Why Is My Trail Camera Not Taking Pictures?


Your trail camera can not take a picture, but you do not know how to fix it? The decision to buy a new one is wasting your time and money!

Honestly, there are many reasons to answer the question, “Why is my trail camera not taking pictures?”. 

You should check the outside of the camera, then check the internal structure. The most common problem is because of the SD card. But after you checked the SD camera and it still does not work, there is a list of faults that we will offer you below. 

Follow our article to find more useful information.

Why Is My Trail Camera Not Taking Pictures?

Incorrect SD card

The SD card may vary in storage capacities. Manufacturers continually improve them from the first time it appeared up to now. The maximum SD card at present is two terabytes. But, it is a truth that not all SD cards are compatible with many types of cameras in the market. So, choosing the right SD card is the prerequisite for saving the data effectively.


FAT16 is an SD card format with a capacity of fewer than 2GB. With the SDHC ( High Capacity) cards with capacities from 4GB to 32GB, FAT32 format is installed. 

Because of the development of technology and users’ needs, the extended capacity SD card was produced. Those that have a memory from 64GB to 2 Terabytes are using the exFAT, which is also known as SDXC (Extended Capacity). 

So, many types of cards affected the ability of camera taking in which way? The modern format or SDXC can not be compatible with the format SDHC because the SDXC uses a different file system. Similarly, SDHC is not backward compatible with SD. So, check the format of your game camera and the logo of the cards to choose the best suited SD card for your trail camera. If your one is not compatible with your camera, you can easily find one in the market. The price is also more affordable than in the past.

SD Card is full

Today, 32GB is the common capacity of the trail camera. It is quite large, but if you are on a long day trip or in a location that has many actions, you may take lots of high-resolution photos for the best quality. As a result, your data can fill up faster.

Some remote cameras have the ability to delete the oldest pictures and take that room for new ones. Nevertheless, not all cameras are available with this feature. Once the memory is full, it can not save any new images or videos when the card gains the limit. In that case, remember to handle old pictures to create available space before taking pictures for smooth works.

We have to say that not all game cameras have a maximum of 32GB, so you have to check the manufacturer’s instructions to find out the capacity of your camera. In the case that your camera is often full of data, you can try decreasing the quality of the pictures. 

SD Card not Formatted

Before using a trail camera, you should set up your trail camera format. It is also true for other types of cameras. The format is very helpful for your work because its function clarifies other irrelevant data or old data from your system. 

It will reset and install a new format for your camera. Furthermore, this is the most efficient way to gain space for new data. 

One notable feature is that you do not have to format the card many times if it does not have any faults. In the worst case, change your faulted SD cards for an efficient device as the price in the market is quite affordable.

It is all about which operating system you are using. If you are a Mac user, install it right on your Mac. Similarly, a PC user should use a PC to format SD cards. 

Formating on your computer is a simple way if you do not know how to install it directly on your camera. All steps you have done are inserting the card to your PC, open the explorer file, find and click on the SD card icon, then you can format it.



Batteries are Dead

Another common possibility that makes your trail camera not work is the batteries. Searching on the forum and users comments, we bet that you will see many people having trouble with the batteries. 

The game camera is compatible with a certain amount of voltage. When the voltage decreases to the minimum level, your camera performance will be affected, and then it will no longer work. 

Furthermore, not all types of batteries can withstand extreme temperatures. It is a pity to check and see a dead camera. You will have no images and videos at the time you want. But, there are a few tricks that you can perform to improve the battery problem.

After a long time using trail cameras, the batteries need to be replaced. It is a good idea to use lithium batteries instead of alkaline batteries. The reason is that lithium batteries last a longer life than alkaline ones. Make sure that the battery bay remains intact without corrosion from the previous battery.

Camera settings

When you buy a new trail camera, it is on a basic setting that manufacturers installed. So, if your pictures and videos are not of good quality or even not useful, check the settings. 

Honestly, the menu settings on many trail cameras are quite confused and difficult to use at first. Users have to thoroughly understand which modes they want to install and how to install them. 

There are several modes available that make your camera not able to take photos. Besides, you need to set up the capture mode, the number of photo bursts, the wait time, date, and time.


Triggering Issues

The triggering mechanism may be a possible problem when considering the damages to the camera. That seems serious, and you might have to send your trail camera to the manufacturer for the guarantee and change. 

Before that, let’s check whether the temperature or moisture can affect it or not because those agents can cause negative effects on the ability to detect motions.

Manufacturers apply infrared and motion to trigger the trail camera. The sensor is active by detecting the difference between the body heat and the environment surrounding it. 

In cold weather, the temperature difference is bigger, then the sensor ability is more effective, and vice versa.

Too Much Glare

If all of the reasons mentioned above are not the problems, there maybe because of nonconformity that makes your pictures and videos useless. 

Think about this, and you put the trail camera outside, so too much glare from the sun can decrease the camera’s detection sensor. In the long term, both the heat and the glare from sunlight can make your photos of poor quality or even miss taking photos at some moment.


To improve that problem, we have some suggestions for you. Sometimes, you should check the area where you put your trail camera, whether it is too glare or not. All you need to do is look for a shaded place with many trees and put your camera around a tree trunk or between the foliage. Secondly, remember not to set the main shot of the camera back to the direction of the sun’s face, special is the east and west. The cardinal direction of the camera should be in the north or south, 

Avoid placing the camera facing upwards as this will be prone to sun exposure. 

Camera Improperly Positioned

The first thing you have to remember is that placing a trail camera at a high distance from the ground can avoid theft and certain damages, but putting a camera too high or too low may not bring you good quality pictures. 

The tree where you hang your trail camera is also a problem. If the tree’s location is slightly higher than the area you choose, you should place your camera lower, and it is true for the opposite. 

In the case that you have an intention to put it in height more than 10 feet from the ground, adjust the camera’s tilt angle to match the direction you want to capture and record. 

Another issue is the confirmation and instructions on the user’s manual. It can make you confident about the detection distance of the trail camera. But in real life, do not place the camera too far from the areas you want to take pictures for safety. From the detection zone on the instruction of the camera, you should decrease 10 to 20 feet. 

False Detection

Your camera does not give you the animals and animations you want? Check the position around the camera. Make sure that your place you set your camera is permanent. It means that neither wind that can shake the position where you place the camera nor any loose trees and leaves that block the camera view can affect the process.

If not because of that, looking for other problems at far distances. Find out whether the direction that has animations like the sunset, sunrise, or there is a small alley that has people go across or not. It seems unreasonable, but all of them can be the reasons for false detection.


In A Nutshell

As you can see, there are many reasons to answer the question “ Why Is My Trail Camera Not Taking Pictures?”. SD cards may be the most common problem that users have to face when using a trail camera. If you do not find any faults with SD cards, do not hurry to bring them to the manufacturer. 

After suggesting more problems for you in the above answer, we want to emphasize that finding and fixing one technology device is very useful. It will not take too much of your time or money for a guarantee. 

We hope that, after our article, you will gain more knowledge and have the best picture without any barriers. Thanks for your time!