Storytellers Blog Circle | January 2017 / by Andrea Moffatt


This post is one of several in a monthly educational blog circle made up of storytelling photographers and Offset artists. After you read how I shot my storytelling image for the month, click to the next artist at the bottom of my post and follow the circle the whole way around. Enjoy!

ISO 6400, f/1.4, 1/50sec

I'd been trying to get a nice picture of my son sleeping for a while. He is right on the edge of growing into his big boy face. Soon there will be no more of those sweet baby cheeks. I was on a time crunch. I was on a mission.

The problem I was facing was the light source. When you photograph a sleeping child, you usually need to add a little light to the scene (unless, of course, your child needs lots of light to sleep already). I had read about using ipad light, a video light, or flash light. But none were falling softly enough to look natural. Bouncing a speed light off the ceiling or a wall wasn't really an option because it would equally illuminate everything around him- books, wall hangings, etc-- not the look for which I was aiming. I wanted his face to be lit and everything else to fade away. I've successfully photographed my Story of a Day client's sleeping children using simply an open door and hallway light. That's probably my favorite way to do it. However, in our house the door to the hallway is at my son's feet. The door to the closet (another great option, usually) is far across the room and at the wrong angle. 

On this night, he happened to be sleeping with his face close to the window which was covered by room darkening curtains. I pulled back the curtains and the blinds and held them back with one hand, while snapping the photograph with the other. What illuminated his face so magically? The small 7 watt candle in the window! I had discounted it before because I didn't realize how bright it would be if everything was pulled back and his face was close. 

Notice, I still needed to use a high ISO (6400) and the widest aperture I could (f/1.4). If you are attempting a similar shot of your child, don't give up! I tried different light sources for three nights in a row before I stumbled on the candle. Just be creative... it's worth freezing this moment in time. 

PS: Wish me luck-- my next challenge is photographing my other son sleeping high up in his loft. May need to brush up on my climbing skills....

Remember that this post is just a part of our educational Storytellers Blog Circle! Ever wish you were in more pictures with your children? Then don't miss learning how the talented Danielle Navratil set up her camera to capture her playing with her daughter. CLICK HERE!