Capturing images and voicesSmartphones
The go-to choice for convenience when it comes to taking spontaneous photos. They're simple to use, always to hand, and you can delete the duds with ease.
You'll get the best results if you skip the zoom and move in closer, keeping your elbows tight against your body, so you hold still (even if your little one doesn't). You can always crop the image later.
You can do any tidying up with editing software or an image editing app, before sharing the pick of the bunch with friends and family.
You can also make video clips when the right moment strikes without having to carry around bulky equipment. So you'll be able to capture the faces, voices, movements and moods with ease.
Digital compact cameras
A dedicated digital camera comes with all the benefits of smartphones, but with extra features for the photography enthusiast, and potentially higher-quality results. Practise makes perfect, so keep your camera with you at all times. Before long, taking photos will become second nature.
Hit delete and keep trying until you get that perfect pic. Or take advantage of the storage capacity of your camera or device, so you can take and keep lots of photos and refine them on a rainy day. The more you take, the more likely you are to get that perfect snap.
Digital SLR cameras
The choice of the photography enthusiast, a digital SLR camera allows you to take high-quality images using a range of features and lens options. You'll get a great shot regardless of lighting, distance, or your subject's fidgeting.
Just make sure you read up on what each button does and get to know a bit about how shutter speed and aperture work. Try online tutorials for hints and tips.
Capture that adorable little voice using a digital recorder, whether using an app on your phone or a separate device. Create a clip of your child's voice for a few minutes every few weeks or months, and you'll end up with a record of your child's improving language skills, changing voice and unique character.
Don't forget to capture the giggle when you tickle her tummy, or the way she says particular words and phrases.
Tip: Make a day each month your designated photo day. Take some snapshots of your baby, or press play on the video for a few minutes. You'll then have a unique archive of your baby's first year.
An easy way to create albums online is by using a photo album site. Upload images from your phone or camera, and create an album for each batch of photos or events. Nominate friends and family to access your albums, so you can share the memories with a select few, without having to send large files via email.
You can also create gifts such as calendars for family and friends, or canvas pictures for your home, once you've selected the perfect snap.
And when only a hard copy of a photo will do, you can order prints direct from the site.
You need somewhere to put those precious prints, so opt for an album with a design you love, which offers the space you need. You can buy personalised covers with monogrammed or embroidered lettering, so you'll have something really special to keep.
Look for albums made from archival, acid-free, lignin-free, or photo-safe materials that will preserve your photos beautifully and avoid the yellowing, aged look. Some albums allow you to add pages as the years pass, but try to reserve only the most special photographs for albums. You can have too much of a good thing.
It's usually easier to order your photos chronologically. You can then see how your child develops and grows. Every parent will say that they don't know how their child grew up so fast. Write captions, including dates, for each photo to jog your memory in the future, so you have a record of family life before it flies past you.
You may want photos of special moments scattered around your home. Try devoting a wall in your home to photographs in matching frames, and refresh and add to it as your baby grows. This makes for a clutter-free home, rather than free-standing frames that topple over and make dusting even more of a chore than it already is.
If you're the creative type, making a montage of lots of photos in one big frame is a great way of creating a unique artwork that documents special events and memorable trips.
You can create these online, and play around until you get the best effect. Or go for a more hands-on approach by creating collages and mixing materials. Use seashells or leaves, or fabrics, buttons and magazine cuttings to complement photos of days out to the beach or woods. Cover natural materials with a glaze, to make sure they last.
You'll want to know that your photos are safe forever. So choose the method that suits you and your devices when it comes to storing your digital photos. Your computer's internal hard drive will do the job, and you can get a back-up external hard drive to be sure. You may want to put them in secure cloud storage, so you can access them from any device and know that they'll be safe. Or burn them on to DVD.
Be organised! Download or share images before you can accidentally delete them. Put all your photos on one device, rather than some on your phone, and some on your desktop. File sharing makes this easy.
Devise a filing system. Most devices will automatically file and name individual photos according to the date. You could also break it down by milestone or occasion, such as "First steps_month_year". If you have an overwhelming amount of unsorted photos, first organise them into years, and then months, ideally on a rainy day, or in snatched moments when your little one is finally asleep in the evening.
Be selective with which photos you keep, and delete the duds before uploading them, to save time. So bin those that have red-eye, thumb-prints, are over-exposed or blurred, as well as multiple copies of the same scene.
Get creative with your photos, if you have the time and creativity. Every page can be made into a small work of art, featuring your best photos. You may want to only use similar-sized photos and not mix black and white with colour, so you don't have too much of an assortment of styles.
Over time, some of the meaning or detail of a photograph may become lost in the haze of memory. Putting a few thoughts and experiences into writing, even if it's just a caption, will give your grown-up child an insight into their childhood. It will also capture how you were feeling at that moment.
Not everyone's social media-savvy. Send photos by email to loved ones with a short description of stories behind what made the day or moment special. Guaranteed to make any grandparent's day, provided you don't send huge files.
Last reviewed: April 2014