March 22, 2012

How To Delete A Folder Of Photos

We spent the last few days of a lovely winter vacation in beautiful Montreal,
where there happened to be a student demonstration right around the corner from our hotel.

While taking a couple of photos, we were reminded that my father had recently been in the same situation and had been ordered by a police officer to delete the photos he had taken. It struck us that not only was this a gross violation of his rights, but it would also be a real shame to have to delete a memory card full of vacation photos just because of one or two snaps on the last day.

We decided that we should be prepared in case it ever happened to us.

Here is how you do it (advanced users are advised to keep reading):

Find the menu item for deleting a single image.

Select the option to delete the entire folder.

The system will ask for confirmation.

Select OK and press the button to confirm.

The folder is now deleted...

...unless, of course, you simply made up five images of a fake operating system, loaded them into your camera and showed them one at a time to whichever official thinks they can trample on your rights.

Here they are, in sequence:

And here are the zipped files for you to download for your own camera. The files are 2024 x 1518 px (typical dimensions for a 3Mb image).

*edit March 27, 2012:
We realize now that the images don't have to be so large, of course. We made a new set at 640x480 (should match the VGA setting on your camera) and zipped them here.

They are named
  • DSC09995.JPG
  • DSC09996.JPG
  • DSC09997.JPG
  • DSC09998.JPG
  • DSC09999.JPG
so that they will be the last files in your folder and therefore easy to find.

"DSC" is the file naming convention for Sony and Nikon cameras. You may have to change the file names to IMG to suit your camera system.

Drag them into the on-board camera memory or onto each memory card you own, then navigate to their folder and go through them one at a time. You may need to turn off the display features (image number, EXIF data and so on) so it doesn't give the game away. We suggest practicing this a few times before attempting it in a high-pressure situation.

When you switch your camera to show the photos, you should be able to go from the last photo you took straight to the first one in the sequence (DSC09995).

If you prefer, you can change the file names to start with DSC00001.

For more information on photographers' rights:
in Canada
in the UK
in the US (PDF link)

*Edit: March 27, 2012:
An interesting issue popped up when we re-sized the images to 640x480. Photoshop added its own EXIF data to each image and this prevented the camera from reading the images.

We created the original images in Flash and output as a JPG sequence. This method gave us images with absolutely no EXIF data at all and the camera could read them right away.

If you load JPGs onto your memory stick and the camera can't read them, try opening and saving the images through a simpler editor (MS Paint, for example).

Alternatively, our research turns up these two tools specifically designed to remove EXIF data (we have not tested them):
Exif Tool

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