Lens covers are the small, plastic flaps that extend over your digital camera's lens when the camera is powered off. These flaps protect your lens glass from dust and scratches while your camera is not in use. However, these are also very delicate components and can become stuck open or closed if a bit of dirt gets stuck in the mechanism. While severe problems should be taken care of by the camera's manufacturer or a camera repair shop, there are a few techniques you should try first to unstick the lens cover.
Remove the battery from the camera and wait a few minutes before returning the battery and powering the camera on. Sometimes an electrical problem in a digital camera can be resolved by removing the power source for a short time. If this doesn't work, there may be something physically blocking the lens cover blades.
Extend the lens, if possible, by powering your camera on, and tap the lens and camera body lightly with the eraser end of a pencil. Repeatedly turn the camera on and off to extend and retract the lens while tapping it. This will dislodge any large particles that may be jamming the camera's mechanism.
Slide a sheet of paper between the lens cover blades and the lens itself. Move the paper around the entire perimeter of the lens cover to catch and remove any smaller particles that may remain.
Blow compressed air into the crevices around the lens cover. If the cover is stuck closed, carefully open the cover with your fingers if possible and blow air between the cover's blades. This may blast out any particles that are jamming the lens cover.
Examine the lens for any gaps between the lens and the camera's body. The spacing between the lens and the body should be perfectly uniform. If the lens is not flush with the camera's body, gently push the lens back into alignment. The lens may sometimes be dislocated when the camera is dropped or bumped.
If your camera is still under warranty, return it to the manufacturer for repair. Even if the problem is simple, a skilled technician will be able to better repair your camera without damaging it. Additionally, any damage you cause while attempting to fix your camera yourself may void your warranty.