Join the Digital Frenzy
These days, everyone expects you to be able to e-mail pictures of your baby -- at the very least. Some parents have Web sites devoted to their baby's growth, complete with digital slide shows set to music.
If you're new to all this, never fear: Joining the digital revolution is as easy as ordering a photo CD when you drop off your film. Better yet, invest in a digital camera. They're still pricey (at roughly $300 to $500, you can pay more for your digital camera than for your stroller and car seat combined), but the joy you'll spread is worth it.
For instance, the same day your baby stands up for the first time, all your relatives can see the photo, or even a short video of the milestone! So with apologies to all of you who are already digital-savvy, here's a non-techie's primer to the world of digital cameras.
Comparing the Costs
Old-fashioned cameras cost you money mostly in film and developing. Digital cameras cost you money in batteries, printing, and memory cards or sticks. Does one work out to be cheaper? It's almost impossible to say. But you have fewer wasted pictures with a digital camera.
In general, the higher the number of megapixels a digital camera has, the clearer the photos will be. If you expect to be printing many of the photos you take -- as opposed to just e-mailing them -- spend the money for 4 to 6 megapixels. If the camera has fewer than 4 megapixels, the image will look slightly hazy when you blow it up.
Load Up on Batteries
Here's what we've learned from our own adventures in digital photography: Never go anywhere without a spare set of batteries. Using the LCD screen as you take photos is especially power-draining, and of course the camera is useless if the batteries run out. In addition, it's a good idea to carry a second memory card for storing pictures in case you fill the one you have.
The biggest drawback of digital photography is that it's far too easy to dump pictures in a folder on your computer and never get around to making prints. In fact, according to Certified Digital Photo Processors, only 13 percent of digital pictures taken ever end up on paper. Don't be a slacker; any of the following ways can help you put your good photos to use.