Papa Paparazzi

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner

As a father-to-be, I know it’s natural to feel the pressures of all of my current and upcoming responsibilities. The pressure of settling on a name that the child will be called for the rest of its life is like none that I’ve felt before. (Yes, we think we have an idea for the name. No, we won’t be revealing it — at least not until we reveal the child into world.) Plus, the stereotypical father-worrying-about-finances stuff has me busy opening 529 and savings accounts and investing in all kinds of stocks, funds — not to mention trying to pay more attention in my MBA finance classes. And don’t forget all the usual daddy-version-of-nesting stuff that is nagging at me earlier than it should be: child-safety locks, home improvements, the baby’s room, etc. Of course there’s also a little bit of “Will I be a good father?” stuff rolling around in my head (even though I’m pretty sure I will be).

Thankfully, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about this stuff and it’s all normal, which makes me feel good I guess. Except the one thing I haven’t read much about may be the one thing that’s been nagging at me the most lately. As the father, I am responsible for creating and managing all the multimedia documenting this child’s life. (That is, at least until she gets a cell phone of her own and starts posting inappropriate pictures on the 2023 version of Facebook.) This is a tremendous responsibility, and although I consider myself to be both creative and [somewhat] artistically talented, this task overwhelms me.

Even though there is plenty of pressure that comes along with being the Co-Producer of this child’s life, being the Executive Producer/Director of the Baby Friedman: The Early Years series of movies and slideshows comes with its own set of challenges. In this day and age, there is so much more technology to contend with than my dad had to. I’ll admit, though, in some ways my dad had it hard too. My life as a child, along with my sister’s, was primarily documented by an old school (35mm?) camera (organized by my mom in photo albums) and also an enormous video camera that recorded low quality video onto VHS tapes. The first video camera my dad had even required separate lights and microphones to be set up. So it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Now, though, with improvements in the various media, there also come quite a bit higher expectations. There’s HD video, iPhoto, Final Cut, YouTube, Facebook… Will I be able to keep up with the emerging technologies that come along with documenting every moment of a child’s life? It’s not just all about capturing the first steps anymore. I’ve got to produce some seriously creative stuff. I know the subject will be a good one (any child of Alison’s and mine has got to be a pretty big ham). But what if I miss a great moment? I mean I will literally have a still camera and an HD video camera with me at all times (namely the iPhone), so there’s no excuses for not capturing even a second of cuteness.

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These higher expectations aren’t just society’s — they’re my own. Up until now, I’ve pretty much been content capturing my life (and Alison’s and Princeton’s) using whatever light-capturing device is built into my phone. Sure, we’ve got a point-and-shoot Canon Digital Elph and a little handheld camcorder for some lengthier video-worthy moments. But that’s just not enough for me anymore. I’ve got the next four months or so to become the next coming of Anne Geddes…or at least as good as some of my photographer friends.

That means it’s time to go buy a new camera. Nothing less than a DSLR. And that’s not like picking out whether I want the 32GB or 64GB version of the iPad2. It’s a major decision that I’m not all that well qualified to make. (I’m leaning towards the Canon T2i, in case you have some opinions.) Plus, I will not even know how to use 95% of the camera’s potential at the moment I purchase it. Not to mention my Photoshop skills will have to kick into a higher gear, from somewhere around “I can really only slice up another designer’s images to make a web page” all the way to “I can make my own photographs look high quality and professional.” That’s a big jump, right? On top of all of this, I’ll also have to turn these pictures into brilliant slideshows and add witty captions to the digital albums. Oh, and I can hardly keep iPhoto organized as it is. The amount of pictures is about to increase tenfold. I’m stressing out just thinking about all of this!


On top of all my still-image worries, I also keep asking myself, “Will my iPhone video camera be enough, or do I need to by a Flip HD Camera or something?” Also, “Will short clips on YouTube satisfy me, or will I need to use the appropriate level of Final Cut Pro utilities to make incredibly compelling cinematic motion pictures starring my family?” These are important questions!

I know everything will be just fine once my fatherly instincts kick in. Still, while Alison spends her days and nights feeling kicking while thinking of little baby clothes and all things pink, these are the thoughts that stir around in my head. I can’t wait to annoy the crap out of this kid as I chronicle every moment of her life. I’m sure she’ll thank me eventually.

  1. Ryan
    3/9/2011 8:12 PM

    Having cameras and camcorders on-hand at all times does not guarantee you’ll catch everything you will want to, so I wouldn’t worry too much on what type of hardware to get. Many of the cutest moments worth capturing don’t last long enough to wait for the devices to turn on or the software to load up. So unless you leave them on and within arms reach 24/7, you’ll likely capture only the bigger longer-lasting moments, and you will have to rely on your memories for the smaller things. Trying to capture everything is hard work.

  2. Mom/ Sharon/G'ma to be
    3/9/2011 6:49 PM

    Don’t beat yourself up on your multimedia capabilities. Many of us have seen your talent with that stuff and you’ve definitely got what it takes!! Whether you’re using the camera on your phone or some top of the line DSLR, I know the images will be outstanding.
    And a part of me is also thinking that perhaps you (my tech-nerd SIL, which I say with endearment) probably can’t wait to have a little-bundle-of-joy-of-an-excuse to be able to purchase all that fun new technology. ;-D

  3. mindy
    3/9/2011 5:52 PM

    scratch that, chris says get the new t3i, a few cool new features and a tiny price difference.

  4. mindy
    3/9/2011 5:50 PM

    chris has the t2i and loves it. he is setting up shop as a budding photographer with it. it’s a great choice!

  5. Grandma Ellen
    3/9/2011 4:49 PM

    You are hilarious! My money is on you to do an outstanding job. Do not fret, my son…’ll be a lot of fun (and probably easy) for you. Of course you will be a great father. You had an amazing role model!