Archive for February 8th, 2013

February 8, 2013

Mom-tographer by the Numbers

I used to hate it when someone told me how much Nicki’s changed or how big she’s gotten. The words feel like a dagger to my mom-tographer heart who never feels like I’ve taken enough photos of Nicki. Yes, I take a ton of photos, but they’re typically the same photo with slightly different angles and I rely on my iPhone way too much. So a week or so so ago I decided to sit down and finally organize the photos I have, to see if my fears were justified. (Aside: nothing makes a mom-tographer panic like missing baby photos. I couldn’t find our Thanksgiving day photos for about 2 hours. Not fun.)

Formal Photos:

I had been thinking I only use my DSLR for formal photos. The good news is that’s not really true. I loosely defined formal photos are ones that I do against a back drop or involve some amount of setup other than moving clutter out of view (e.g. the newborn photos, the Christmas lights photo and the Halloween photo). I took 3532 non-formal and 5219 formal photos.

What about Duplicates?

Well, 2084 of those photos were newborn photos. About 3/5ths of those are sleeping baby photos and there’s only so many different sleeping baby photos one can take. There were 392 Nicki and Phia photos. In my defense, I wanted a canvas print, and I wanted to be sure I had a photo that would work. Canvas prints require a lot of white space and I wanted a large high-res print that was pushing the boundaries of my camera’s image size, so I needed to get the framing right. Cropping wouldn’t work.

I’ve also been working on Nicki’s baby book. Of the 1191 photos I’ve taken just for the book, I plan to use 6. That means I take an average of 199 photos in order to get ONE for the book. Again, I’m obsessed with perfection. In my defense, some of those photos were a lot harder than others, and some required many iterations to get something passable.

Informal Photos:

I take monthly photos of her to track her growth, and I’m pretty good about taking Holiday photos. But how do I do on an every day bases? For this analysis I’m only including non-holiday and non-event (like the day she was born).

The number of informal photos I’ve taken of Nicki each month.

My initially thinking was that I wasn’t taking enough photos of Nicki when she was 2 and 3 months old, but as we can see, that’s not the case. I did pretty good for months 1 & 2 when I was on “Maternity Leave” from grad school over the summer. Month 3 was also pretty decent at 195 photos. For months 4 and 5 that would be 45 and 25 photos of Nicki the entire month. Most of those photos are also duplicates, so in month 5 I effectively only have 2 photos! On the other hand, Month 5 was our trip back east, and I took 406 informal photos at Christmas time. The ironic thing: I found two different set of Monthlies for five months. Maybe subconsciously I knew I wasn’t taking enough photos and forgot which ones I had already done?

The bump at month 6 is from the 52 week project. Looks like I just needed some motivation.


The numbers work out to 17 non-formal and 25 formal photos a day from my DSLR. Whenever I feel like I’m not taking enough, I should remind myself of those numbers. Yes, they’re not all perfect, and yes there are duplicates, but that is still quite a bit. Do I wish there were more? Sure. But I don’t think having more would actually alleviate that desire. You can never have too many baby photos in my book!

Now that I’ve organized the photos a bit better, I can more easily go back and see what photos I do have. In the process of organizing my photos I also discovered some I had forgotten about.


I always get so close to focus on the face, but sometimes it’s nice to step back and show scale. I can’t believe how tiny she was! She’s filling the rock n’ play these days!

My biggest wish, however, is that I could go back to the hospital. I took 54 photos of Nicki in the hospital. This is one time when I wish I had more duplicates!