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Documenting Evy’s First Year

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I'm Katelyn James Alsop, a photographer, educator and momma who believes any photographer can have a profitable AND purposeful business.

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I know that EVERY mom has her own things that are important to her. Some moms want to make their baby a blanket or take pictures of their bump EVERY single week during pregnancy. Once the baby is here, some mommas care more about writing letters than they do about taking pictures. Some moms care a lot about having “real” pictures… like scheduling photo sessions! Some just want to use their own big camera to capture memories! Others are fine with the iPhone.

Some parents care more about capturing their little one’s life on video and some don’t care about it at all…. it stresses them out to think about documenting every new stage and so they just enjoy the moments and don’t worry about it!

There is no RIGHT or WRONG!

However, for me, I knew I needed a system for this.

I didn’t want to get to the end of YEAR ONE and feel like I had a hot mess of RAW files and thousands of iPhone photos that were never printed. It just stressed me out even thinking about it!

So, before Evy was born, I started brainstorming about the BEST system for documenting her life! Here was my thought process:

  1. I want pictures printed…. but how? Like actual prints? Or BOOKS?
  2. I know it’s not realistic to constantly print books each month with REAL DSLR images in it. That’s just not going to happen. But I am going to TAKE pictures with my real camera so how am I going to organize that?
  3. What do I do with my iPhone photos? I know I’m going to be snapping like CRAZY and so how do I sort, save, and share them in one place??
  4. I care about videos… but if I’m being honest, I probably won’t ever make an “end of year one video”. It’s just not my gift! So I want to capture little moments and save them… but nothing too crazy.
  5. How am I going to actually make my REAL camera pictures happen? People say they never get their real camera out…so what is going to make that any different for me??
  6. How will I keep these family pictures straight CF card wise? How am I going to store them and know what’s edited, culled, or needs to be edited?
  7. How am I going to get images to our families? Everyone is going to want copies of stuff… so how is this going to work?
  8. I DON’T want Evy to have a massive baby book and other future kids not have one. I know that’s the most common reality… so how can I do it differently?
  9. Speaking of baby books…. what are we going to do about that? We have been gifted so many that I LOVE! But I can get overwhelmed with the thought of them!!! I don’t want to start one and not finish it!
  10. Journaling…. I want to write to Evy! So how do I make that happen? Make her an email account? Start a journal?

SO. MANY. THINGS.

I mean…. how complicated can this be!? Just take pictures right?!

Well, because of the career I’m in, I know just how complicated this can be. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had random folders of unedited family pictures sit on my computer for YEARS and never get touched!!! Embarrassing! I didn’t want that for Evy’s first year… or even our family picture for the future! So, I made a game plan and here it is! :

  1. FAMILY CF CARD : We keep one of our camera bodies in the living room with a battery and our 128gb “Family” CF card inside of it! This allows me to grab real photos whenever she’s doing something cute or is smiling big with friends or family holding her! I know, we have lots of natural light in our house which makes a huge difference.
  2. FAMILY HARD DRIVE : I upload the RAW files to my 2tb “Alsop Family Adventures” external hard drive, and I categorize the images by MONTH and then by EVENT. So under “June 2017” I have a folder titled “June 2017 UNEDITED > Nanny’s Visit”. Then I have a “Culled” and “Edited” folder as well. This keeps family images in one place!
  3. IPHONE PHOTOS & “CHATBOOKS” : I started an “Alsop Family Adventures” instagram account that is linked to Chatbooks! I automatically get THREE printed books for every 60 photos I post! (I upgraded to get THREE because each grandma gets her own copy!). This takes care of the need to print and save my iPhone photos that I love most! This is automated, and I post once every day or two while I’m nursing.
  4. MONTHLY BLOGS & ONE FAMILY YEARBOOK : I blog a monthly “Evy” post that makes me go through my images from each month and edit my favorites! At the end of the year, I’m going to take all of my edited monthly pictures from my DSLR and create a family YEARBOOK. This will ensure that Evy doesn’t have a massive first year book and our future kids do not. Because think about it… what do you do when you have multiple kids!? If you have a picture of the two of them… whose baby book does it go in?! If you just do a family yearbook, it’s even for everyone and easier on me!
  5. “PROMPTLY JOURNALS”: I heard about these journals from Jane Johnson on Instagram! They aren’t overwhelming. There is one picture to add per month and a space for me to write her a letter. It prompts you to write once a month and then once a year after the first year… so when Everly graduates from high school, she’ll have her entire childhood history in one book. I love it so much!!
  6. INSTA-STORIES: I have my insta-story videos automatically saved to my phone so that’s how I’m saving videos of the little moments of her life!
  7. ONLINE FAMILY GALLERY: I have an “Alsop Family Adventures” online gallery for 2017 that I can update and add photos too for family members to see! This backs them up, makes them always accessible, and creates an easy way to share them!

So! There you have it! That’s how we’re documenting her life!!! It may sound complicated, but it’s really not! Think about it, I’m taking pics on my iPhone, and I have an automated system for sharing and printing them! I’m taking pictures with my real camera, and I have a system for preserving those as well! I’m excited about it and proud of myself for sticking to the system! Sticking to the system has ALWAYS served me well in the past and so I plan to make these habits stick as long as possible! I know it will get harder with two or three kids down the road, but I’m trying to be realistic with what I do now so that I’m not disappointed that I can’t keep up in the future!!

I’m not able to keep up with the baby book idea. I love it so much, but I know that I want a TON of images saved in a family yearbook, and I’m writing down all of her memories and big moments in her “Promptly Journal”!

I think it’s important to do what makes you happy. Making multiple styles of baby books happen just felt like a mandatory thing that we had to do… it didn’t seem fun. Just like taking the obligatory “bump” picture didn’t seem fun to me while I was pregnant! So instead, I did it a different way, and I’ll have to share that with you one day!!

I’m learning to have a new level of grace with myself. In a lot of ways, Evy’s pictures and documenting her life have taken priority over making our house feel like a home. Sure, it looks put together in instagrams and all, but we only have TWO pictures on the walls and STACKS of frames downstairs! :) Documenting her new little life is more important. I’ll have years to enjoy her pictures on the walls when she’s off at school all day and I miss her! :)

I hope this is helpful and maybe gives some of you new and seasoned mommas out there some ideas!

The hard drive is a LACIE 2 TB drive! We love them! 

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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