In recent years we have witnessed a shift from qualitative image analysis towards higher resolution, quantitative analyses of imaging data in developmental biology. This shift has been fueled by technological advances in both imaging and analysis software. We have recently developed a tool for accurate, semi-automated nuclear segmentation of imaging data from early mouse embryos and embryonic stem cells. We have applied this software to the study of the first lineage decisions that take place during mouse development and established analysis pipelines for both static and time-lapse imaging experiments. In this paper we summarize the conclusions from these studies to illustrate how quantitative, single-cell level analysis of imaging data can unveil biological processes that cannot be revealed by traditional qualitative studies.