How to Recover Lost Photos

…from a Nikon Coolpix P900 SD card (Guest article by Rajni)

Recover Lost Photos - Rajni

I took around a thousand photos yesterday with my Nikon Coolpix p900.

I swapped out the SD card from camera to copy the photos from SD card to my Windows computer and I then selected the whole DCIM folder and copied it my D:\ Drive.

When I opened the copied folder there are only 200 photos…the rest of the photos are missing!

What is the reason for this? Has this happened to you?

  • Maybe I clicked the photos too quickly so that the camera didn't save some of the selected photos
  • Perhaps the memory card storage was full so that the selected photos couldn't be stored
  • The SD card may have a virus infection or the windows system to which I copied the photos is infected

Whilst exploring the possible reasons for the issue, I found a useful resource. There can be various reasons for data loss from a camera or memory card so we should always be cautious about any action performed with the SD card that may lead to data loss.

We can avoid data loss from digital cameras and some preventive measures are given here:

Well! Now I am searching for the best photo recovery solution to get back my lost photos

Data recovery software

I have found a few free, and a few paid, commercial photo recovery tools. I have tried Photo Rec and Recuva which were able to recover 60% and 40% of my lost photos respectively.

Recover Lost Photos

This is how PhotoRec worked to recover the photos from SD card:

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    Download PhotoRec
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    From the ZIP file, extract the photorec_os (OS can be Windows, OS X, and Linux)
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    Swap out the card from camera and insert it to the Windows system
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    Start PhotoRec command line
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    It will show you the list of all attached devices. Select your SD card form the list
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    From the bottom, select the "File Opt" menu
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    Now you can make your selection of the file type you want to recover. Select the file format of the images to be recovered (e.g. JPG, JPEG, RAW, TIFF, GIF etc.) and select search
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    Now, select the type of storage media you are using. In my case, it is an SD card so I chose the option 'other'.
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    Choose the space to be scanned i.e. either 'free' or 'whole'
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    Select 'free' if recovering deleted images or choose 'whole' if recovering from a corrupt SD card
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    Now choose a location to save the recovered data
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    After recovery process is done, the recovered files will be saved at the location chosen by you.
Recover Lost Photos

In my case PhotoRec was able to recover only 60% of lost images. I cannot expect to lose rest of the "unrecovered" photos.

Data recovery software alternatives

I searched for better alternatives to get back those precious memories. My search ended at Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery (Windows).

The tool let me recover almost 90% of the missing photos, the results are far much better than the software which I have tried in past.

Besides the specified images, the tool also recovered some of the previously deleted images with different file formats (DJVU, TGA, TGA, PGM, and PBM) and HD-MOV videos.

It's an easy-to-use photo recovery solution for all sorts of photo loss from hard drives, memory cards and digital cameras...or any other external storage media.

If you ever find yourself dealing with a similar "photo loss trauma", you should definitely try out these data recovery software titles!

Author Bio: Rajni is a passionate blogger and loves to explore anything about technology, from gadgets to the geekiest of tips. She loves outing in her spare time.

About the author


Professional photographer and videographer for more than 30 years and all round photography, video and gadget geek. Shooting ground and aerial wedding, stock and commercial photography (and video) in the UK and Europe. Please note: As an Amazon Associate and affiliate for other companies, I earn from qualifying purchases from some links used in this website. You don't pay any more but the commissions earned means I can keep adding to the website and offer free training etc. I.e. they pay my costs. Thank you.