Musings of a Snapshooter that Converted to a Family Memory Keeper

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Jul 22, 2010

14 months ago, I gave birth to my first child, a little boy. Prior to his birth, I had spent a lot of time speaking with clients about the opportunity that mothers represent to the photography industry. I could see from the many of the surveys that we conducted in Europe and the U.S. that mums (or moms) take many photos and also print and share a great deal of them. Mums are typically less affluent than male Hobbyists, but they seem to be willing to spend a larger proportion of their income on photos. Now that I am a mother myself, I can speak with conviction about why mums are so photo-active.

A couple of weeks before my baby was due, I convinced my husband that we would need a DSLR to shoot perfect photos. We spent £700 on our Nikon D90–at the time, it was the only DSLR with HD video that we could afford. Once our baby arrived, we began snapping photos continually and shooting videos on a weekly basis. While my son is sleeping, I spend hours uploading my latest photos and videos to Smugmug, Facebook, and Picasa to share with friends and family members. I have also created countless photo cards using my home printer. Over the past 14 months, I would estimate that I’ve spent £150 on ink and £50 on photo-quality paper. This doesn’t include the money that I’ve spent on stamps so that I could send cards to friends and family members around the world.

Last Christmas, I sent all of my family members a photo gift of some sort. I made 3 photo books, which cost £50 each using Blurb (www.blurb.com). These were big hardcover books (60 pages) wrapped with an image. Yes, they were expensive–but what a lovely thing to have for the future and to share with the grandparents. I made diaries, calendars (www.photobox.com), Christmas cards (www.shutterfly.com), and even a couple of aprons (www.bagsoflove.co.uk). In total, I probably spent about £300 on various photo merchandise products. The bottom line is that in the 14 months since my son was born, I’ve probably spent around £1,500 on photo-related products.

Some of you might be thinking, “But you’re not an average mum… you work in the photo industry.” I will say that even when I go to play groups with my son, I find it hard to forget that I’m an analyst. Every play group is like an informal focus group. Mums bring their point & shoot cameras along so they can take photos of their children whilst they play. Today’s small compact cameras easily fit into the large changing bags that most mums carry with them at all times. Every day, my Facebook mum friends upload new photos of their children. All of my friends own point & shoot cameras, and some of them own DSLRs. They all print and some are making photo gifts. We all discuss special offers and pass on links to Web sites. I might not be a typical mother, but I don’t know any mum who doesn’t take photos of her child.

The photo industry can make some long-term investments by lobbying the European Union to better support families with young children. This can help reverse the declining birth rates in Europe. In turn, this would ensure that there is at least a steady (and hopefully growing) supply of baby photos as doting parents and grandparents strive to capture and preserve their precious memories.

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