How Many Photos Are Too Many?

I was watching one of my favourite family TV dramas last week, “This is Us”, and Rebecca, the family matriarch, said the following to her adult daughter, Kate.

“I remember taking the three of you home like it was yesterday – and then I blinked and you were toddlers running me and your dad ragged.  And then I blinked again and you were teenagers who wanted nothing to do with us. And then I blinked again and when I look at you I see all of you….”

These lines certainly struck a chord with me because it’s true – our kids grow up so quickly.  And we want to capture every precious moment of their young lives.  But how many photos are too many?

I think I know just about every photo that was taken of me as a baby, young girl and teenager.  My parents took plenty of photos and videos of myself and my brothers to document our childhood. They were all neatly placed in albums and eventually the Super 8 movies that my dad took were transferred to VHS tape and then to CD.  Although there were plenty of photos, there definitely weren’t hundreds and most definitely not thousands.  Film cameras limited the number of photos taken back then, and there was a cost involved to get them developed.

Fast forward to my own family – my eldest daughter was born in 2001. Film cameras were still predominately used and the iPhone had not been invented at that point!  I took heaps of photos, but definitely not in the hundreds or thousands.  In 2004 my second daughter was born, and around that time I bought a small, digital camera.  From then on, I took a mix of digital and film and by about 2008 I was completely immersed in the digital world and the amount of photos I was taking of my daughters increased dramatically.  Nowadays I don’t take so many photos of them – as young adults, they don’t let me!

I think of the mums with young kids these days. With an iPhone or similar at their disposal, it is so easy to take thousands of photos and document every moment of their children’s lives.  This is great, but it also means that there are thousands of photos that need to be organised, shared and kept secure.  It can easily become overwhelming and with so many photos, it makes projects such as printing out photos for an album, or making a photo book, or selecting a certain amount of images for use at significant birthdays very difficult.  How are you ever meant to choose your favourites, when there are so many to choose from??!

I love taking photos, and knowing the work involved with collecting so many images, I try to work on the ‘less is more’ theory.  How many photos do we actually need to document the lives of our children?  What are we planning on actually doing with all of these photos we’re taking, and how can future generations enjoy them?

I think it’s wonderful that people can take photos of their kids so easily these days – there are so many ways to document their lives, both digitally and in print.  But I also think it’s worth being mindful of the work involved in organising these photos and the way in which they are shared.  If anything, it’s good practice to delete any duplicates or duds as you go along to limit the amount of images that you have stored.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your photos and need help to manage, organise and share, please don’t hesitate to contact me for help.

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