Of all the things you could lose while you’re vacationing, the one that would have to be the most upsetting is losing your camera. All the snapshots you took – of places you may never return to – are gone in a flash.
Hopefully this will never happen to you, but since most people consider their travel photos priceless and irreplaceable, it makes sense to take a few precautions to increase your chances of getting your camera back in the event you do lose it.
Four simple steps to protect your camera & safeguard your travel photos
1. Start each “film roll” with a snapshot of your contact info. Every time you delete your memory card and start taking a new batch of photos, make the very first photo a snap of your contact information. Simply create a small card with your name, email address, and phone number (or use your business card if you prefer) and slip it into your wallet so you have it handy whenever you begin a new set of pictures on your camera. The person who finds your camera will often look through the photos in the hopes of identifying the owner – make it easy for them by telling them how to get a hold of you.
2. Label your camera. It might feel a bit childish, labeling your possessions, but is an effective concept – while a person may have to scroll through your photos to find your contact information, they need only glance at the camera to find your label. I recommend including an email address, rather than just a phone number, on the sticker. The person who finds your camera may have trouble calling you (particularly if you’re traveling internationally) but email is free and widely accessible.
3. Use the internet to locate your camera. A number of websites have sprung up over the years in the hopes of reuniting lost cameras with their owners. Ifoundyourcamera.net for example, posts images from cameras that have been handed in and asks you to contact them if you recognize yourself or anyone else in the photos. Other sites such as stolencamerafinder.com allow you to enter the serial number stored in your digital photos (any photo previously taken with your camera will do) and will scour the web to find other photos taken with the same camera, thereby [hopefully] leading you to the person who has your camera. Unfortunately, not all cameras store this “metadata” and some popular photo sharing websites like facebook remove this data when images are uploaded – but it’s worth a shot. Other sites to try are camerafound.com and cameratrace.com.
4. Backup your photos regularly. The three suggestions mentioned above all rely on the hope that whoever finds your camera will be honest enough to hand it over to the authorities or will be patient enough to try and find the owner themselves. But the unfortunate reality is that not all people are so nice – which means there’s a good chance that despite your precautions you won’t be seeing your camera again. For this reason, it makes sense to backup your photos as frequently as possible (once a day is a good rate). That way, if your camera gets misplaced or stolen, you’ve only lost a day’s worth of photos, not the lot.