Why You Should Email Photos To Your Baby

Why You Should Email Photos To Your Baby

Have you ever thought what will happen in 10 or 20 years to all those digital images you take every day? Have you ever thought what photos the younger generation of your family will have access to when they grow up? We all pretty much stopped printing photos and making real photo albums because we just don't need to do it anymore (and because we are lazy). So what can be done to make those photos available and easily accessible to next generations? Here is my solution.

Way way back...

Let me take you back to 1984, the year I was born. It was way before the invention of digital photography, HD videos or the Internet. Back then, my parents used film cameras and kept all the images (good or bad) of me and my family in photo albums, or just in a pile in a box along with the negatives. Many times they even added the date and short description of the event or subjects behind the good images.

As I grew, the images piled up and I could go and see (and enjoy) all those great images of me and my family. Every once in a while I go and open a random box filled with photos, and just go through them to see how I looked like when I was 2 years old, how I used to play with my grandparents or maybe to get nostalgic about that family trip we did when I was 6. I’m 28 now, and I have full access to images documenting my life from the second I was born, through the first day of school to the first day in the military. Thousands of images. And you know what? Not only I have access to images of me, but I have access to images documenting the lives of my brothers, parents, grandparents and so many more important people in my life.

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The Way We Store And Share Photos Today

Which leads me to the way we live our lives today, with great advancement in technology. These days people enjoy the fact they can snap a photo and upload it instantaneously to Facebook, Instagram or Picasa. For them the work is done. It’s up there and your friends and family can enjoy the photos (and even like them!). But there is one thing you probably forgot: Your kids (or young family members) are not on those services, and wont be on them for the next few years. Who even knows if those services will exist by then.

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When I photograph my nephews and nieces I want to believe they will have access to all those photos in the future the same way I have access to all the images documenting my own life. It’s not fair that because of the advancement in technology and our laziness they will grow up without having any (or just few) images of themselves as kids.

I have hundreds of thousands of photos on my hard drives. Many of them include photos of my family. But I know that most likely most family members won't have access to all these hard drives in 5, 10 or 20 years, if they even work by then.

This leads me to one of my solutions.

Emailing Your Babies Can Make a Difference

I Email the photos to whoever is in the photos. Even If they are a 2 year old baby. Yes, I email babies that can't even read yet. Any time a new baby joins our family, one of the first things we do is create a gmail account for them. I use that address to send all the cool photos I take of them, so when they grow up and take control of their account, they can see all those images I sent them for the past who knows how many years. In each email I usually include the date the shot was taken, what was the event and who else was there.

If you want to make it even easier for them to find all these images, you can create a folder in Gmail called 'Family Photos' that automatically filter emails with a specific title so they can easily find them when they finally take control of their account. You can take the basic idea and improve it to make it work better for your own family.

Emailing kids who won't read your emails for the next few years might sound stupid, but the idea they will be able to enjoy all those photos is worth it. Not only you have the obligation to do it as a dad/mom/brother/sister/grandpa/grandma/uncle/aunt, you also have the obligation to do it as a great photographer who probably takes better pictures than most people around you (sorry, average-and-less-talented people).

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So next time you see happen to photograph your young family members, remember your role, and email them some photos. Takes 1 minute and makes a big difference.

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17 Comments

Love the idea, but one question remains will email be there in let's say ~15 years when that baby can take control of that account or ~20+ years when they will actually care about that is saved on that account?

Noam Galai's picture

email is one technology/tool that stayed with us all these years, unlike most other services. I have a feeling it will stay for many many years to come :) Unlike Facebook, we really need our email and I cant imagine why it will die.

20 years? Hmm. Let me see if I can get into my old AOL or Compuserve account.

Doesn't Gmail shut down your account if you don't log into it for x amount of years though?

not even years. months.

How annoying. Google's own adverts showed parents doing exactly this. Surely there's a setting somewhere to keep it open if you're using it for this purpose!

Andrew Barros's picture

what a cloud based service like dropbox or google sync? Wouldn't going thru all those emails be a bit over whelming? i think the organization of google sync tied to those email accounts may be a great idea as well.

What's wrong with printing some out & writing a letter (you know with a pen & sh*t) to the child? That stuff never goes obsolete. You even say you go to a box of prints to rummage through it.

Noam Galai's picture

True, and I actually do it as well. But if you ask the general public, probably 99.9% of them dont go and print their photos. This solution I presented here is just one way of doing it. Way easier than printing.

I use Penzu to write letters to my son and my husband and sister have account info. Also I print and annual photo books for him. I put in camera shots, iphone shots, shots of him that family sends to me, etc. Also my stuff is backed up. I'm a freak about it though and not normal. This is a great idea though! LOL

Don't you thin the kid will have a hard time going through each and every email, won't it make the job boring, why not start your own domain for the kid and store photos in a gallery view, if you are concerned about the privacy use some kind of authentication to view the photos. Like emails websites also will exist forever, just some thought :)

I think it's awesome! You can also write them letters. They'll treasure those memories for a lifetime!

E-mail has a limited amount of space. It will fill up fast with photos even small ones. There's no good solution for this that I've seen because of the volatility of these services and they often change their plans too. Google just changed their space plan not a month ago. Who is to say google won't reduce the plans they offer or charge you or even go bust. Evernote is what I rely on to store photos. They promise to be around in 100 years and even if they are not you can always download all the photos before they go bust.

About a year ago I logged into my old Hotmail account and I discovered that all of my emails since I first started using the internet, had been deleted. I hadn't logged in for about 6 months, so Hotmail had decided my account was "inactive". I lost a lot of stuff (including photos).
I guess the point that people are making in these comments, is that you really can't trust a third party to keep up a service indefinately. Even big companies like Microsoft or Google.

Noam Galai's picture

Of course there is never a guarantee that 3rd parties will stay forever, but 1. I have a feeling Gmail will be here for a long time. 2. It's only one solution/idea for how to have the images available, it shouldn't be the only way you store the images 3. it's so easy, why not...

I think its a good idea but there will be alot of emails to sort thru. My wife and I are expecting our first child in Nov and we have decided to print a photo book each year to give to our child on there birthday, that way they will always have some photos.

Each year for my son's (and most likely will do with my daughter's) birthday I create a DVD Slideshow of mostly photos, and videos of the previous year. This is really neat to go through and remember how young he was, who he played with and what they looked like. They tend to be about 25-35 minutes in length. I also create an iTunes/Digital version to have in case DVD leaves us.
My wife is pretty good about creating Photobooks of special times, seasons and most-always a yearly short capture (based on Calendar Year). She is much better at teh books since as a designer I would take too long.