Parents today face some pretty tough expectations when it comes to providing all possible comforts for their baby (heated butt wipes, I'm looking at you). Today's babies are also growing up as part of most photographed generation.. but parents are consistently making these 5 mistakes with baby's photographs which will leave their babies with no record of their childhood at all.
1. Using Facebook and Instagram as primary photo storage.
When you upload to Facebook or Instagram, your image gets compressed (and often altered with a filter), meaning the quality goes down, even if you're uploading at full size. If you're using those sites as the main place to keep and access your images and not worrying about keeping your photos safe otherwise, you are already losing out. A better option is to use a proper online backup, or better yet, have a proper system in place as described in Mistake #4.
2. Not printing the best photos.
If you're like most parents, you probably don't have a regular scheduled process for printing the photographs that are on your phone and computer. You may have aspirations of creating a printed album or a family yearbook, which somehow never actually happens because (surprise) it's an insane amount of work. But keeping all your images in their original digital form almost guarantees that the photographs won't be around in 10 or 20 years (because all digital media fails at one point or another and media formats change). You don't need tons of printed photos, but setting aside a few hours each year to order a few high-quality prints (I recommend Artifact Uprising) is one of the most important things you can do to preserve your baby's childhood memories.
3. Not being in the photographs.
You're the parents. When your baby grows up, she will want to know what YOU looked like when she was little! This requires more work than just photographing the baby, but it's one of those things that you can't go back in time to do after the fact. Most parents worry about looking good in these photos and often avoid being photographed because they're tired or aren't 100% camera ready. This is one of those instances where it might be a good idea to hire a professional photographer (one who is well-trained in making parents look good!), but you can also hand your camera to a family member or your spouse and insist on a photo with your child. The key is to actively insist on being in those photos. Eventually, you will get one you will love, and your baby will thank you for it later, I promise!
4. Not having at least two digital backups.
As mentioned in Mistake #2, digital media will fail. It's not IF, it's WHEN. Computer hard drives (4 years), external hard drives (5-6 years), USB keys (1-10 years), and cloud storage (who knows!) can lose your photos at any moment.. which is why I ask my clients to always keep their "digital negatives" in at least two places. When you consider how often formats change (new MacBooks don't even have USB drives anymore), it becomes clear that you need to keep a copy online as well. Choose a backup service that will be hopefully around in the future (Amazon.com, Apple, or Google) and that won't compress or alter your images when you upload them.
5. Not doing anything with the images.
Studies have shown that when kids see themselves in photographs in their home, they grow up with more confidence and better self esteem. Step one is getting prints of your digital photographs, but the next very important step is actually doing something with them! There are tons of options for printing and framing on the internet that make it super easy for every budget.. all it takes is some time. I see the effect the photographs around my home have on my own children - they will point them out on a daily basis and I enjoy seeing them, too. Nobody sees the photos on my phone or computer screen, they see them when they're on display, beautifully printed, framed, and easy to admire hanging on a wall.