Articles, advice and tips for fathers - Reluctant Dad

Tips for taking baby pictures and photography

Here are some points to help you photograph and archive all those precious moments.

Get in the habit of:

  • Not deleting any photos (there’s really no need unless you’re away from home, you’ve run out of room on your memory card, and your kid has suddenly built a perpetual motion machine while a spaceship is landing in the background. You should probably get a photo of that. If you do, please email it to me). If you keep all the photos you take, once you get back to a computer and look at the photos you might find something interesting that you would have deleted otherwise.
  • Get a big memory card. The bigger the better. Aim for around 256mb for a 2-3 megapixel camera or 512mb for anything bigger.
  • Taking a bunch of photos at a time. There’s no extra cost and you’ll really like the slice of life effects you can get. You might also get a great shot that you didn’t plan on. I’ve taken 15 or 20 shots of my toddler eating an apple. They all turned out great, with him making a mess and grinning all the time. Priceless, as they say. Couldn’t have afforded to do that with film.
  • Back up like crazy. Once my memory card is full I immediately copy the photos to both my main desktop computer and onto my laptop computer (an external USB or Firewire hard drive is also a good option that is easy to set up). Always store them on two separate kinds of media. When I get the time I also burn them to CDs (two different copies on two different brands of CD) and mail them to my family and the in-laws (I’m well behind on that). I figure some copies would have to survive that way, no matter how inept I am. Blank CDs are pretty cheap (though try to stick to quality name brand discs), much cheaper than developing two sets of film negatives. I also keep a copy on DVD+R discs at work, just in case.
  • Not using the red eye reduction feature. I find that it is an annoying delay that can make you miss the shot (kids are rarely motionless). A lot of the photo printers, like the HP Photosmart 375, have built in red eye reduction that works well. Most modern digital imaging software applications include a red eye reduction feature. My laptop came with Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition installed and that includes red eye reduction. It’s also a free download from That being said, I do sometimes use the red eye reduction on the camera as it can catch the kids attentions and make them turn to look towards the flash before the picture is taken for a nice portrait shot. But for candid shots I never use it.

Take photos all the time. Try to take a photo everyday. You’ll really be glad you did when the kids are out of the house and you have time to reflect on all that priceless media. Even now I sometimes look back on the photos and video clips with surprising fondness and, despite all my reluctance, wish I was able to go back to that moment again. Sometimes.

I’ve heard it said that people don’t like to look at the photos on the computer. That they’re used to having the printed film photos in an album. I expect the whole concept of viewing photos is changing, especially with the introduction of camera phones. Plus it’s become simple to print your own with photo printers like the ones from HP or Canon. I have a HP Photosmart 375 printer and it’s the greatest thing. I’ve printed my own passport photos with that thing. The prints on good quality paper last as long as developed film prints. And every photo developing shop now offers digital photo printing if you don’t want to buy a printer yourself.

IrfanView is a marvelous free photo viewer that I’ve used for years. It’s probably my favorite freeware program of all time. It can quickly open many, many types of image files, and allow you to resize them for easier emailing. It will also play most video files, including Quicktime “MOV” files although the separate free plugin is required for that. Available at it’s a must have for anyone with a digital camera.

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