Baby's First Year, in Two Minutes

Filed under: Media, Activities: Babies


Parents are taking the baby growth chart a giant leap forward. By chronicling their children's growth in more high-tech -- and public -- ways, on blogs and Flickr and YouTube, the whole family can watch junior's expansion phases.

Like this.



"A Year of Lex" is the brainchild of Zachery Bir and Amber Smirnow of Richmond, VA. The couple, both 35, started photographing their son, Alexander, the day he was born, taking one photo each day for an entire year.

"Some friends of ours have a nicely framed set of monthly pictures of their daughter, showing her growth through her first year," Bir told ParentDish via email. "I thought that would be a great project, and I wanted to try my hand at a year's worth of daily shots. We also took weekly shots (every Wednesday) and monthly shots (on the 30th of each month and the 28th of February)."

Bir and Smirnow did minimal staging for the photos; they just let Lex do his infant thing, which included laughing and crying and messing with the props they provided, while the parents focused on the overall quality of the photos.

"We experimented a lot with the proper use of light," Bir said. "You can see early on in the movie that we were using just ambient light, and that forced a lot of post-production to try and bring out an even exposure. What ended up working the best was taking the picture at the same time each day, with only natural light, and using a bounce flash for fill." The charm of the video, of course, is that Lex is never posed; he's a real baby, doing real baby things.

Will they do it again for Lex's second year? Bir said no.

"We've stopped doing daily photos, but are continuing with weekly and monthly. For his third year, we'll be cutting back further to monthly," he said. "He's very mobile now, and doesn't have quite the patience for staying put that he had when newborn."

Bir said that he and Smirnow have been pleasantly surprised by their son's internet fame.

"We're pretty stunned ... overall, we've been really grateful for the reaction it's received," he said.

You can read more about Lex's life at Bir's blog, Urbanape, and at Smirow's blog, Princess Crankypants.

Have you photographed your child's growth?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.