Photo Challenge: Your Child Sleeping

Over the past 2 years, I’ve had many requests from clients and blog-readers to teach a photography class.  Although I’ve put a lot of thought into it (and would actually LOVE to do it), each new season just proves to be busier than the one before.  So when I recently ran into a client and she and her friend talked to me about how they would love to learn more about their DSLR camera, I thought…

Since I DO enjoy helping others with photography, but do NOT have the time to layout chapters and tour venues to host an event, why not use my blog to offer some GREAT advice that will help others?!?!

If you ‘Like’ Christy Martin Photography on Facebook, you may have seen a post that encouraged everyone to get the camera out DURING nap time!  (If you don’t have a child, pets are equally as fun!)  Luckily, my daughter had pulled a few late nights and early mornings, so this was the PERFECT chance for me to grab my camera and try this ‘SLEEPING‘ Photo Challenge too!

Ready for some TIPS?

1.  NATURAL LIGHT IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.  Ideally, try shooting during a day-time nap (vs. bedtime).  If possible, quietly open any blinds that will allow more natural sun light into the room.

2.  TURN OFF YOUR FLASH.  This has nothing to do with waking-up your subject, but everything to do with allowing beautiful shadows and natural light to make your subject look the most natural.

3.  ADJUST YOUR SETTINGS.  I know it’s intimidating moving the dial from automatic to manual, but you’ll start to see some great results!

  • ADJUST your ISO:  ISO (how sensitive a digital sensor is to light) is decided based on how much light (natural or artificial) you have around you.  In a perfect world, a LOW ISO is best for color and clarity.  However, when you find yourself in a darker environment without enough light, a HIGHER ISO can really help you get your shot.
    To start, look around at the available light that’s around you.  And just for fun, here’s a cheat sheet…
    100:  Use if you’re outside in direct sunlight
    200: Still really bright, but NOT with direct sunlight
    400: Decent light- not too bright, but not super-dark (ie: under shade tree or covering)
    640-800:  Indoors (withOUT great, natural light coming in)?  Start here!
    800+:  Wish you had more light (inside or outside) to work with?  Start here and go up if needed…
  • APERTURE:  (Stay with me… this is going to be really confusing at first.)  Along with ISO, aperture (or ‘f-stop’) is another factor that controls how much light enters into your camera.  Ready for the weird part?  Smaller f-number = larger/’wider’ opening (allowing more light to come in).
    So, if you’re photographing a sleeping child in a room that you wish had more light, LOWER your f-stop.
    The lens you’re using will determine what f-stops you can choose, but I’d suggest trying a LOW APERTURE (1.4, 2.0, 2.8, etc.) to allow MORE light to enter into the camera.
  • SHUTTER SPEED:  In order for your brain to process ISO and f-stops, I’ll keep shutter speeds simple:
    Your shutter speed refers to how long your shutter stays open (which affects how much light enters the camera).  Ideally in a low-light situation, using a SLOWER shutter speed would allow more light to come in and , as a result, be beneficial to your low-light photo.

This photo was taken of my daughter, Rayna.  Because I shot this during the day (and opened her blinds to allow more light in the room), I didn’t need a really high ISO.  For these shots, my ISO was at 400.  My aperture was set at 4.0.  My shutter speed was 1/80.


When I began to teach myself how to move from automatic mode to manual mode, I was very over-whelmed with ALL the information I was reading in the books.  (Yes, this was back when you’d go for a book before a blog.)  So, although there is more to learn and certainly aspects I’m ‘leaving out’, I felt like it would be more beneficial to simply explain the basics for now.

If you like this post, PLEASE leave a comment!   If I see that it’s been helpful, I’d LOVE to post more tips for you!


NOW, who will use these TIPS and JOIN me in this challenge?!?!


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