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!

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  1. Being in the hospital even now, we try to get photos of Titus, but it’s hard for Vickie and I. Fortunately, we have two sets of grandparents in town that aren’t being remiss about getting those hospital shots.

    • It is hard at the hospital, there’s always so much going on. Make sure Grandparents take some of the three of you. I have not a single photo of the three of us (and only two of Nicki and I). That is my biggest hospital photo regret.


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