Sleepy bedtime pictures {5 easy steps}

Awhile back, I promised a blog post on photographing your little ones while they sleep.  So, here it is- all the tips you need to know (and some pretty pictures to go along with them).

Five Steps to Sleepy Photographs.

1. Clear the clutter before hand. While I try not to “stage” my pictures, I do take steps to make sure that the end result will be a simple, beautiful picture. No, I don’t make my bed or pick up my room or the kids room every day, but when I know I want a good picture during a nap or after they go to bed, I will take a few minutes to clear off the millions of stuffed animals and  throw a fresh blanket down. With that said, there ARE times where I want to capture life as it is, and on those days I might not take the effort to do these things. Life isn’t perfect, so every single picture doesn’t have to be. I also embrace the mess, the sticky faces, the clutter and chaos. Shoot what you want to remember.


2. Turn off your flash! It will wake the sleeping kid, for one thing, but it also can wash out the picture and take away from that dreamy mood. However, you still need a light source of some kind, so decide what that is before you shoot. Often times I will have my husband point his iPhone flashlight at my subject. Leave a hall light on bright to get some light in the room, or if it is nap time open the curtains a little. My light source for this picture was coming from the right side (a window) and enhanced a bit in post processing.


3. Raise your ISO and embrace the grain! There is no way around it. Unless you are shooting at nap time during daylight and have some natural light flowing in, you will need to crank up that ISO. It’s ok! A little noise in your picture helps give it that more moody look. There are also plenty of editing programs out there that can take the noise out of your picture (I use Lightroom to reduce noise in my own).


4. Shoot as wide open as your lens will let you to allow more light in. Since your ISO is already high, you will most likely need to get light from another source. You can slow your shutter down since your subject isn’t moving, but shooting wide open will provide  you with that nice, creamy blur behind your subject.


5. The color white. Those that have taken my workshops know how fanatical I am about the color white. My bedspread used to be purple. Last year I went out and purchased all new white bedding. It helps reflect light and eliminates color casts from colored blankets. I love photographing my kids on my bed even when it isn’t bedtime, and I knew this would make me love those pictures even more. You don’t have to go out and buy new bedding, but even just throwing down a white blanket or having them sleep on a white sheet can help get a little more light in your picture.


I don’t limit my bedroom shooting to bedtime. I actually LOVE to use my bed and the girls love me letting them jump around in their pajamas. I challenge you all to take your camera out at least once this week and see what you get! I also love using my iPhone for bedtime pictures. Have fun with it! I would love to see what you get, so tag me in your pictures or send me an email. Have fun!

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