“…and the children were nestled all snug in their beds”

It’s impossible to not feel at peace when around a sleeping child…and the quiet is kinda nice too, oh and they stay still.  Taking pictures of our babies asleep (both when they’re big and small) is something we all need to do.  We’ve put together a few images and tips so you can create special snapshots of your children in dreamland.

Right Time

When to catch your kids in a deep sleep is more than important for pictures, and usually this is something only you will know.  Lacey and I both like to sneak in about 20 minutes after they’ve fallen asleep, and Ashley waits until it’s almost time for them to wake up…which could be important for those of you with light sleepers!

sleeping child photography by Lacey Meyers

sleeping child photography by Ashley Spaulding

White Noise

My little guys have always slept with a fan or white noise, so make sure it’s running if they’re used to it.  April also recommends playing soft music, which can help mask the sound of the shutter.

sleeping child photography by Leah Cook

sleeping child photography by April Nienhui

Different Angles

Having a sleeping subject means you can really work your angles.  April says, “It’s the one time of day that your kids aren’t running around like a bunch of maniacs so take advantage of their motionlessness and experiment with all kinds of fun, new perspectives.”

photographing sleeping children tutoriald by Leah Cook

photographing sleeping children tutorial

Types of Light

There are no rules with sleep photography.  Available, natural, or even using your flash can work!  Ashley’s images are always full of light and her daughter’s bed is perfectly positioned by the window.  Leaving the overhead light on is always an option, or even a soft lamp or bathroom light. April suggests bouncing her speedlite off of a wall to create a dreamy glow.  As long as your child is in a deep sleep adding extra light shouldn’t wake them.  After reading through Sarah Wilkerson’s book ‘Shooting from the Shadows,’ I’ve pushed myself to shoot in low light and have really learned how to embrace the grain when I bump up my ISO.

photographing sleeping children advice

photographing sleeping children tips

how to take pictures of sleeping kids

Make Adjustments

Lots of us are used to positioning sleeping babies, but they are usually just a few days old and could care less.  It can be done with older kids!  By gently nudging a pillow or blanket out of the way you can expose tiny toes (or even put a baby next to his conked out big brother!)  April tells us, “In the following picture, her head was tilted in a way that was casting some weird shadows along her face but with the slight adjustment of lifting her head a little upward it was perfect. As long as you know they’re good and asleep at least, make any necessary changes needed to their position so that you get that beautiful light.”

how to take pictures of sleeping kids tutorial

photographing the details of sleeping children

Prized Possessions

Blankets, lovies, stuffed animals, etc. are such a big part of childhood, so make sure they’re in the picture too!  Your kids will enjoy reminiscing about a special bear or blankie they had when they were little.  Ashley’s little man has quite the collection!

tips for photographing your child in their crib

tutorial on taking pictures of sleeping kids

Under the Weather

It’s so sad when our babies feel sick, and typically they need lots of extra cuddles and snuggles.  Don’t forget to take advantage of their sleepiness!  This image was taken with my lensbaby.  Try a tilt-shift when they’re sleeping; it’s a great way to practice manual focus!

lensbaby sleeping child photograph


I have yet to experience this, but I’m sure there is nothing sweeter than discovering TWO of your babies snuggled together.  This is definitely a time to drop everything, run, and get your camera! Thanks to Kathryn and Kendra for the gorgeous sibling shots…oh they will love these when they’re all grown up!

advice on photographing sleeping kids

tips on photographing sleeping children

Random Places

I’ve always thought it was hilarious that kids could fall asleep just about anywhere.  Unfortunately mine don’t seem to do that, but what an opportune time to get a great picture!  These two images are from Megan – of her daughter asleep at a restaurant (bring the camera!) and her newborn son asleep while getting a bath.  SO CUTE!

sleeping children photograph

sleeping baby photography

So when your baby takes her nap or the boys go to bed, don’t put the camera away!  Be sneaky and snap some beautiful images of the children nestled all snug in their beds…sweet dreams!