with Courtney Slazinik
Behind the Scenes: Sleeping
Lifestyle, Light, Manual Mode

How to capture a sleeping child photo

Every since sharing my Project 365 photos, I get questions on how I capture certain ones. I thought it would be fun to do some posts describing how I capture a particular photo. Short, sweet, and to the point. So keep an eye on my Project 365. Let me know if there are any other photos you would like to know about the behind the scenes.

We can’t help but want to capture our sweet sleeping children. Sometimes, it is the only time they are still enough to capture.

Behind the Scenes:

1. Turn off your flash

2. Find a light source.
If possible, crack the door to allow the light from the hall to illuminate them. I am not lucky enough have a room where the light hits the beds. So I found another source, a flashlight. You could also use your iPhone.

3. Shine the flashlight to land around your child. Do not shine it on their face.
I pointed the flashlight to land on her sheets by her pillow

4. Crank up your ISO.
Way, way, way up. Max that sucker out.

5. Slow down your shutter speed.
If possible set up a tripod, I didn’t have room for one so I steadied myself and lowed my shutter speed to a point where I thought I could still keep my camera still.

6. Shoot wide open.
Open up that aperture to let in more light. You don’t have to shoot completely wide open, but remember the lower the number the more light it brings in.

7. Click the shutter.

Settings: ISO 6400 | ss 1/100 | f/2.2 | 35mm 1.4 lens

  • Amanda
    January 9, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    You always have the BEST posts! I cannot wait to try this one this weekend :) now, to only catch them sleeping!

  • Rachel
    January 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Love this! Great tips :). Super helpful. I do think you skipped one important step: how to sedate your very light sleeper.

    • January 9, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Rachel – YES, YES, YES. lol I don’t dare creep in the room while my little guy is sleeping.

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      Ha ha I can only help so much :)

  • January 9, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Just found your blog and LOVE the helpful tips!! This one is great. I will definitely have to sneak a photo of my little one soon! :)

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Welcome! Hope you get one. Feel free to post it on our FB if you do :)

  • January 9, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Thanks so much for the tips!! I have hall light that will work perfectly for this, and am anxious to try it….I just wonder, did you spot meter off of her face?? Or did you just set your settings with the high ISO, wide aperture, and shutter speed that you thought you could pull off?? (I’m a meter addict, I forget that we can take control of our settings without worrying about the meter when we want to!!) This is such a sweet shot!!

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      That is fantastic you have a hall light that will work. Yes, I metered off her face :)

  • January 10, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    What a beautiful image. Thank you for taking the time to share how to create such a photo.

  • January 10, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Hi there! I love this idea of sharing how you capture certain photos! I’m new to the DSLR world (let me rephrase that, I’m now finally trying to learn more about my DSLR) and this helps a ton!! I just joined in on the 365 challenge!! Yay!

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      Glad you joined in! The 365 is perfect for learning more about photography!

  • Emily
    January 10, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Really enjoy your posts! Just caught some great shots of my little princess sleeping! Nap time allows for more light! :)

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      Yes, nap time is definitely better for more light but if you want a dramatic light shot now you can tackle it :) Glad you snagged some images of your little one!

  • Alysa
    January 10, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    Awesome! Thank you! I would LOVE more posts like this!!

  • January 13, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    I loved this article! My little man is sick and I thought it would be a perfect way to capture the moment for my P365 project. I’m in LOVE with the image I got – thank you!

    Here’s where I posted on my blog about it:

  • Eliana
    February 10, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Hello Courtney,
    Thank you for your tips but for me haven’t been enough :-(
    Bit of beginner over here.
    I used a torch with my phone, camera set on iso 6400/ ss 1/100/ f 2.8 lens 40mm 2.8
    I got a photo but nothing like yours….the torch kind of iluminates the whole scene….how did you obtain just you little one?

    Thanks for helping

    • February 11, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      Just play around with the light. Set the light up to illuminate your little one as you want. Also my settings may be different than what you want to use depending on the light in your image.

  • February 17, 2014 at 5:52 AM

    Always lovely to take pics of my son while he is sleeping. Here is a link to my blog of a shot I took of my son having his afternoon nap on the couch!


  • August 27, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    I’m gonna try this one tonight, love it!

  • Hayden
    May 15, 2017 at 9:04 AM

    Hi to every single one, it’s truly a good for me to pay a quick visit
    this web page, it consists of important Information.
    barcelona trøje

Leave a Comment