There are maybe ten photos of me as a small child (I was the fourth child, it was the 80s, yadda yadda yadda). I take at least 10 photos of my daughter at lunchtime. What’s a modern parent to do with all those pictures that currently live on our phones? Here are some ideas on how to keep photo taking and sharing both manageable and enjoyable for all you photo-happy parents out there (many of which are applicable to non-parent photo-takers too!).
1. Organize simply and delete regularly
I’ve put together many a detailed and complex organization system only to never use it (hello bathroom cabinets!). Only do what you can handle. For me, this means favoriting the best photos on my phone and that’s about it. It’s also helpful to go back and delete photos when you find yourself with time to kill. For every adorable smile, there are about twenty blurry photos that you do not want or need, despite any memory hoarding tendencies you may have. Next time you’re in line at the post office, waiting for the microwave, or even breastfeeding, take a couple minutes to select and delete all those fuzzy images. It’ll make scrolling back in time so much easier and more pleasant.
2. Share efficiently with loved ones
It’s a lot of work to share photos with enthusiastic family and friends, particularly if you want to spare the entire Facebook universe from a constant photo barrage. Make it easy by putting together a few shared photo albums. For iphones, the option is built right in via iCloud Photo Sharing and it takes roughly 30 seconds to set up. We recommend creating one album for close family members who want as many pictures as you’ll give them and one for friends who appreciate the occasional photo but don’t want their memory space dominated by your little one.
3. Make and enjoy some hard copies of photos
While chances are high that we will be giving our children web addresses (or some hologram pass code) to access their photos in the future, nothing beats having actual photos on your shelves. If you have a printer at home or work, we recommend getting some photo paper—the quality is so much better than just a few years ago and it’s really nice to have it on hand for gifts too. We also love Chatbooks—available on the web or as an app, it’s incredibly easy to create $8 photo books straight from your Instagram feed. They also have some great templates for special occasions like Father’s Day—we can’t think of a more perfect gift.
4. Consider video memories
We gotta be honest—we’re pretty obsessed with One Second Everyday. The app organizes all your photos and videos by date and you simply select one second from each day or week to compile into one video. In a few minutes, you can see the big milestones, the small smiles, and all the growth that takes place. We recommend using video when possible and selecting one per week rather than one per day to see your child’s first year in less than a minute.
5. Get in front of the camera and then put it away.
There is literally not one photo of my mom and me from my childhood. That trend continues even in the Instagram age. Ask your parents, partner, whoever to take a picture of you and your little one. You and your child will be so happy you did. Once you've done that, try leaving the camera behind for a while. It’s so tempting to follow your child around with your phone, trying to capture every cute look and new phrase (so guilty of this), so we all need to remind ourselves to put the phones down. Frequently. She will roll over again, he will smile and laugh so many times, and no one will know whether that video of it is from the first or the third time. Resist the urge to watch these milestones through the lens and just enjoy them with your child while making eye contact.
Yes, there are fewer photos of second and third children because parents get very busy. But maybe it’s also because they learn these moments are so fleeting that it’s most important to enjoy them when you’re in them.