How to Recover Deleted Camera Pictures

By Greg Brian

In the digital camera era, the deletion of a valuable picture is an occasional reality. If you’re just starting to use a digital camera, know it’s not always your fault when a picture gets deleted. Corruption in the memory card can happen without human interaction. Fortunately, you can still retrieve deleted pictures on a digital camera by using a manual method through the camera or by using specific software.

Things You'll Need

  • Memory card
  • Computer
  • Software to extract lost photos

Basic Method of Picture Retrieval

Step 1

Understand that a deleted picture is never really gone on a digital camera and can usually be extracted from deep inside the camera’s memory card. If a valuable photo is deleted, stop saving additional pictures on your memory card if you want to have any chance of recovering a lost picture.

Step 2

Remove the memory card from your camera so you won’t accidentally take more photos Reinsert the memory card in the camera when you are ready to try to retrieve the deleted photo.

Step 3

Connect your camera to your computer and have your camera search all files on your memory card. Most brands of digital cameras allow you to open your memory card on a computer so you can locate files. Consult your camera’s manual for searching inside all the common JPEG, TIFF, DNG and RAW memory card files.

Software Method for Picture Retrieval

Step 1

Search for software that helps you retrieve lost photos off your digital camera. Free titles include PC Inspector Smart Recovery and PixFix Free Photo Recovery.

Step 2

Download the free software, in this case PC Inspector Smart Recovery, onto your computer and connect your digital camera (with the memory card inserted) to your computer.

Step 3

Remember which drive on your computer you’ve connected your camera to so you can indicate it to the software when starting a scan.

Step 4

Open the PC Inspector Smart Recovery software and indicate from which drive to recover data. Choose a folder on your computer in which to store your recovered photos.

Step 5

Start the software and let it do a thorough scan of your digital camera’s memory card. Keep in mind that this software takes time to scan your memory card depending on how many pictures you have stored on it. It takes the longest scanning higher-quality RAW files.

Recovering Lost Photos

Step 1

Look in the computer folder you earlier selected to find all of the lost pictures the PC Inspector Smart Recovery program found.

Step 2

Move your lost pictures to a more convenient folder on your computer’s hard drive.

Step 3

Know that if you don’t see your retrieved photo in the folder you selected, it’s not necessarily a hopeless case. Consider purchasing a software photo retrieval program because some paid programs have special features that can still find a missing photo.

Tips & Warnings

  • Photo retrieval programs available for purchase often offer better features than software programs available for free. These additional features include memory card preview files, storage of lost pictures on DVD, or compression of files. Programs available for purchase include Disk Doctors Digital Media Recovery and Art Plus Digital Photo Recovery.