Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I see you all the time in Polaroid...

I have a small confession.  I really sucked at filling out The Incredible Hulk's baby book.  I mean, I have a lot of the important stuff written down - first foods, first steps, first words - but, trust me when I say every little box isn't filled out in the way I thought it would be when I purchased it.

For me, the beginning was so overwhelming and busy, I had no time or energy to painstakingly fill out every moment in a baby book.  I did, however, have time to take pictures.  Lots of them.  And eventually I was able to organize those into four books which chronicled the first year of TIH's life.  In fact, I continued doing so and have since made a photo book for every year.  These are TIH's baby books.  These are what I will go to when I'm feeling nostalgic.  (Who am I kidding, I do it already.)


Though this entire blog is devoted to giving lots of varying advice to New Moms, I think this particular piece of advice is super important.  Make photo books for your babies.  Today I'm sharing my methods for doing so in TIH's first year, as well as giving you a SUPER simple (and affordable) way of doing so, but do what makes it easy on you.  That's the point, getting yourself organized enough that when you do feel like sitting down and making an album that you can do so quickly and easily (so that you can spend your time with that adorable little creature you're so heavily documenting!)  So here it is:

1.  First and foremost - you must take pictures.  And LOTS of them.  If you don't have some sort of photography apparatus before your child is born, try to make friends with a rich person who will buy you one scout out a good deal.  I definitely would suggest digital (do they even make cameras that have film anymore?) because you're going to need to take 300 pictures to get the one shot you want.  Babies are wiggly.  At the very least, get a phone that has a good camera on it.  We have a decent digital camera and 95% of my photos of TIH were taken with my iPhone.

2.  Whether you're printing a bunch of photos or making full photo books - do it in chunks.  Whether you do it every month or every few months, you'll be happy that you're not trying to decide between photo #689 and photo #1258 of your baby in the bathtub.  What I mean is that if you wait too long, you'll have to print all 8000 pictures you took over the span of several months and you won't necessarily remember what was going on or why you felt it necessary to take so many pictures in the bathtub.  Keep it simpler by breaking it up a bit.  If the plan is to make a photo book, working as you go will make the process all the easier. (For example, as soon as you upload the pictures from family vacation, immediately start dragging and dropping them into a photo book.)

3.  Have a system for organizing your photos.  I use Apple's iPhoto because its easy, organized, but mostly because it was free software that already came loaded on my computer.  My filing system is done by month and I label the folders with idiot proof names (i.e., "October 2013," "Christmas 2010").  That way, when I'm ready to print my photos or if I'm looking for something in particular, I know exactly where I can find it.  Putting your photographs on Facebook (with similarly easy album names) can be helpful as well as many photo printing/sharing sites allow you to connect with your Facebook page.  This means that even if you haven't managed to download all of the photos from your phone to your computer (which I'm totally guilty of), you're still able to access them for prints.

4.  As often as your resources allow it, have professional photographs taken of your family (or at the very least of the baby.)  We got TIH's photos taken in the hospital, at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year.   Since then we usually just stick to the year mark and then try to get in a minishoot in the fall for Christmas cards.  I'll be the first to admit that some of my favorite photos of TIH are the snapshots that I took myself (so don't discount those), but there is something to be said for the magic of good lighting and Photoshop.  At first, we went the portrait studio route, but after one bad (and expensive) experience, we started looking for comparable packages with other professional photographers.  What I found is that many photographers offer "First Year" packages and the price of those were better than any coupon I could find with portrait studios.  There's no wrong route to take, but you'll be happy you have these as bookends for your photo book...

5.  Make PHOTO BOOKS.  Wait, did I already say that?  Okay, because it is THAT important.  Seriously, the prints can get expensive/lost and can be really easy to forget to print.  The photo books are easy to make and easy to duplicate (Hello, easy Christmas presents for grandparents.)  Not to mention, they are super fun to do!  (Hours of looking at cute pictures of my child?  Sign me up.)  Plus, these things will last.  The stack of TIH's photo books sit in our living room and everyone LOVES looking at them when they come to our house.

To make things even easier, the awesome peeps at Kindred Photo App contacted me to share this incredible new service they've just rolled out.  This service couldn't be any simpler if it tried.

I made three photo books in about 30 minutes during a train ride back from the city the other day.  All you have to do is download their FREE app (available on iTunes and Google Play), make an account that will allow you to access your photos (from your phone's photo albums, Facebook, or Instagram), select pictures (or have the app do it for you!), and ship it out to your choice of recipient.

Seriously.  It is SO simple.  What will arrive at your house are these neat little booklets:

The printing is high quality and the paper is nice and thick.  I immediately sent out two brag books to each of TIH's grandmothers to enjoy and of course they both were elated.

I made a couple of books for myself, of course, and could totally see me doing a "Best of..." book for every month.  The cost of the service is $5.95 a month and each booklet costs only $5.00.  I can tell you that I have spent that amount of money MANY TIMES OVER on making prints of photos, but none of them looked this beautiful!  (Nor was it ever this simple.)  And, if you decide that the service isn't for you, you can cancel it at any time with no penalties!

Even better?  Kindred is giving away a "year supply" (12 booklets, but you can use them all at once or space them out over a year, whatever) to THREE lucky readers.  Here's FIVE different ways you can enter:

1.  Leave a comment on this post saying that you like NMOTB on Facebook.
2.  Leave a comment on this post saying that you follow NMOTB on Instagram.
3.  Leave a comment on this post saying that you follow NMOTB on Twitter (and while you're at it, why not follow Kindred on Twitter too?)
4.  Leave a comment on this post saying that you've downloaded the FREE Kindred app on either iTunes or Google Play.
5.  For a bonus entry, upload your favorite photograph of your little one to my Facebook page or Instagram (by tagging me @newmomontheblog and using the hashtag #NMOTB_kindredphotobooks) and then come back and leave a comment on this post saying that you've done so!

I will be announcing the winner on Friday, so be sure to check back!  Good luck to all who enter.  And, even if you don't win - consider giving the subscription a shot.  I've been so happy with my experience thus far!

Though Kindred provided me with a complimentary subscription to their service and with a few complimentary photo books, the opinions expressed in this post are solely my own.  Obviously I barely have the time to wash my own hair daily, so I'm not going to take the time to write about a product I don't fully endorse.


  1. I like you on Facebook. :-) I also LOVE your photo books and had been inspired previously to make at least one that chronicles my pregnancy and Grace's first year so that we have a tangible way to flip through lots of photos of our family as it was. I plan on it being our "Daddy present" next year for Christmas when she can really understand and discuss the pictures. Also doing a bonus entry!

  2. I like you on FB and Twitter. I would on Instagram, but I can never remember my password. Lame. I am always looking for easier ways to make photo books. I'm obsessed with them (and yours especially).

  3. I like you on IG (and it's now clear that I appear to be stalking you :))

  4. I put one of my fave pics on IG (ps... really loved #4 on your list :))

  5. I follow you on IG!

  6. I downloaded the app!

  7. I posted a pic on IG, BOOM!

  8. I like you on FB....and in real life :)

  9. I'll follow in Adriane's footsteps:

    I like you on FB!

  10. I follow you and Kindred Prints on Twitter!

  11. I downloaded the Kindred Photo Books app on my iphone!

  12. Well, I already kind of left my bonus entry idea in my original comment, but I'll break it down again to make it easier for you. I like you on Facebook, I follow you on Instagram, I uploaded a photo to your instagram with your hash tag, and my idea for the booklets is to make a kind of memorial album of our family during my pregnancy and Grace's first year. But I also LOVE the ancestry photos idea and giving them to family members without social media. So to sum up I think that is 4 entries for me. I want these photo books! Lol.

  13. I just posted a photo on IG of my baby ;-)

  14. For my bonus entry, I think I'd like to create a book for each month of Sam's first year. Either that, or create some brag books for grandparents since that's always a good gift idea!

  15. Aaaaand I just went ahead and downloaded the app, so let's just make that 5.

  16. As my bonus entry... I'm pretty plain Jane... I'd just love to do some of my boys. Of course, I could also use it as a portfolio of my work for prospective clients. I have no doubt I could fill 12 up very easily :)

  17. I like you on FB and twitter and also, can I upload a picture of my dog? He's my little one. :)

    1. OF COURSE! Our cat was in our Christmas pictures before our baby came on the scene. No question animals are often your first babies! (Since I didn't answer your entry right away, I went ahead and gave you the additional entry.)

  18. This would definitely come in handy to chronicle our journey to parenthood and into baby's first year. Shh.... not everyone knows that yet. :)

  19. For my bonus entry, of course I love the brag book idea, also LOVE the ancestry photo idea as well. I'm sure there's something I could think of that I could use in sessions or something for work!


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