Our parents had 36 pictures to take at most (per roll of film) back in the day. Video required ten pounds of equipment. Here’s how to best manage all that media.
The iPhone, and smartphones in general, represent a blessing and a curse. The ease of which one can share media, save it, and disperse it is unparalleled in the history of parenting.
It’s not hard to savor it all because everyone thinks their child is adorable and lovable. Outside of the Seinfeld episode when they had to manage the sight of an ugly baby, what parent doesn’t love reminiscing about their toddler’s infant years?
The truth of the matter is when you scroll through all these pictures, it’s a blur. You squint at the small icons to search, click on the wrong one… then it’s, Wait! The next one’s better.
Where’s that video of junior burping in Grandma’s ear? Scroll back… no, wrong week, maybe it was right before Thanksgiving?
Oh, that timeframe features 30 videos, give me 10 minutes to find it.
It’s time to cull down the library. If you don’t get your arms wrapped around before your kid is 3, plan to spend every night next winter scrolling through 3,000 additional media files.
Here’s the plan on how to best manage it all so that when your toddler enters Kindergarten, you’ve got something manageable to work with.
The first step is admitting to yourself that if you keep ALL that media, you will only enjoy 5% over the next five years or perhaps 1% by the time your kid enters middle grade. If you discard 90% of what you have right now, it doesn’t make you a bad parent: you’re actually being responsible.
First, purchase or borrow an external hard drive with a large memory capacity and designate it for all media. Start uploading your files to your computer, break it down into six-month time periods and create a folder for each timeframe. iPhoto works well and you can export files straight to the connected hard drive.
When you transfer, ensure you’re using the complete media file, not a lower-memory version. The trick is to transfer ‘unmodified original’ versions. Here’s what it looks like on Mac devices:
When you have anywhere from 3-10 folders, each representing six months of time, make sure each folder is labeled properly and then…
…delete ALL the media off your smartphone… and delete it ALL from the app/platform you’re using on your home computer.
Does that make you feel nervous? Go ahead and check some random pics and vids from those folders on your external hard drive. Does everything look good? Great! Now start deleting.
Once a week, upload the first folder that has all the media from your child’s first six months of life back onto your home computer. A laptop is easier is you have one available. Start marking the very best shots you’ve taken and the most memorable videos.
Be choosy, if three look similar, mark the best one as a favorite and pass on the other two. Out of focus shots… skip. The picture of your mother crying as she holds your daughter for the first time, mark it as a favorite.
The goal is to eliminate 80% of the media you’ve shot. When you’re done, export your favorites to a new folder on the external hard drive and rename it: BEST MEDIA 0-SIX MONTHS. Upload it to a cloud service as a back-up. Double-check it all, and when you’re done…
… delete that original folder from birth-to-six months. All of it.
You will likely have 200-300 GREAT pictures and perhaps probably 30 solid videos. After you delete the rest, you will have discarded 1,500 ‘meh’ shots/vids, 400 out-of-focus pics, and roughly 78 where your wife does not look her best and demanded they were deleted.
Rinse and repeat during the winter months when you’re stuck inside or a few evenings during the week. In less than two months you will have a stunning portfolio of your family’s life from baby delivery to your child’s age… minus the past six months.
And if you feel compelled to ensure your memories are preserved forever, use a service that enables you to design a photo album with printed pages that feature the photographs you took. Apple provides a terrific service and you can increase the size of the album to make it larger.
You’ll be relieved years from now when you have a responsible amount of media to reminisce about as opposed to being completely overwhelmed.