I've been thinking a lot about photos recently. Maybe it's because my best friend is currently consumed with finishing her projects for the photography course she's been doing over the past year. Or maybe it's because my talented photographer father-in-law was just here with his impressive big new camera. In any case, parents tend to like taking photos of their children and so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on photo-taking and organising.
When I asked a friend of mine who recently had her second child if they'd been taking lots of photos of her, she told me that apart from the day she was born they hadn't taken any. I was shocked. This was her first daughter, (her older child is a boy) and she was around 2 months old when we were having this conversation. A cute baby girl - why wouldn't you want to take lots of photos of her? At the other end of the spectrum there's my mother-in-law who has a full record of photos of both her children, wonderfully organised so she can find a photo of them at a certain age in less then a minute. For many of us, somewhere in-between these two might be most realistic. After all, I recognise not everyone enjoys or has the interest in taking lots of photos.
Later down the line, it's great to have photos to look back on. There are the memories, the comparisons with younger generations and the record of another time that's interesting to see at a later period. With digital cameras and camera phones, it's easier than ever to snap away. One thing I love about my iPhone is that I can take a quick photo of my son anywhere and email it straight to the grandparents.
Here are 7 suggestions on taking, sharing and organising photos:
If you don't often take photos of your child, aim for at least a couple of photos of them once a month. That's a very manageable amount of photo-taking and means you have a regular record of them as they grow up.
Don't feel constrained by a posed photo with them smiling. It can be a struggle to get them to look at the camera and smile at the right moment. Some of the best photos can be of them engrossed in a fun activity or looking/playing/talking with others.
Get up close or zoom in. Children can be so wonderfully expressive that it's good to fill the frame with their face or top part of their body so you can really see them well, as opposed to a shot of them off in the distance.
Set up a blog or Flickr account to share your photos. Send the link to your family and friends so they can bookmark the page and keep updated with how your little one is growing up and changing. It's such a nice way for those far away to keep up-to-date if they don't see you very often. You don't have to be especially tech savvy, sites like Blogger and Flickr are very user-friendly, free and straightforward to maintain.
File your photos on your computer in folders by year and by month. That way, it's easy to locate a particular image from a particular time or event.
If you plan to have hard copies of your photos in an album, do it regularly so it does not become an overwhelming job. Each month print out the selected photos and put them in an album with any accompanying text or dates as you see fit. It's a lot harder to do the same job with a backlog of a year of photos.
Consider photobooks as an alternative to printing photos for albums. Most photo printing sites make them very easy to create with ready-made templates, colour/size/paper options so you simply upload your images and drag the photos onto the page where you want them to appear. They also make a lovely gift for family.
Do you have other suggestions to add to my list? What are your photo-taking habits? Do you print them out? Is it something you feel you'd like to dedicate more time to? How do you share photos with relatives?