The Facebook

I’m a photography buff (can you tell from this site?). Like most photography buffs, I have inappropriately grandiose plans for how many awesome new photo skills I will gain, like the time I bought a book on lighting people for portraits so that I could light my new baby for gorgeous photos with a lighting set I’d received for Christmas right before he was born. Of course, by the time I finished the book, he’d learned how to move; so now I have to wait a year or two until he can sit still for a lighted portrait. Fortunately, it turns out that this lighting book is my son’s favorite, and, in fact, a morning when he doesn’t read it is rare.

The Aforementioned Facebook

This book — Step-By-Step Lighting for Studio Portrait Photography! — seems like a good book. It’s got concrete examples and specific instructions and strikes me as really practical. It’s also filled with pictures of women:

The many women's faces shown in glamor shots in Step-by-Step Lighting for Studio Portrait Photography by Jeff Smith

You know, glamour shots.

So, every morning, the baby sits in his bouncer while I shave and brush my teeth and do all that stuff. And, every morning, he’ll grab this book off of my side table((Because I’m finally reading it, even though it’s too late)), ignoring all others, and read it. Baby cranky and fussy? Give him the photography book! Baby crying? Photography book’ll fix it! Happy, quiet baby? There he would be, reading about his softly-lit women in cleavage-enhancing dresses. So, of course, every morning, my wife would see these glamour shots and ask: “is the baby looking at his porn again?”

At first I thought the book, you know, tasted good or something, as it was a fun teething favorite. And, for a moment, I considered that it might be the boobs — after all, who doesn’t love boobs. But then I realized… it’s all faces! The entire book is faces, clearly lit, clearly shot, expressing a specific emotion. Of course the baby loves it.

The Custom Board Book

Now, I’m happy that he can read his face book every day. Although not that he can eat it. Also, I’d like to keep it for reference. So I made him his own, a custom board book with the faces of his parents and grandparents and aunt and even his doggies:

The baby with the board book of his family!

It’s been an amazing success. He reads it almost every day and is engrossed by it. Even if he’s in a cranky mood, the face of one of his favorite family members often distracts him for just a moment. The build quality is decent, and it’s stood up to the gnawings of a teether and even that one time it was flung into the shower by a baby who didn’t want to be stuck in his bouncer in the bathroom while Dad took a shower.

I checked out a few board book vendors online, and ended up with Pint Size Productions, specifically with their cute pre-made layout animal silhouette board book. They had adorable templates and a good price. Using a not-user-unfriendly Flash app on their site, I was able to upload the photos I wanted and place them on the pages I wanted. Most of the work was finding the right photos and exporting a good-quality image to upload to their site.

$24.95 later, plus shipping, baby had a birthday board book!

Two pictures of dogs on a multicolored page with cute turtles in a baby's board book

It’s a big hit! Surprisingly, the favorite pages are actually the dogs shown above. Shown at the right moment, these pages have defused a good number of tantrums. And, of course, the board book format is a big winner. I can see making several more gift books over the next few years! What will the topic be? Depends on which is the next one of of my books that he decides to steal every morning.