Storing Digital Photos > Photo Transfer

Transfer Your Photos

Save your photographs from accidental deletion

If you've just filled a memory card with brilliant photographs, the last thing you want to do is lose them all.

The easiest and fastest way to make sure your important memories are preserved is to transfer them from your memory card to your computer. You are left with two choices: plug the camera into the computer, or purchase an additional memory card reader.

Connect Your Camera

One way to get images off your camera's memory card is to plug the camera into the computer. Many cameras today come with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector. All you need is a cable and a USB port on your computer, and you are ready to connect.

Plug one end of the cable into the camera, the other into the computer. Once both the camera and computer have been turned on, the camera should appear as an external hard drive.

If you are using a PC, you can browse your computer drives, and one of the drives should represent your camera. Some versions of Windows automatically detect that a camera has been attached, and ask you what you'd like to do with the photographic files.

If you are using a Mac, the camera should just appear as an icon on the desktop.

Once your computer recognizes the camera, all you have to do is copy the photographic files stored on the camera card into a folder on your hard drive. You can do this process manually, or you can use a computer program to assist you. Programs that help you organize your photos can be set up to automatically copy files every time the camera is connected.

Memory Card Readers

Connecting your camera to your computer is a fine way of copying and deleting files off the memory card so that you can use it over and over again. But there is an easier way.

If you are willing to make a small additional investment, you can purchase a memory card reader. These card readers are permanently attached to your computer. When you want to transfer your digital photographs from card to computer, you just have to take the card out of the camera and insert it into the memory card reader.

Copying files off of the card reader works exactly the same as if you had connected the camera directly to the computer.

Once you're done transferring files, just remove the card from the card reader and pop it back into your camera. Simple as that.

Convenience of Memory Card Readers

No plugging and unplugging

Every time you attach your digital camera to your computer, you have to plug it in with a USB cable. When you want to take photos again, you have to unplug the camera. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can quickly become tedious.

Don't get me wrong. If you only transfer photos from your camera to your computer once a week or once a month, then plugging the camera in will be no problem for you.

If you transfer photos every day like I do, then the memory card reader will really save you a lot of time and effort.

Compatible with different computers

You've got enough to worry about — did the photos come out all right, will I accidentally delete the best one — getting your computer to recognize your camera should not be something else.

When you plug your camera into your computer, you may have to install special software drivers either from a CD or Internet download to get the two to communicate with each other.

This is especially a problem with older computers or older digital cameras. If you have the latest and greatest computer and camera (or at least one from a year ago) then they should both recognize each other and get along fine.

Memory card readers tend to be simpler. They don't require special software to be recognized. A lot of them are designed to work right after they've been plugged in.

Card Reader Models

There are a variety of memory card readers to choose from, so make sure you get one that will read the memory cards used by your digital camera.

If you are not familiar with the different types of memory cards, you can find out more with learn the terms.

Rather than a card reader that is specific to one type of card, you can also get a reader that works with several different memory cards. You should only get a memory card reader like this if you have more than one digital camera and the cameras use different memory cards.

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