonderful Senior Model, I wanted to share a little of the behind the scenes and also my heart.  I put all this out there to help fellow photographers, to let clients know nothing is fool-proof but also to say, we have your best interest at heart.  We will do our best to protect your memories.  As a mother to four kids, I understand how precious memories are and it is a privileged and an honor to be apart of your big day, your senior year, your babies first weeks, or just because.   Photo Recovery saved me this time and I have learned some valuable lessons.  I am blessed to do this as a”job” and to have wonderful clients I can call friends.  I am also thankful YOU took the time to read this super long post! 🙂

Please feel free to leave comments if you have had a similar experience,  have some wise advice for us all going forward, have a question for me, or just want to leave Andrew some love.  Andrew, I am THRILL to tell you that your session was NOT lost after all and here is your sneak …



2 thoughts on “Andrew ~ 2012 Senior Model {Xenia High School}

  1. Tammy, Thank you so much for working so diligently to make sure all was not lost! These pictures are excellent and really capture Andrew in the best possible way. I can’t wait to see more!! We are extremely happy that you are handling his Senior pictures and that you chose him to be a model for you.
    Thanks again!


  2. Watching this young man grow up from elementary school to a senior in high school has been amazing! Great pictures of such a great young man!


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