Monday, April 9, 2012

Parent Life: Baby Photo Etiquette

I don't care how much of a shutterbug you were before you had a baby, you will triple it once that little bundle of joy drops in your lap.

You probably have countless SD cards filled with adorable snaps of your child with various relatives in assorted super cute onesies and pjs in holiday themes.  It's probably just a festival of cute.

And you are probably itching to upload all these photos to Facebook and Flickr and Picasa and hit the big old SEND button to all your friends and family and people you met once at yoga.

I'm here to tell you to STOP.  LOOK.  and LISTEN.

Actually, STOP.  EDIT.  and DELETE.

Because while you undoubtably think that everyone wants, needs to...see every single photo on that digital card of yours, it will certainly cause some major eye rolls and some quickly deleted emails.  On the flip side, as the recipient of all that chubby-thighed-baby-adorableness can also lead to madness like hitting the forward button a few too many times.

As someone who has been on the sharing and receiving end of many, many baby photos, I've prepared a little guide to help us all navigate the waters without losing friends and alienating family members.


This is very simple...just three simple rules.

Only email photos of your child to 
  1. immediate family; 
  2. people who ASKED; 
  3. someone who has a vested interest in the picture (e.g. they knit the hat the baby is wearing).

Send only one, *maybe* two, pictures in an email.  No one wants to stand there waiting for seventeen pictures of your baby sucking her thumb in the same outfit on their iPhone while waiting for a traffic light.  Pictures are big...they clog worse than washing an Afghan in your bathtub.

Do not forward an email containing a picture of another person's kid.  As a mother, it's always weird to me to hear that someone forwarded a picture of my baby to someone else and feeling like it went viral.  Plus, then I get in trouble for not sending it to everyone.  You can show a picture to someone who didn't get the email, but don't send.

Flickr/Picasa/Kodak Gallery/Etc.

These sites are great for sharing whole albums with family and friends.  You can definitely get a little more liberal with the number of pictures you upload, but still...the key here is to EDIT.  Unless you are sharing with your co-parent or maybe grandparents, no one cares to see the same picture in color, black and white AND sepia in the same album.

Hit the highlights.  Tell a story.  Narrow it down to the photos that really tell a narrative and where everyone looks good.  EVERYONE.

Max pictures in an album...20.  Yeah, seriously.


This is where it gets a little tricky.  

First things first, make sure that your privacy settings are up and people are in their little spheres.  I know from working on the Hill that a lot of people are Facebook friends with co-workers or work contacts who don't necessarily need to see that you took the baby on a long weekend vacay to the beach when they were working hard in the office.  

Second, when the baby is born, get up one shot with the blanket and the hat and post baby stats.  Then lay low for a little while.  Once the baby has puffed out a little bit (babies lose weight after they are born and look a little raisin-y), post another few with both parents and an assorted close friend.  This also gives you enough time to get it together and look good in the photo of you holding your progeny.  Unless you are one of those people who looked fabulous after a totally natural delivery, in which case...I just unfriended you.

Third, remember a key rule here...keep them wanting more.  You want your friends to see that you posted pics and say, "Oh! Yay! Baby pictures!"  Not, "Seriously? For realz? More baby pictures?"  Do not overexpose your baby like a Kardashian.  Post a few pictures every month or so, not a constant stream.

Fourth, mix it up.  Don't post 10 pictures of your child dressed up like an Ann Geddes knockoff.  One male friend recommended one funny picture per two cute pictures.  Two shots of the baby in an adorable hat?  One shot of the baby giving the world the middle finger.

Fifth, it's all about the numbers.  Two to five pictures at a time.  Yeah, I'm not kidding.  You can up that a little bit if you went on a vacation.  Don't show me your whole memory card.

Finally, if you are the person perusing all these pictures, feel free to leave a comment.  No joke, it makes a mother's day.  And no need to get creative.  A "like" and a "so cute!" will suffice.  

Also, don't post naked baby pics.  It probably violates 17 different federal and state laws and it gives me  the icks.

Did I miss anything?

And yes, I have used this post to dump a bunch of adorable "baby's first Easter egg hunt" photos on you.   Because obviously having a blog keeps you exempt from all these rules.


  1. LOVE this. I don't even mind the occasional bulk upload on Facebook of 20 or whatever, because it only shows up once - but the people with 15 separate posts a day from their cell phone or Instagram? THAT is what kills me!!

  2. I am cracking up. Sooo true on all of these. I'm all about picking one or two really good ones.


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