Photographer FAQ

What is Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep?

NILMDTS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization consisting of photographers volunteering their time and services to families that are experiencing the death of an infant.  At the parent’s request, an affiliated photographer will meet with the family at a hospital or hospice location to help parents create beautiful heirloom memories of their child.  Our affiliated photographers are dedicated to making this photography session as loving, sensitive and private as possible.  NILMDTS has provided for thousands of families, who have delivered babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying as newborns, with free professional portraits with their baby.

How do I volunteer?

To learn more about becoming a volunteer go to the volunteer information page.

Do you only photograph babies after they die?

No.  We photograph the child at the parent’s request.  Some families want photographs taken while their child is still alive.  Others might prefer to wait until the child passes and can be held close without wires, tubes or monitors.   Additionally, there are circumstances beyond a parent’s control and a child may be born still.  Please keep in mind that this is the only time a parent can create memories with their baby.  It is your responsibility as a professional, to keep an open mind and not to judge a family for their situation or decision.

What is the minimum gestational age of babies who NILMDTS will photograph?

Our guideline for dispatching a volunteer photographer for a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep session is that the baby be at least 22 weeks gestation. This is a baseline from which medical professionals may deviate based upon their experience. It is possible that babies younger or older than 22 weeks would be either advisable or inadvisable.

Do you photograph older children?

NILMDTS mission involves photographing babies who will never have the opportunity to have professional photography. Therefore, we provide remembrance photography to those babies who were stillborn, have died in the early days after birth, have never left the hospital, or who are sent home on hospice.

What is the required NILMDTS gift?

Our standard gift to families includes approximately 25 images on approved media, which have been gently retouched and converted to black and white or sepia, along with a print release. NILMDTS provides the free gift of professional portraiture. Images will be professionally retouched and converted to black and white or sepia tones to create an heirloom quality portrait.  NILMDTS volunteers will not provide the originals, non-retouched, or color images per agency policies and guidelines. A DVD slide show set to music is optional, but we strongly encourage this gift as well since we have partner sponsors ( and Emotion Media) that provide online slide show production with music free of charge.  The slideshow set to music is always very moving and families have let us know how much the slideshow means to them.   We do respect the time our volunteers give us, so if the slide show is not possible we do understand.

Does NILMDTS offer training and support for Affiliated Photographers?

Yes.  We offer our NILMDTS affiliated photographers continuous online training and emotional support through new member orientations, regular webcasts, and training videos.  From time to time, we also offer live training sessions around the country.

Will I always be ‘on call’ as a NILMDTS photographer?

Many areas have implemented different ways of calling photographers and having them sign up for days available.  You can find your Area Coordinator on the Find a Photographer section of our web site.  We suggest that you contact your Area Coordinator to find out how their area dispatches photographers. When a new photographer joins NILMDTS, they are added to the “Find a Photographer” listing on the main website. If a NILMDTS Area Coordinator calls you for a session, depending on your schedule and availability, please respond whether or not you are available for the session. We do ask that if a hospital or family contacts you directly and you are unable to provide the session, please help them in locating another affiliated photographer who could be available.

Am I subject to the HIPAA privacy rule as an NILMDTS photographer?

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and its affiliated photographers are not subject to the HIPAA privacy rule because we are not “vendors” at the hospital, we are guests of the family.  We enter the hospital invited to their bedsides just like a family pastor, rabbi, or chaplain.  This is a question that often comes up when hospitals first learn of NILMDTS.  It would be a good idea for photographers to at least have knowledge of the rule administered by the Office of Civil Rights before performing their first session should the HIPAA question come up.  It is important for photographers to remember to keep each family situation private.