According to Yahoo, which owns Flickr and therefore presumably knows what its talking about, people will take 880 billion digital family photos this year – and approximately 879 billion of them will be taken by parents (that’s just quick back of the envelope math). The ability to capture every bug Junior eats this weekend in stunning hi-res should be a good thing, but parents are increasingly overwhelmed by their own photo output and concerned about how it will all be saved for posterity.
There are plenty of big players offering solutions – Flickr’s free terabyte of storage and DropBox’s sharing app Carousel come to mind – but there are more interesting photo apps popping up as well, with tools specifically helpful to a father carrying 16 gigs of cute around on his phone.
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How It Works: Lifecake organizes all your kid’s photos into a timeline that turns your phone into something of a life journal. From the timeline, you can annotate and share everything, but the images also live in the cloud. Invited friends and family can view the pictures on any device or download them from the Lifecake website, where they can also order hard-bound books.
What’s Awesome:Super clean and intuitive interface is engrossing. The more photos of your kids are in a timeline, the more time you’ll spend on the app.
What’s Less Awesome: Lack of any other price tier makes it an expensive option just when it starts to get good. Social sharing to Facebook only.
How It Works: While it can’t keep pace with Lifecake’s slick design, Keepy offers similar functionality plus a few extras. It allows for audio annotations of your kids photos, so your kids can explain what they were thinking when they put their hand in that pie. The service is considerably cheaper and also offers printing, and does so on a vast and varied selection of clothes and tschotkes.
What’s Awesome: The number of things you can have your kid’s mug printed on is ridiculous and includes playing cards, puzzles, water bottles and dog sweaters. Also, mugs.
What’s Less Awesome: Once you assign friends or family to a kid, they’ll all see it when you share a photo – there’s no way to deselect someone from a specific photo (so whoever they are better really like your kid). Also the term “Keepies” makes us want to punch it in the face.
How It Works: Timeshel puts a twist on the familiar photo printing service by delivering 30 prints a month, which you select from your phone, in a clever storage box/picture frame. These “shels” stack horizontally into drawers or vertically into books, which makes it easy to store a physical archive of your favorite images.
What’s Awesome: If you like having prints, it’s ridiculously simple to use.
What’s Less Awesome: 15 bucks a month ain’t nuthin’.
$15 for 30 prints per month (iOS)
How It Works: KidPost scans your Facebook and Instagram feeds for any image that includes the hashtag “kidpost,” and emails copies of those images to a mailing list (presumably of luddites who can’t communicate digitally beyond their AOL inboxes).
What’s Awesome: The simplest, most idiot-proof way to make sure your parents see every photo of their grandkids.
What’s Less Awesome: It does absolutely nothing else.
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How It Works: Memoir automatically organizes your photo library according to date, location and other metadata and creates a photo journal of your life. It then reminds you of specific memories at specific times and locations. It encourages sharing as a means to “fill out” individual memories by linking your imagery from a time and place with friends who were also there and took photos.
What’s Awesome: Unlike other journaling and photo apps, most of what Memoir does is automated and presented to you, updated, every day. Also, “memory storage,” as opposed to just photo organizing, has crazy sci-fi, future-is-now potential.
What’s Less Awesome: You need to encourage lots of people in your social circle to use the service for it to fulfill that potential, and your parents may be baffled by it.
How It Works: Picturelife is a hyper-functional version of your phone’s photo stream, automatically organizing your library by date, location and people. It makes gallery creation and sharing simple and intuitive, and allows for image editing after upload.
What’s Awesome: Clean and intuitive interface, robust functionality.
What’s Less Awesome: Piecing together similar functionality for no cost is pretty easy, there’s no sharing to Instagram.
Can Do Baby
How It Works: Can Do Baby organizes your photos around your kids in a way that’s similar to Keepy, but allows you to assign specific milestones to images. Essentially a digital scrapbook, the photo app uses those milestones to lay out customizable digital books, which you can then have printed and shipped to friends and family.
What’s Awesome: A highly customizable and efficient way to send baby books as gifts to anyone who wants them.
What’s Less Awesome: The book templates, milestones and overall feel of the thing may feel like a better fit for your partner than for you.
Books start at $25 for 30 pages (iOS)
How It Works: Cluster allows you to create “spaces” that contain images organized around a single topic (i.e. your adorable children), and then invite friends and family to those spaces. Once there, they can comment on images, upload their own images or download the images you’ve posted.
What’s Awesome: Simple and streamlined, sort of like a private Instagram for you, your siblings and your parents to use for sharing images of the kids.
What’s Less Awesome: Do you want to teach your parents how to use a private Instagram?
If we missed your favorite photo organizing/sharing/storing/printing/shutting-your-parents-up app solution, let us know here: firstname.lastname@example.org