'My first year' in print: celebrate your baby's big moments with the Canon SELPHY CP1500

First years only happen once, but printed photo albums can last a lifetime. Portrait photographer Jemella Ukaegbu shares her best tips to capture and preserve this special period.
A person sticks printed photos in a scrapbook, as other prints lie next to a Canon SELPHY CP1500.

The first year of any special relationship is filled with unforgettable moments, such as the first time your child smiles or the first walk with your new puppy. Even the nervous feeling you get on a first date with the person you'll go on to spend the rest of your life with. Events such as these are truly worth remembering and celebrating.

Portrait photographer Jemella Ukaegbu, known as Mellz, knows how to capture a moment perfectly. In her professional life, she shoots weddings, christenings and birthday parties for clients, alongside couple and newborn portraits. She fell in love with photography as a child, looking through photo albums and stacks of printed photographs taken by her parents. These showed her what life was like before she was able to remember it.

"I love photo albums because they can tell a story both with and without words, that anyone can follow as they dive deeper and deeper into the pages," says Mellz. After looking back at photos of her daughter's first year, Mellz knew she wanted to remember it through more than just digital images, so she made a photo album with the help of the Canon SELPHY CP1500. Here, she shares her tips on how you can do the same.

Getting started: the selection process

A young child looks through family photographs with her mother.

Choosing photos for your album is great fun and something your children can easily get involved with. The Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app can help simplify the process, as it enables you to print your favourite images directly from your smartphone.

A person uses the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app on their smartphone to create a collage of four photos.

The Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app has in-built templates that allow you to arrange multiple images into one print, so you can fit more into your family album.

It's unlikely that you'll take the time to look back through every digital photo you took during your baby's first year. As you try to document every precious moment, digital albums on your phone and camera memory cards will inevitably fill up with thousands of images. However, a physical photo album or scrapbook is different. Selecting the best shots from the thousands you've taken and printing them out means you're much more likely to revisit those moments. And the process of selection can be rewarding too.

"I like to organise in sections," says Mellz. "Months are easier than milestones, because galleries [on smartphones and laptops] can be searched by months, which makes it easier to select your photographs." Choosing a few photos that best sum up each month is a good place to start.

If you find it too hard to choose, the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app gives you the option to arrange up to eight images together in one print, so even if you've only bought 50 sheets of paper, you aren't limited to just 50 pictures. It also allows you to add text, stickers and borders to your layouts to really bring them to life. Once you've made a folder of your favourites, it's time to plug in your printer.

Setting up your SELPHY CP1500

A pair of hands loads a cartridge into the Canon SELPHY CP1500.

The Canon SELPHY CP1500 comes with a standard paper cassette (PCP-CP400) for postcard-size prints. A PCC-CP400 paper cassette for credit card-size and square-shaped prints and stickers, as well as mini stickers, can be purchased additionally.

Setting up your Canon SELPHY CP1500 is easy. First, download the SELPHY Photo Layout app onto your smartphone. Once installed, use the app to scan the printer's QR code. This will wirelessly link your phone to the printer, leaving you with just one more job: loading the paper and ink.

The SELPHY CP1500 supports multiple paper types, ranging from postcard-sized paper (RP-108 and KP-36IP) to mini stickers (KC-18IL), with credit card (KC-36IP and KC-18IF) and square-shaped paper (KC-18IS) sizes in between. Each paper pack includes an ink cartridge loaded with the exact amount of ink needed.

Once you have loaded the paper and ink, you can select a photo from your smartphone through the SELPHY Photo Layout app. If you'd rather print through your computer or Canon cameras1, you can do so by connecting via Wi-Fi or by using a USB-C cable. The printer also has an in-built reader that supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.

Once you're set up, it takes only 41 seconds to print a photo. And the small, lightweight SELPHY CP1500 creates high-quality prints at the same level as a print lab from the comfort of your own home.

"The SELPHY CP1500 makes me more excited about printing photos. It's compact enough that we can have it set up in our kitchen, and seeing it means I want to print more. Being able to connect to my phone and control everything with the app is so simple," says Mellz.

Laying out your photos

A pair of hands holds a photo printed from the Canon SELPHY CP1500, as the printer sits atop a table, surrounded by multiple prints.

It's always a good idea to lay out your photos to find an order you're happy with, before you commit to gluing them in. If you end up printing more than you need, put them in a frame, send to family members, or – if printing with sticker paper – peel the back off and stick to flat surfaces around your home.

A person sticks a printed photo of a mother holding a baby in their scrapbook.

Printing on sticker paper means you can stick photos into your album or scrapbook without the need for additional glue or tape. It really couldn't be easier.

"I'd advise anyone making their own photo album for their child's first year to do so in chronological order. That's how I do all my photo albums, because I want to relive the journey as it happened," says Mellz.

Mellz started the album with pregnancy shots, and incorporated pictures of scans taken before her daughter was born to capture the whole experience. If you're going to follow her advice and print the whole journey, it can be a good idea to print your photos first and arrange them in chronological order before you commit to sticking them in your album.

Try different arrangements and get creative with the full range of paper types, adapting your layout for each new page. If you want to incorporate documents, such as your child's birth certificate or cards sent to celebrate the birth, simply take a photo of the document and print it out from the Canon SELPHY CP1500 to remember every moment and add variety to your photo book.

Getting ahead: next year's album and beyond

A person uses a pair of scissors to cut out printed images, preparing to stick them in their scrapbook.

Once you've arranged multiple photos onto one piece of sticker paper, you can cut them out to turn one print into multiple, smaller stickers. Try different paper sizes in combination with each other to bring your albums to life.

A person helps her child to stick photos in a scrapbook by guiding the child's hands.

Looking through photo albums with your family is fun, but making photo albums with them is even better. And don't worry about grubby fingers: Canon SELPHY CP1500 prints are over-coated with a special film, so they can be preserved for up to 100 years 2 .

Once you've made your first photo album, you might approach the next one slightly differently. Taking more time to capture moments that you know will be in a photo album could mean introducing suitable props, such as birthday cakes or balloons, to signify special milestones, or taking more time to think about lighting and composition in first-day-at-school photos or family portraits. One piece of photography advice from Mellz is to remember that "photography is just drawing with light, so think about capturing important moments at the best times of day or in well-lit spaces".

Once you've captured your images, you don't need to stop at printing just for photo albums. Photos can be cut and pasted into scrapbooks for a more artistic keepsake. Postcard-sized prints allow you to make it personal and brighten your loved ones' day. Credit card-sized prints can be kept in your purse as a little reminder of a particularly happy moment. Sticker prints can be used to decorate stationery, bedroom furniture or kitchen appliances.

There are so many ways to enhance your life with printed photos, and the Canon SELPHY CP1500 makes it easy to print every day.

Written by Matthew Bowen

  1. PictBridge-compatible cameras.
  2. When stored in an album. Based on accelerated testing, assuming a temperature of 23°C / 73.4°F and humidity of 50%.

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