Frequently Asked Questions

Digital photography basics

Should I bring more than one memory card when I travel?
Every few days use a new card, and write-protect used cards. That way if a card becomes corrupt, your images on other cards are still okay.
I accidentally deleted an image in my camera. How do I recover it?
Stop using that card. If you continue taking photos with it, there is a chance a new image will be recorded on top of the deleted image. There are a number of card recovery programs that will allow you to scan your card and recover the images. Your card may have come with software suggestions.
I see a "Card Error", “Read Error” (or similar) message on my camera. What does this mean? Are my photos lost? How can I get them back?
Immediately stop using that card. If you keep taking photos with it, there is a chance a new image will be recorded on top of the deleted image. There are a number of card recovery programs that will allow you to scan your card and recover the images. Your card may have come with software suggestions.
When I put a brand new card in my camera, I get the error “Card Not Initialized”. What does this mean, and how do I correct it?
If it is a brand new card, you can safely format the card without worrying about losing any images. Follow your camera’s instructions on how to format a memory card. If you have previously used the card to take photos, the card has likely become corrupted. See the section how to handle corrupted memory cards.
How do I transfer photos from my camera to my computer?

There are several options for transferring photos from your digital camera:

  • Direct camera connection using your camera’s USB cable: Your digital camera may have included a USB cable that allows you to easily download photos to your computer. Make sure your camera’s batteries are charged.
  • Using your computer’s built-in card reader or a USB card reader: This replaces the need to connect the camera directly to your computer. Insert your memory card directly into the card reader on your computer.
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Some digital cameras can transfer images via WiFi or Bluetooth. Check with your camera manufacturer to find out more.
  • Mobile devices: Most cameras can transfer images wirelessly to iOS and Android devices. Once the photos are on your mobile device, you can transfer them directly to your computer, or transfer them from cloud storage to your computer.
I’ve noticed some dark spots on my images taken with my D-SLR or mirrorless camera. The spots appear in the same area of my image no matter where my subject is. What are these, and how can I get rid of them?
You probably have some dust on your camera lens. Use a blower brush to gently blow any dust from your lens.
When I take flash photos indoors there are white specks in my photo. What are they and how do I get rid of them?
When you use a digital camera to take flash photos, light from the flash can reflect off airborne dust particles. These particles may be captured in photos. To prevent this from happening, light up the surrounding area as much as possible and take photos without your flash. If you can detach the flash from your camera, move the flash away from the camera and then take flash photos.
I take a lot of my photos on my smartphone. Is there a way to organize photos on my computer?
Connect your phone to your computer and move the photos from the file on your phone to your computer. You can also upload smartphone photos to the cloud and then transfer them to your computer. Once they’re on your computer, you can use photo organizing software to help you sort and categorize your photos.
I have many older photos, slides and negatives I'd like to get transferred to my computer. Can this be done? How?

There are a few ways to digitize photos, film negatives and slides:

  • Professional photo scanning services: (Recommended) Rely on professionals to digitize your photos or convert slides to digital and return your negatives/slides to you for archiving. Professionals can also colour correct your photos. These types of services will result in higher quality images.
  • Smartphone apps and accessories: Using a commercial app or accessory will give you the lowest quality results and may limit print sizes if you want to print pictures from your digitized images.
  • Household scanner: A home scanner will provide excellent quality images for your negatives and slides. However, This method requires a very technical configuration to ensure accurate colours and the highest possible image quality.
  • Digital camera:

Using a digital camera to digitize your images will provide very high quality results but it is the most expensive DIY setup. This process requires a high resolution interchangeable lens camera with a high quality macro (closeup) lens.

Organizing your photos on your computer

How can I organize all of my photos into one place on my computer?
Decide how you want to categorize your photos and then create a folder structure (Year / Month / Event / etc.) on your computer. Drag and drop your photos or photo files to the relevant file.
What software can I use to view and edit my photos?
The software you use depends on how experienced you are with editing photos.

Beginners: The software included with your Windows or Mac operating system

Mid range: Adobe Elements

Experienced: Adobe PhotoShop, LightRoom, ACDSee, Capture One

I see a "Card Error", “Read Error” (or similar) message on my camera. What does this mean? Are my photos lost? How can I get them back?
Immediately stop using that card. If you keep taking photos with it, there is a chance a new image will be recorded on top of the deleted image. There are a number of card recovery programs that will allow you to scan your card and recover the images. Your card may have come with software suggestions.
I have a number of scanned images that are being sorted on my computer by date scanned, not by the date the photo was taken. Is there a way to edit the photo file so that it shows the date the photo was taken?
Find software that enables you to edit the scanned images’ EXIF data.
What are the recommended file types I can work with?

In most cases, JPEG image files are all you need to print images, from regular-sized photos up to poster format.

  • JPEG: Most cameras capture and record .jpg (JPEG) files. This is the most common file type.
  • RAW: Many cameras can also record RAW image files. These files can contain additional image information. However, the files are quite large, and require a computer and software to be able to view and process to JPEG or TIFF.
  • TIFF: These files are larger and contain more data. They’re used to create large photo prints — bigger than the size of a poster. Typically TIFF images are converted from RAW.
  • HEIC: Newer iOS devices use a “High Efficiency” file format. While this does reduce the image file size, there are not yet many options for viewing HEIC files

Archiving and saving images

What precautions can I take to ensure my photos are not lost due to a computer error or hard drive crash?

It is highly recommended to backup your images frequently. Here are a few options:

  • Back up to the cloud. The many available options allow you to back up your images to a cloud based service for online photo storage that gives you access to your photos over the internet.
  • There are still options to backup via optical disk (CD/DVD), although this option is becoming more and more difficult as media is becoming harder to obtain.
  • You can also back up to an external hard drive. Much like the hard drive in your PC or Mac, external hard drives safely store files to protect photos in case your PC or Mac hard drive fails. You can then organize your photos using your computer’s photo library.
  • The best way to archive images is to print them and store them in a photo album.

Printing and sharing your photos

I want to create 4"x6" prints, but a portion of my image is missing, blank or has borders. How do I make it fit? How can I crop my photos without losing the overall look?

Most cameras have either a 3:2 ratio (35mm full frame and APS-C sensors) or 4:3 (Most compact cameras and Micro Four Third sensors). Depending on your desired print size, you may need to crop the image to the appropriate ratio to make the print look the way you want it to.

Common print sizes in a 3:2 ratio (in inches):

  • 4×6, 6×9, 8×12, 12×18, 16×24, 20×30, 24×36

Common print sizes in a 4:3 ratio: (in inches):

  • 6×8, 9×12, 12×16

Other common ratios include:

  • 1:1, 5:4, 16:9, 12×6
I want to have an enlargement made at a commercial lab. What can I do to ensure the print will look the best?
Use photo editing software such as PhotoShop or Lightroom to resize and sharpen the photo, adjust the photo’s colour profile, and ensure your photo is at the right resolution for the printer you will be using.
I have a number of old photos, slides, negatives and even some old movies and videos. Is there a way I can watch these on my TV or computer?
There are many commercial services available that can convert VHS to digital and transfer old 8mm, Super 8mm and other types of film and video to digital formats that you can easily watch and share.
What is the optimal resolution for printing posters larger than 8”x10”?
The minimum resolution for an 8”x10” printed at 250 dpi (Dots per inch) would be 2000 x 2500 pixels (5MP) with a file size of approximately 3.5MB. To print larger, a higher resolution would be required. A 24MP image (4000×6000) can print as large as 16”x24” at 250 dpi with file sizes of up to 10-15MB.
Can I print my photos at home?

There are several home digital printing options:

  • Ink jet home printer: This isn’t an ideal option, as ink and paper costs are high, and you will need to calibrate the printer for accurate colour. However, an ink jet printer will allow you to print other types of documents and it allows you to use different kinds of paper.
  • Dye Sublimation: This type of photo printing does not produce the highest quality images, but it is less expensive than a home printer. A dye sublimination printer can only print photos and other images (not documents).
  • Laser printer: Laser printers only use document paper and are not capable of producing image quality prints. They are designed for volume at a low cost.
  • Smartphone printer: Limited in paper sizes, smartphone pinters are fun for quick sharing but they do not produce high quality images that survive over time.
Can I make a slideshow that can be played on my TV and/or computer?

PCs and Macs ship with software that allows you to create photo slideshows.
To create a slideshow on your TV, there are a few options:

  • USB Drive
  • DVD (or CD) with connected DVD/BluRay player
  • Cloud (Connected TV)
  • SD Card Reader

General Questions

Why should I print my photos?
  • It’s cost-effective: High quality 4”x6” prints are very affordable.
  • Digital redundancy: With technology change, your photos may not be accessible.
  • Archival / backup: Prints last; the oldest known prints are still around today.
  • Sharing: Printed photos are easy to share and turn into gifts that last.
  • Home decor: Decorate your space with large format, canvas prints & more.
  • Legacy: Printing photos will preserve them for future generations.
How can I print my photos?
There are many ways to print your digital photos:

  • Online: Photo printing services
  • Retail: Kiosks in grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Home: Home laser or photo printer
  • Smartphone: Portable smartphone printers

Advanced Questions

What tools can I use to apply a proper filter to my photos?
There are many technologies available that allow you to filter your photos:

  • Photo editing software
  • Smartphone apps
  • Filters built into your camera
How do I take a high-quality photo with my smartphone?
  • Turn on your phone’s gridlines. It will balance your photo.
  • Prop your phone on a steady support to get crisp images.
  • Tap your screen to focus your phone camera on a specific spot.
  • Make the most of natural or ambient light instead of using a flash.
  • Use a smartphone app to help you improve and edit your photos.

Still have a question? Contact us!

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