Losing your camera and the photos it contains can be heartbreaking. However, your camera can be safeguarded against loss with a little forethought. Here are the best tips to help your lost camera find its way home, whether from abroad or from the local amusement park.
Turn the Camera’s Memory Card into a Reward Poster
A few days before you take a trip, make a sign. On it, include your first name, email address, and your phone number. Include the country code if traveling abroad. Below this, place a reward that is more than the cost of the camera. Use a printer if your handwriting is not the best. Then, take a picture of the sign as the first item on all memory cards for your camera. Make sure the photos come out crisp and legible to everyone, including foreigners. Writing the sign in the mother tongues of the regions you’ll be visiting and photographing them as well increases your odds of recovery.
Once at you destination, take a photo of yourself or your travel partner in front of your hotel’s marquee. If the camera is lost, locals will know where you are staying. Take a photo of the hotel’s brochure, including the address and phone number. Do not ever take a photo of your room number, in case you are the victim of theft. This will lead thieves back to you, where they may attempt to steal more from you, or coerce you into paying far too much to recover the camera. An innocent finder can just drop it off at the desk or call the hotel.
Should a good citizen find your camera with the memory chip still intact, or even just the card alone, they can see exactly to whom the item belongs. They can then use the information found in the pictures you staged to get it back to you, whether at home or during your vacation.
Tag the Camera Itself
Most cameras have a blank area of plastic or metal on them somewhere. Check the narrow sides, the attached lens cap, or right next to the view-screen for a small, smooth area. Take your camera to a professional engraver and have them engrave your first name and phone number in this space. Include the country code if you travel abroad with any regularity. Most engravers will charge about ten dollars to do this. It is worth the expense. Be aware this could potentially void a warranty.
If there are no engravers in your area, you can do this yourself with a label maker. True, you may have to replace the label periodically, but it is better than doing nothing. Tiny labels can also be affixed to the memory cards themselves. Do no try this with an old-fashioned label maker that uses thick plastic strips. Use one that makes flat, thin labels for better results.
By using these tips, your lost camera could very well come back to you, complete with all the photos of your cherished memories. Think this doesn’t happen? IFoundYourCamera.net is a website full of folks who found lost cameras and are willing to return them to their rightful owners. They took them home, plugged in the memory cards, and have photographs of weddings, graduations, and of new babies in the hospital. But they have no idea who the people are. Don’t let your memories be lost forever.