A simple fact about having a baby — as most of your childless friends will probably tell you — is that you take an unprecedented amount of photos. Since the invention of the digital camera, probably more photos have been taken of babies than any other subject. Depending on your level of obsession, you might take hundreds or thousands of baby photos in the first year.
Importantly, and I’m sorry to have to tell you this, a lot of them will be crappy. The odds of capturing your baby’s adorable smile or first steps or sleeping face in a good photo are usually 1 in 10 at best. But that’s no problem, because digital photos are essentially free so you can just keep snapping until you get all of the ones you need. That’s what they did at the photo studio where you probably dropped some serious dough.
And if you read our article on baby photo shoot ideas, you probably got some adorable ones. But once you’ve inundated Facebook and the e-mails of everyone you know with photos, once the refrigerator and walls are covered in your favorites, what the heck do you do with all of the rest? In this article, we cover some helpful and creative ways to deal with baby photo overload.
1. Three Words: Baby Photo Calendar
You might love kittens, or The Far Side, but nothing beats a calendar featuring your own cute baby. On Snapfish, you can design and order custom desk or wall calendars with lots of different backgrounds, color photos, and my favorite feature: custom date marking (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).
They’re very fun to design and make good Christmas gifts, too. If you really want to impress, use a baby photo taken each month in next year’s calendar.
2. Organize Your Photos
Simply managing thousands of different image files can be a difficult task. Ideally, you’d like to tag and rename and sort every single baby photo, but let’s be honest: you have way too many photos and far too little time. Realistically, your best shot is to organize photos by putting them into a bunch of folders, centered around events or periods of time.
If you do this whenever you download the photos to your computer, then you can sort the folders by creation date and thus have a decent organization system.
3. Give Framed Photos as Gifts
At some point you’ll run out of room in your own home and workplace to keep those adorable baby photos. Now it’s time to inundate the empty spaces of others. A cute baby photo in a decent frame makes a nice little gift, especially for grandparents and godparents. If you have a photo featuring both your baby along with those godparents/grandparents, it’s sure to be well-received.
4. Print a Photo Book
One way to capture special events — like your baby’s homecoming, or first Halloween, or special play dates with friends/cousins — is to print a little photo book. This is my absolute favorite thing to do with baby photos, because photo books:
- Are easy to make. It takes about five minutes to design a photo book on Snapfish, with adorable layouts and captions and everything.
- Use many photos. A dozen or more of your favorite photos become immortalized together, in one place.
- Are inexpensive. You can print a 5×7″ photo book for about $12, and they occasionally go on sale. Not a bad deal for the number of photos one book contains.
- Store easily. No wall space or refrigerator frontage is required; you can literally store them on a bookshelf, which is what we do.
5. Back Up Photo Files
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about owning various laptops and hard drives over the years, it’s that they are unreliable. Hard drives crash. Memory cards are damaged or lost. Laptops are stolen. A relative of mine had years of photos on his smart phone, but never backed them up, so when he left the phone in a cab, he lost everything.
You need to back those photos up, somewhere safe, and on a regular basis. So what are your options?
- Dropbox offers secure online file backup and sharing. The bonus here is that you can backup from one device (i.e. your computer) and access or share the files with another. Free accounts start at 2 GB, which is something like 1,000 photos.
- If you need more backup space (i.e. for photos and videos), a backup hard drive, like Western Digital’s My Passport, is the way to go. You connect them to your computer by USB and it will backup whatever you want on a regular basis. Then just keep the drive somewhere safe.
- With an AmazonBasics DVD burner you can backup your photos and videos to DVD. You can buy a pack of DVD-R discs for about $6, and each one holds about 4.7 GB (2500 photos) or 120 minutes of video. This is a nice option because you can store the DVDs in a safe or filing cabinet for safekeeping.
Don’t rely on social media sites — such as Facebook and Flickr — or e-mail as a backup method for your photos. They usually shrink the images for display on the web, which means the quality isn’t enough to print. Also, they (and not you) are the owner of content that you upload, so if the company goes bankrupt or changes its policies, you could be hosed.
6. Mugs and Mouse Pads
Some might find this cheesy, but I love taking favorite photos and turning them into every day objects, like mugs and mousepads (and even T-shirts). For an unusual take on the photo mug, take a look at Snapfish’s commuter mug, which is a 13-ounce, stainless steel, spillproof travel mug for hot or cold beverages. If you’re a coffee drinker, which you probably are since you have a baby, you can never have enough of these.
The best part is that you have less chances of losing it, since your average kleptomaniac will be unlikely to take a mug with someone else’s baby photos on it.
7. Screen Savers and Desktop Backgrounds
Another little way to put your baby’s cherub face all around you is the screen saver. Electronic screens are everywhere these days, and most of them — laptops, televisions, smartphones, iPads — can have a custom screensaver. I use my laptop for presentations at work, and hey, if my co-workers spend a few seconds looking at my cute kids, I figure it brightens their day.
8. Baby Photos as Art
I saved one of my favorite baby photo ideas for last: turning your favorite shots into actual art. On Snapfish you can upload a photo that will be printed onto a wrapped artistic canvas so that it almost looks like a painting. They come in a variety of sizes and are ready to hang on the wall.
It does take wall or shelf space, but the printed canvas is a clever and unique way to show off your favorite photos. They’re good for taking to work, too, or giving to grandparents.
That’s it for our 8 things to do with baby photos. Have another clever idea that we forgot? Please leave a comment below!