“Why Is My Trail Camera Not Taking Pictures?” – 5 Common Reasons

Regular Trail Camera Troubleshooting

One morning, my father called: “Hey Ken, why is my trail camera not taking pictures any longer? Days ago it still worked properly.” Well, I did run into such the case before so I just guide him through several steps to check the issue out. That time, it was due to the SD card problem.

Unfortunately, the trail camera is suddenly not shooting pictures or even not working is frequent and can be resulted from whatever reasons.

Why Is My Trail Camera Not Taking Pictures Properly?

Here below I pinpoint 5 most common troubleshooting and how to fix quickly.

Battery Issues

why is my trail camera not taking pictures?
Run-out batteries cause your trail camera not taking pictures

When you detect a malfunction such as a trail camera not taking pictures of deer, the very first to check is the battery: whether its power is completely eaten up. Most cameras will automatically turn out in the event of low energy.

Some argue they already charge the battery with 100%, so it is impossible that it run out for just a few days. Actually, several reasons are causing the battery life of your trail cameras being inferior:

  • Using rechargeable batteries: As convenient as it might be, rechargeable batteries are a terrible idea for the trail camera. Those batteries often have a lower voltage. Also, how to charge the battery is just as critical. Cheap chargers usually overcharge the battery and ruin its durability. Hence, you had better use the lithium or alkaline battery. If using the rechargeable one, please check its capacity carefully to ensure it is compatible with the camera. And, remember to purchase a smart and official charger.
  • Purchasing cheap and unofficial batteries or chargers: It is a misunderstanding that all trail camera batteries are the same. Do not save money on the cheap since they will not work properly in cold weather and often cause the battery to die soon. Make sure that you use branded batteries, or at least, the type recommended by the manufacturers. Besides, all batteries must have the same type and brand to avoid acid leaking.
  • Setting too many modes: Sometimes, it is not the battery quality itself but your configurations in advance. You should set up the trail camera wisely to ensure that the camera only captures wanted photos and videos.

False Trigger Settings

Another reason for the question “why is my trail camera not taking pictures properly?” is the possibly false triggers. Some think the faster the trigger time is, the better trail cameras become. It is not always the truth. Too sensitive PIR sensors capture hundreds of blank pictures without specific subjects since they mistake motions and heat in front of the camera lens. As a result, your SD card is filled up, and the battery is eaten up quickly. When you come back to check the result, not only do you get trash photos but the trail camera is not taking pictures as well.

Then, I am pleased to shed lights on 3 tips to prevent false triggers hereafter:

  • Avoid the direct sunlight and keep the camera away from branches
  • Choose a sturdy tree to mount the camera
  • Adjust PIR settings and turn down the sensitivity of trail camera

SD Card Issues

If you have replaced batteries and checked the triggers but the trail camera not taking pictures continues, then check the SD card. Take the follows into account:

Reasons for my trail camera not taking pictures
Right SD card keeps trail camera from not taking photos
  • Full SD memory card: Sometimes the camera shoot more photos or videos than your expectation, then the SD card is full and does not save picture captured anymore. In this case, you are in luck since all to do is free up the memory by deleting unwanted photos/videos or reformatting the card.
  • Wrong SD card: If you use a cheap SD card, it might suddenly stop working at any time. On the other hand, using too high-speed or top-end cards might also cost battery life and cause the trail camera not taking pictures. That time, purchasing the SD card suggested by the manufacturer is the best choice.
  • Defective SD card installation: One thing I do not like about some newly-launched game cameras is they support Micro SD card. It makes me hard to handle and sometimes put the SD in the wrong position. Hence, ensure that the memory card is installed in the right place, so all functions work correctly, including taking pictures. Do not forget to reformat the card before you re-install it in the camera.

Environmental Sensitivity

Believe it or not, where to place the trail camera affects how it works. If you hang the camera due east or west, it might not take pictures. In a too hot or too cold day, you might get nothing as well.


It is a must to know – Trail camera operates off the heat, motions, and trigger capacity. The direct rising or setting sunlights ruin the lens’ detection ability, meaning the camera impossible capture the motion nearby and fail to take pictures. Also, on the cold day when the temperature differs between the object and air around. That time, the camera will pick up things farther away. On the other side, the detection range is shorter on the hot weather.

Here come solutions:

  • Face your trail camera either South or North whenever possible.
  • Hang the camera at cool, dry, and open areas
  • Choose a waterproof and dustproof camera to protect the vision of the game camera

Detection Problems

The worst reason results in the trail camera not taking pictures of deer is the detection errors. A triggering event happens once the sensors detect a change caused by motion or heat. Accordingly, if the camera can not catch anything, it will not shoot a photo. Take an example: a deer is passing by right in front of the camera’s capturing range from times to times. However, your game camera just occasionally takes pictures or even misses every time. Then the detection feature might be defective.

why is my trail camera taking photos?
The trail camera is not taking photos as it detects nothing

That time, try resetting your trail camera, as well as customizing the motion settings. If it still does not work, take it to a professional and have it fixed for you.

To Wrap It Up

Do not worry too much in case of the trail camera not taking pictures of deer or other else, check every part I mentioned above and you might fix it yourselves. Have you ever got into such the situation, but for other reasons not mentioned here? If yes, feel free to share it down below – in the comment section.

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