I never thought it would happen, but I have become “that mom.” You know, the one that fills up her phone with hundreds of photos of her child. I can’t help it—every time my son looks up at me with those beautiful brown eyes I melt and immediately want to capture the moment.
Why do I take so many? Luckily today’s technology allows me to take photo after photo of him at no cost. After all, I grew up in a time when you had to be selective about photos and not waste film. Plus, trying to take a proper photo of a squirmy infant requires more than a couple tries.
All of these photos give me plenty to longingly stare at while I’m at work and desperately missing him, but they rarely make it off my phone. Aside from regularly dragging over hundreds of photo files onto my computer for backup purposes, I hardly ever print them, or do anything fun with them.
I decided to challenge myself to find five creative ways to use those oh-so-cute photos of my baby. I challenge you to think outside the .jpg and do the same!
THE TRIED-AND-TRUE PHOTO BOOK
My pick: Chatbooks
What is it: A simple way to make a quick and easy photo book or book series right from your phone.
How much: Free app; books start at $8 with free shipping
Why I like it: Photo books are great, but often seem daunting. This app guides you in creating a book from photos on your phone or social media. You can even sign up for an ongoing Chatbook series, where you have books automatically created from your Instagram, Facebook or favorites album on your phone. The books look great, are the perfect hand-held size and are very affordable. I quickly put together a Chatbook of photos from our newborn photo shoot, all while I nursed my son. It was perfect to toss on the coffee table when people came over to visit the baby those first couple weeks.
Try it: Get the Chatbooks app (for Apple and Android devices)
SCRAP THE TRADITIONAL BABY BOOK
My pick: Project Life
What is it: A much more time-friendly way to scrapbook or make a nontraditional baby book.
How much: $2.99 for app; prices vary for physical products
Why I like it: I’m the type of person who would love to scrapbook but can’t find the time or patience to do it well. Project Life came to my rescue. I decided to forgo a traditional baby book and use this scrapbook system to document my baby’s first year. All I had to do was buy a 12x12 photo album binder, clear photo pocket pages and a baby boy “core kit” with ready-made cards to pop in the pages. I love how creative you can get with this, and also how foolproof it appears once it’s done. Just check out the hashtag #ProjectLife on Instagram to see what I mean.
RELATED: DIY Baby Photo Studio in 5 Minutes
SEND SNAIL MAIL IN STYLE
My pick: Ink Cards
What is it: An app that lets you create cards and mail them straight from your phone.
How much: Cards start at $1.99 which includes postage
Why I like it: Snail mail will always hold a place in my heart. This is an easy way to keep up your correspondence while sending unique, personalized greeting cards from your phone. You choose a design, add your photo and customize the message on the card. Plug in the recipient's address and you’re done! These would be great for thank you cards with a photo of your baby using whatever the gift was, or a special birthday card for someone. The app even saves your recipients’ addresses and birthdays so you’ll be less likely to forget next year.
Try it: Get the app
DOCUMENT EVERY SECOND
My pick: 1 Second Everyday
What is it: An app that compiles little clips of your days into one continuous movie.
How much: $4.99 for app
Why I like it: In addition to photos, I often record short videos of my son whenever I can. I love that I have clips of him giggling and caught the first time he accidentally rolled over. This app creates a movie out of seconds of your life. All you have to do is record one second a day, and it chronicles those moments into a video diary movie.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you could also use this as inspiration and do this DIY style. I went back through my phone and grabbed 2-3 seconds from videos of my son and used a video editing app to edit them together to document the 12 weeks of my maternity leave. I ended up with a lovely video I posted on my Facebook my first day back at work. I can’t tell you how much I treasure that video.
Try it: Get the app
FUN TAKES ON PRINTS AND MORE
My pick: Social Print Studio
What is it: A print studio that offers lots of unique ways to showcase your photos—from magnets to metal prints, to fun little sticker books.
How much: Free app; prices vary
Why I like it: There’s so many fun things you can print your photos on. I love the idea of getting a bunch of mini prints and hanging them up around my desk at work. I ordered a minibook with my favorite 50 photos that I carry around in my purse. Think of it as a smaller version of a “brag book,” that I can pull out when people ask to see photos of my son. How great would the giant photobooth-style photostrips look in a baby’s room, or as decor for a birthday party?