Why Every Parent Needs a GoPro

This is not an endorsement, I have not been provided any product or monetary incentive to write this. This is simply a dad having an epiphany on the value of recording video of his ever growing baby, and I just so happen to use a GoPro Hero.

 

I suppose the title of this post should be “Why Every Parent Needs to Video Record their Kid”, but that for some reason sounds a little pervy – so here’s Why Every Parent Needs a GoPro.

Front ShotSince the start of summer, I have ventured into the world of video making. No, I have not become a vlogger – my life is far too uninteresting and I do not have the charisma and youthful energy for it. But instead I have made an effort in recording and editing home videos of my family.

I already capture my day-to-day life as a new dad through my instagram feed and this blog. But I discovered recently the wonders of recording video – and that got me realizing that this is something all new moms and dads should do. I don’t intend to make this post a GoPro Hero review, but because it’s been what I’ve been using – so I’ll throw in some thoughts about it.

I purchased the base model GoPro Hero for my recordings and obviously it doesn’t have to be the GoPro brand. In fact it can be of any action-cam variety like Sony’s FDR line or the Xiaomi Yi cameras. It really doesn’t matter the brand, and  I think  most parents who are looking into buy a camera would do enough homework ahead of time.

For instance, my three major criteria for buying an action camera in general are simplicity, affordability, and durability. The GoPro Hero that I purchased just so happened to fit these requirements.

Simplicity

I would say I’m pretty tech savvy. But if I wasn’t, I would still be able to figure out how to use this camera. 

Some would say missing LCD, I would say calculated simplicity
Some would say missing LCD, I would say Calculated Simplicity

And I think that’s the whole point of these action camera, they want to be as user-friendly as possible so that you can focus on shooting.

Although for the uninitiated, I did find for some people (hi wife!) that they pointed the camera the wrong way the first time they used it- which naturally lead to some hilarious close up videos. But truthfully, it would take a regular person maybe 10 minutes to figure out how to turn it on, record, and turn off.

Straight off the bat, you’ll notice that the GoPro Hero does not have a LCD display to view your videos. At first I thought would be disappointed without this feature, but I quickly realized that by not having a display, it allowed me to focus on recording my baby while keeping the camera steady.

With an ultra wide-angle lens shooting at 170 degrees, all I really need to do is to ensure the camera is centred. I simply learned to trust that the camera would capture what I want it to capture – and for the most part it does it’s job.

More importantly, by a simple press of a button, I am able to quickly record whatever is happening.  This has been especially useful, as I been capturing all of those “first-time” moments with my daughter.

Durability and Handling

I’ve taken the GoPro underwater in a lake, let the sun and wind blow at it while driving 100 km/hour, I’ve dropped, slammed, and kicked the device and it’s still going strong. In a bigger endurance test, the GoPro has even been pitted against my 10 month old’s mouth.

The Ultimate Endurance Test
The Ultimate Endurance Test: A 10 Month Old

This speaks to the purpose of this device. In contrast, I have an enormous Galaxy Note 5 as a phone, and to add to my struggle: I have butter fingers. Pulling out my phone with one hand and recording a video sideways is pretty difficult, and often times I risk dropping the phone. With having a dedicated device to record videos while I’m chasing a baby around, I can afford to fumble and drop the GoPro without worrying about a cracked screen.

The ability to start recording with a press of a button is refreshingly simple, and in my dad realm, I need all the simplicity in life, with how complicated life can be as a new dad.

I Got Butter Fingers
I Got Butter Fingers

Affordability

Yes, this is was an older model, and but I still think I got a pretty good deal for it at under $150 CAD. For it’s price, if I ever did break it, or lose it, I won’t be losing too much sleep over it – compared to say losing my X100T, or my Canon DSLR.

These kids are expensive – and we parents need to be fiscally responsible, I simply can’t afford to spend too much on a video camera, and the price point actually fits my needs. In other words: I’m a cheap dad.

By nature of this camera being a base model, it actually works to my advantage, as when it’s time to edit these videos, my three year old computer has enough resources to actually edit the videos at a decent pace.

The newer models record in 4K with image stabilization etc…but if I were to realistically edit those type of videos, I would immediately need a computer upgrade to keep up with the specs. Right now, my videos are recorded at 720P 60FPS and my system handles it just fine.

In an ideal world I would love to record and capture at the highest resolution – but again, I’m trying to be a fiscally responsible parent here. Plus, I don’t think my wife would appreciate me falling down the gear and gadget rabbit hole of… “well now that I have this, I need that to work with it… then I’ll need to buy that!

She ain’t buying it, and therefore neither will I.  ?

Learning Stuff: Video Editing 

The superwide lens means, distorted but unique captures.
The super-wide lens means, distorted but unique captures.

Another totally unexpected thing with recording home videos was the amount of knowledge I gained from trying to figure how to edit the footage. If you were to tell me a year ago that I would know how to produce a short movie with video effects, text, and music synced along the way, I would not have believed you. The fact that I was able to learn and develop video editing skills was pretty awesome. In a generation dominated by YouTube and Snapchat – videos are here to stay. So why not pick up on these skills, so that you can at least try to help your kids when they eventually try to create something with videos down the line?

Granted my baby is only 10 months old, by the time she’s old enough to do this kind of stuff, I’m pretty sure she’ll be doing holodeck-like VR stuff. And I’ll be the cranky old man saying stuff like, “Back in my day,  we recorded in 4K!!”

Conclusion

I honestly did not think I would ever become a “video” person. Whenever I watched videos of people I thought, “Who the heck cares about this bozo in front of the camera?” But you know what? Now I care about the bozo and the baby bozo in front of the camera, and videos have become a thing when it comes to family outings and excursions. I love the ability of reliving the day, or better yet compare my baby’s cheek sizes from one movie to another.

I also get the added bonus of having the future of option comparing my receding hairline from year-to-year. The way I see it is, I might as well put in some work now, so that I won’t regret not doing it.

Hairline aside, I feel very fortunate to realize the benefits of video recording these little and big moments, cause even now I get to compare how fast my daughter is growing up.

So if you’re a parent who is on the fence about whether or not you should do home videos of your kids, there’s no better time to start now. Pick up a camera and start making movies, cause before you know it your kids will grow up faster than your hairline recedes.

Work Sample:

I guess it wouldn’t be a post about a video camera, without video. Here’s proof of the video editing stuff that I was talking about:

 

Feeding time is extra cool when she busts out these moves. ?

A video posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

 


I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. ?

Dear Me From One Year Ago

Dear Me from One Year Ago,

 

If you are reading this your life will change in a week. I know by now both you and your wife have been trying to conceive without success. I want to tell you both to not lose hope. By now both of you have learned that getting knocked up is not as easy as it seems like on TV and in movies, and both of you probably feel pretty down on yourselves.

Don’t worry.

In one week when your wife goes to the doctor to check up on pelvic pain, you’ll both realize that she did not pull or strain anything, and that it’s really her lady parts doing some Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for a new inhabitant.

 

Yep that's your kid
Yep, that’s you holding a photo of your kid

Sorry to spoil the surprise a little but hear me out: Your life is about to change as things will never be the same, but the funny thing is, things will also feel so right.

Let me get some things out of the way. Your hometown Raptors will get swept in the playoffs, so don’t waste time there. I mean still cheer, but just know that it’s not the end of the world when the Wizards dismantle your team. The only significant thing about the playoffs is that you’ll find out she’s pregnant in at the doctor’s office while you stream the game with headphones on. The wife will come out, and give you a look that you’ll never forget.

Remember and savour that moment as I still do.

From the moment you find out, you’ll go through a lot of changes. Not nearly the same as your wife, but enough for you to realize that pregnancy is truly a shared experience.

For starters you will become the food police. Seriously, everything your wife puts in her mouth you’ll do a quick google search to see if it’s poisonous for her and the baby. My advice is to be reasonable but firm.

You’ll also learn that your wife will have crazy food swings, and get this: she’ll hate eating chicken. WTF right? How can she hate chicken? That’s your favourite animal!!! It’s just the hormones man. So stop reading and get an order of Popeyes in your system while you still can, cause the next nine months you can put a hold on eating poultry.

You’ll also buy a lot of crap. I mean a lot. Some stuff you didn’t even know existed. But don’t fret, most of the junk you buy is actually useful, so just smile and nod when she asks you if it’s okay to buy whatever. When you are shopping just don’t forget to have fun along the way. I know you will…I mean check this out:

Dad-to-be testing...oh geez.
You’ll make shopping fun…and embarrassing

Yep, you’ll still pull crap like this…And even though I’m warning you not to be an idiot, I know you’ll make it a goal to definitely do it.

Oh one final thing about buying stuff: your baby will be a little bit bigger, so just ease off on the newborn stuff.

So far, things sound okay, right? Well, here’s where you need to pay a little closer attention as I’m warning you now, not everything is as light-hearted and peachy.

You yourself will grow up more. I know you may think that you already know everything there is to know and that you are already mature. But something inside you will change, and you will somehow become more appreciative of life. You will appreciate your wife more, and definitely appreciate mom and dad more than ever. This is because you will begin to think like a parent and understand what they went through.

You're going to want to get comfortable searching on your phone on your back
You’re going to want to get comfortable searching for stuff on your back

What does “thinking like a parent” mean? Basically you’ll begin to worry about things. A lot of things. You’ll have some insecurities about your role as a husband and father. You’ll have many nights of waking up and googling answers. You will dig though forums and message boards to see whether what your wife is experience is common. Let me tell you this, the more you read into it, the worse it becomes. But you have a big role in all of this. The thing is you need to keep your wife sane and calm during those moments, so be the strong, calm, optimistic husband that you are.

Weeks 6, 8, 20, and 25 will be scary and both you and your wife will go through some heavy stuff. But just know that after each of these episodes, your bond with your wife will become even stronger, and both of you will be able to talk and laugh about these moments eventually. I’ll spare you the details, but you’ll quickly learn that pregnancy is f*cking scary.

You’ll also figure out that most people who share great news about pregnancy on social media are not trying to brag about their happiness, but rather they are simply celebrating all of the little triumphs after facing the scary moments.

 

Your perspective will change and you’ll never fear and doubt so much in your life, but that’s just the process of it all. Just protect your wife and yourself, and the rest will take care of itself.

This was me in NYC, ditching the wife to do a photo shoot. I will never live this down.
That’s you, and the last cool thing you’ll do in a while. Thank your wife for letting your ditch her for this.

You know how you think you’re so cool in taking street photos? Well that part of your life will draw to an end. Bummer right? Well not quite, you’ll quickly find a new photography outlet, and trust me: it’s wonderful. And if you’re not convinced, let me tell you this: you’ll have a last hurrah so to speak with taking pictures. In fact, you’ll ditch your pregnant wife to go to New York for something photography related, and it will be one of your best moments but also one of your tougher moments. You know what I said about appreciating your wife? You will really appreciate her after this, so never forget it even if she eventually does.

One thing I want to warn you about is to go to the movies while you still can. I can tell you that the last movie you’ll watch before becoming a dad will totally be worth it, and your wife will make it through the entire movie. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Han Solo. (Oops spoiler). Just relax and try to watch the movie without worrying that her water will break. It’ll still be a few days until it really happens.

Here’s a warning though, it might be a good idea to stock up on spicy Korean noodles around the time she’s due. Just saying.

At this point you are probably wondering about the finish line. Well, let me just tell you that your wife will have a smooth labour and delivery. However, both of you will be faced with some complications after the delivery. It’ll be scary, and both of you will be tested. Just know that you’ll both tough it through. Simply trust in your love for your wife, and trust in your strength as a husband. I know you hate asking for help, but you will need to swallow your pride and ask for help. So just face it now: your family and friends will pull through, huge.

I know what I told you sounds frightening, but I am not trying to scare you or warn you to change course.

As a matter of fact the journey you are about to embark on is totally worth it.  As I type this now both your wife and baby are sound asleep and everything just feels right. There’s no better feeling than what I am feeling right now, and I’m damn excited for what you are about to face in the coming year.

Enjoy every moment you are about to experience, because in one year’s time you would want to remind yourself all the awesome you just went through.

Sincerely,

You From One Year Later Today

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P.S. For whatever reason you’ll deciding that “growing” a “beard”  is a great idea. Well this photo might convince you otherwise:

Don't kid your self
Don’t kid yourself Wolverine, use that razor.

 

7 Tips to Help You Take Better Photo’s of your Baby With Just your Phone Camera

When I check out mommy/daddy blogs/Instagram accounts, and see photos of their cute babies and toddlers, most of them are pretty good. I do say most of them, some of them are kind of lacklustre and don’t do their kid’s justice. I mean it shouldn’t really matter if they’re not professionally done, but I always think in my head, “well I think they could do a little better.”

I am by no means an expert (a photo snob – yes), but I feel that I have been quite successful in capturing some of my daughters moments and expressions.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

 This shot was taken with an iPhone

The purpose of this post is to share some of the techniques and knowledge that I use when I take pictures, and hopefully this can help improve the quality of the photos that you take of your kids.

So if you ever asked “How do I take better photo’s of my baby?” I hope this post can offer you some guidance and put you on the right track. It is safe to assume that most people reading this already have a phone with photo taking capabilities so that is why my tips focus on taking good pictures with just a cellphone, not a fancy DSLR or expensive Mirrorless camera. I mean, having children is expensive enough, I’m not going to advise you to spend more money on some stupid camera when you have everything you need already.

Continue reading “7 Tips to Help You Take Better Photo’s of your Baby With Just your Phone Camera”

To Be A Photographer’s Daughter

We get to choose our friends, but not our family.

Is your best friend getting dorkier? Simple: upgrade with a cooler one. Why else are there Snowball 2′s and Comet Jr. Jr’s?

With family members however, your choices are limited, as you pretty much have no chance of replacing them for a better model.

Unless there was some karma lottery system that newborns got to participate in before coming out of mom, your baby is pretty much stuck with you and your family.

And so this is what my Daughter won from the karma lottery:

photodad
Jackpot!

Continue reading “To Be A Photographer’s Daughter”