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Where everyone learns Photoshop - National Association of Photoshop Professionals

Where everyone learns Photoshop - National Association of Photoshop Professionals

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New Parents: Don’t Be Caught Empty Handed - Remember Your Camera!

Expecting a baby? Hmm. Well, you’ve got a lot of things on your mind already - add another one to your list. Be prepared with your cameras. These events don’t occur every day and a little foresight will save you a bit of time, convenience, and maybe even regret years later.

Let’s start here: Have you packed your hospital overnight bag yet? When you get around to doing that, put your designated camera in there too. As far as I know hospitals don’t usually have staff photographers - and as was the case with us - births can come unexpectedly fast. Imagine being left empty handed in the first few moments of your baby’s life. You need to get a few pictures, really.

If you are a pro and have a specific SLR of choice with multiple flash attachments, filters, tripods, whatever, go for it, but honestly, I’m going to guess you’ll actually feel more comfortable with a good pocket camera - preferably equipped with a nice video capability and a nice-sized flash card. We have a Lumix (Panasonic) with a 4GB card - obviously there are lots of choices that will work - this camera did splendidly. I left my Canon 40D at home. Just have a system so that you won’t forget a camera on the way to the hospital - and remember that setting up the perfect pro shot won’t always be convenient in a hospital. I’m not saying don’t bring your SLR if that’s your thing - just consider the possibility that you may not need it there.

Many pro photographers have a well-defined system for managing photos. If you have a system for your baby, you’re ahead of the game. Most people, its easy to guess, have no system. I’ll give you an idea of our system, but there isn’t anything magic about our system, just get a system. Anyway, here’s what I do:

Since our son was born, I’ve taken a boatload of photos and movies with both the pocket cam and the SLR. Every few days I download the photos in a folder with a name. The photos in the folder have the same name and increment 1, 2, 3, etc. I do this with Photoshop Lightroom. Other software will do the same kind of thing. All of my son’s photos are under a specific directory with his name on my hard drive. Next, my computer has Carbonite ( which will automatically back up photos (and other essential files) online. That way, I don’t have to worry about losing any photos and I don’t have to remember to back them up. It’s all automatic. Carbonite has no size limits by the way. (Note: Carbonite's consumer plan only backs up on local drives, not external ones. They also offer business plans to cover external drives.)

Each month I use Lightroom to create sets that I upload to Flickr. I also have a Collection on Flickr with month 1, month 2, etc. The point is this. Even if you are a top professional, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the basics while you are caught up in your time of joy and bliss with the new baby.

Oh, and there’s the one-picture-each-day trick. I decided NOT to do this, but it’s worth your consideration. I’ve heard of people taking a shot of their baby’s face each day in the same position each day. Later, someday, you can assemble them in a kind of stop motion movie of your child so you can "morph" them from infant to whatever age. It’s a great idea, but you’ll have to be pretty diligent to stay on top of that task, too much photo management for me. Maybe if you have an older camera sitting around, you can use that camera only for that purpose, keep it by the crib or something. That might work.

Well, now’s a good time. Take out a duffle bag from the closet and throw in some clothes you’ll need for your overnight stay at the hospital. You now have a new storage place for your pocket cam. Good luck and congratulations.

- Dave Rytell

David Rytell started his career as a journalist but eventually found his way to public accounting and then finally settled in as a "Tax Analyst Programmer" at Intuit Inc in San Diego where he has worked on the popular TurboTax program for about 14 years. Dave loves photography and music. He spends his free time mostly at home in La Mesa with his wife Wendy, dog Buddy and his new baby Danny who just turned three months old. He has a website:

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