I need to photograph some sensitive items, I want to see the picture on camera to check it was a good photo and then secure it somehow so it cannot be viewed again in the camera or other means unless we use a password or other secure manner.

I will purchase camera/software to achieve this as I do not have the equipment yet.

  • 4
    Take the card out and store it in a safe location (shirt pocket,...) or encrypt it afterwards with a computer program. – Ria Jul 27 '12 at 9:43
  • 1
    You might want to search for "forensic photography software" or similar phrases on line. Police and prosecutors would be the main users of this kind of functionality. – Håkon K. Olafsen Jul 27 '12 at 11:43
  1. Take the memory card out of the camera immediately and store it in a secure location, your wallet is a good option in most cases but locked boxes and armed guards are also a pretty common solution (I used to transport top secret military thingies when I was younger).

    If the information is sensitive enough than take the memory card any time the camera is not in your hand (leave it on a table for a minute - take out the memory card, the camera is on a tripod and you go to the other side of the room to setup the lights - take out the memory card, you get the idea)

  2. If your camera has internal memory (common in point and shoot, practically non-existent in DSLRs and high-end cameras) double check before starting you are recording directly to the memory card and not internal memory.

  3. Because the way memory cards work it's possible to recover information from a memory card after it's deleted, formatted and even after new data is written to the card, physically destroy the card after the job is done (the same goes for the camera's internal memory, that's why point 2 above is important).

  4. If you go into all this trouble you should also think about your computer and backup (no point in securing the memory card with armed guards just to upload the pictures into your unsecured home computer - or to have the picture on an unencrypted backup disk just lying around somewhere)

  • 1
    Removing the storage device is the only way to do this. To paraphrase an old saw from the information security business, if someone gains physical access to your camera, it's no longer your camera. – Blrfl Jul 27 '12 at 20:44
  • +1 -- I do not miss Top Secret at all. – user2719 Jul 27 '12 at 22:23

The Sony DSC-G3 Cybershot camera had a password protect feature on it. Although it is no longer available you might be able to find one on eBay or other second hand place? Password protecting images whilst in-camera doesn't seem to be a very common feature...


This would be easiest to do by

  • using some kind of Linux-based device (e.g., a rooted smartphone)

and writing a script that:

  • retrieves image from device camera to a file, with whatever tool necessary

  • creates an encrypted copy (e.g., with gpg) of the file on permanent storage. It is important that only the public key (which can encrypt), not also the private key (which can decrypt), is on the device.

  • calls an image viewer on the original file one time

  • uses a secure deletion tool like shred, with the right options, on the non encrypted original file as soon as the image viewer is finished


Magic Lantern has a plugin that encrypts photos as you take them, and unencrypted data never touches the SD card. https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=10279.0

You will need to use a camera compatible with the plugin (a number of Canon DSLRs, listed in the link.) But that should give you exactly what you're looking for, I think.

  • Please note that this plugin is not secure. It's enough to keep your friends out, and maybe a cop or two if they don't try too hard. If the cops really want to see your pictures, they'll have an expert decrypt them and send you the bill (5 to 6 $ digits I would guess, maybe 4 if they have an intern who gets lucky quickly). – Nobody Sep 15 '19 at 15:03

Most Nikon camera's let you hide pictures. There is no password, but it won't show if someone scrolls through the pictures.

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