Preserve those memories: 5 tips to make better home movies

1. Talk to the camera. This will feel terribly awkward at first.

Preserve those memories: 5 tips to make better home movies

You had a baby, and you have a cell phone, and you’ve taken a million video clips of your child doing everything—from crying to crawling, to eating spaghetti. How do you take these clips from taking up space on your phone, to something that you can share with your family and not feel like you’re forcing them to watch that “cute thing your baby did”?

Here are 5 tips to creating home movie memories your family will watch and re-watch for years and years to come.

1. Talk to the camera

Thoughts On Baby 15 (Instagram Cinema) from John Jenkins on Vimeo.

That’s right, address the future viewer. Contrary to your belief while filming, the moment is as much about your emotional response as it is the thing your child is doing.


This will feel terribly awkward at first. Talk about where you are, what day it is, what time it is. Talk about what you’re feeling. You woke up tired and the baby was crying, but after you changed the diaper and sat him back down he gave you an earth shaking “love you” and you caught it on camera! Talk about how this feels for you.

Speak to the future version of your child, because after all, that’s who we are truly capturing these memories for, right? Talk to your child and tell them all the things that you are feeling in that moment. So that years from now, your children can get a perspective into who you are/were as a person.

2. Don’t shoot at the sun

If your subject is between you and the sun...move. Adjust yourself so that you’re shooting away from the sun.

Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule, but be aware of where the sun is in relationship to you and your subject. This helps so that the viewer can see faces. Action is great, but the viewer truly desires facial interaction. That’s why close up shots in movies are so impactful. It allows the viewer to read subtle cues portrayed by the subject. Let the viewer in!

3. Move the camera around

Year In Review - "The Year Of The Baby" from John Jenkins on Vimeo.

Don’t just roll camera from your place in the chair. Get up close, then step back for a wide shot. Then move around the subject a little. Set the scene with your shots. Give us a wide to tell us where we are, then give us a close up to give us the emotional reaction. Then move to mediums. All of these different shots will help with the next step.

4. Trim the fat

Thoughts On Fatherhood, Our Elliot from John Jenkins on Vimeo.

Even if you have no experience with editing video together at all, there are mobile apps that can help you through the process.

iMovie for your iPhone or iPad is a great place to start. This will allow you to import the clips you’ve shot and arrange them in a way that feels interesting to you. Cut out the fat of the footage. There will always be fat in your footage. Your thumb in the first three seconds? The long wait for Jimmy to open his present? Just show me the good stuff.

Don’t get too attached. If you feel like you don’t need it—cut it. Add some music to set the mood or tell us what time period we’re in and add titles if you need to explain where you are or what you’re doing.

5. Share it

Year In Review 2016 "The Year Of Settling In" from John Jenkins on Vimeo.

Export this newly created masterpiece out of your phone or other software and consider this your final piece describing the day’s events. For me, this even means getting rid of the original footage. Leaving me with a tangible final home movie for me to consume over and over again. Use YouTube to save it forever, (you can set it to private if you’d like) and enjoy your home movies over and over again as bite-sized “episodes” rather than clips.

Think of the moments of life as episodic stories. Yes, they may only be interesting to you and your immediate family but an episode called Christmas 2016 is much easier to watch over and over again than 48 individual clips of your children opening presents. It’s very easy, and it takes minimal extra effort, and you’ll have a legacy of memories to look back on.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

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Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


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There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


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Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


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After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


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Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

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Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

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When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

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Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

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This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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We’re the ones who carry them for nine months, so it can be a bit of shock when a baby is born looking nothing like us. It might even feel a bit unfair, but don’t take it too hard, mama. Science proves looking like dad has some big benefits for babies.

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