Liam turned two yesterday, and I couldn't be more excited to share with you a project that has been two years in the making... aside from the project of being his mom, of course.
I started a photo-a-day project the day Liam was born, but it's been two years in the making, not just literally, but I only recently caught up with selecting, editing, organizing and uploading a photo from each day and putting them all together into a finished format.
I knew from the start that I wanted to take a photo a day (many photographers, amateur and professional, take part in what is often known as a "365" project) but my personal criteria and format for this project has developed over the two years. The photos were always to feature Liam in some way, and would usually although not always be taken by me. In fact the first photo above was taken by our fantastic labor and delivery nurse just moments after Liam was born, and the third photo, from yesterday, was taken by my niece on her iphone. But probably 98-99% of the photos have been taken by me, and all are edited by me!
The project changed in format though, part way into the first year, when I discovered the iphone app ShakeItPhoto and decided I would use it to process each photo, a) because I loved how they looked but b) because it would be an easy way to give my photos a consistent and finished format, even if they were poorly lit and blurred iphone photos. In fact I decided I would try to only use iphone photos from then on (even though up until then they mostly were anyway). And no, I have not quite managed to take a photo every single day, so there are maybe 8-10 days where I had to use a photo from the day before or the day after, but overall, I've been pretty good at keeping it up.
And I LOVE using the iphone as my day-to-day camera. I always have it within arms reach so it's the camera I use most regularly to capture moments that would have passed had I waited until I had my DSLR with me. You can do amazing things with your photos on your iphone, including pretty sophisticated editing, and of course, you can share them right away via e-mail or online. I don't just use ShakeItPhoto - often I'll edit in PS Express or, more recently, PhotoForge and occasionally TiltShiftGen. Another favorite app is Montager although I don't use that for my photo-a-day images.
Much more recently, I discovered Shuttercal, and this changed everything. Seriously. When Liam turned one, I don't think I had completed half of the year's daily photos. I had taken them, of course, but I was struggling to keep track of where I was with selecting, editing and uploading (I was uploading on flickr) and trying to catch up was a nightmare involving, believe it or not, excel spreadsheets! I wanted to catch up for his first birthday but I just couldn't, and then I let it slide again and only filled in the last gaps of 2009 a couple of weeks ago.
Shuttercal is amazingly simple yet powerful - you upload your photo-a-day into an online calendar format so it's easy to browse, easy to share and easy to see where you are and where the gaps are and go back and fill them in. Filling in all the gaps from the past two years became so much easier - and fun! - once I had the project on shuttercal, and, more importantly, it's also made it so much easier to keep up to date going forward. If I fall a little behind, I can always upload the day's photo and know exactly where I am to backfill.
I love it!
Not only that, but every month, you can print the month's photos as 4x4-ish square cards and you can even purchase a "shoebox" specially designed to hold them. Finally, a photo solution that easily integrates sharing online and in print! I love knowing that even if I never get around to making albums, I'll always have my Shuttercal photos. When I wonder where all the time has gone, I can look here and see it, day by day.
This has turned into a love letter/review of shuttercal, and in fact I have recently been in conversation with one of the founders about an exciting future partnership as I love their product/service so much and think it's GREAT for parents struggling to organizing their photos (I've been getting great feedback from some of the new moms I've recommended it to). I'll be announcing more about that soon (hint: if you're interested in doing a photo-a-day project amongst a community of like-minded parents, make sure you fill out my survey and sign up to be on the list) but in the meantime, today's blog post is actually meant to be a love letter to Liam.
I love you. You are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I love being your mom and I treasure every day that we spend together. Here are all the days we've had, all 731 of them so far, and I can't wait for many more.
Happy birthday Liam!
Much love, many hugs and a million kisses,
nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!