Carefully select your images based on the below guidelines and review our Image Guide. Once you have gathered your application info and your images, then you should fill out the application and upload images. Images are not required to be submitted in black & white (B&W); however, all final NILMDTS images are B&W, and demonstrating proper B&W conversion is helpful.
- Fill out the application in full. You cannot click submit unless the application is complete; however, you can save and return to the application at any time. You will receive an email letting you know your application has been submitted after it’s finished. If you are still waiting to receive an email with the confirmation within 24-48 hours, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once your application has been received, it will be evaluated by the NILMDTS Volunteer Application Committee (VAC). This Committee consists of experienced Affiliated Photographers who will score your application.
- We try our best to get all applications evaluated and respond to you within two (2) weeks. If you have questions, please reach out and contact us at email@example.com.
- Learn about the application fee.
Learn More about Skills Criteria and Apply
When you apply to join us, you will submit portrait images that showcase your best work and convey your ability to use controlled light and focus, as well as strong posing techniques. Here is a little more information about these areas:
Requirements for Submitted Images
At NILMDTS, we provide professional-level portraiture to families. As such, you will be asked to submit five (5) indoor posed portrait images demonstrating your ability to use and understand lighting, posing, composition, focus, and attention to detail. Our Image Guide gives examples of images crafted specifically for this application. While all five images need to be portraits of people, please note submissions do not need to include photos of children or babies.
Our Volunteer Application Committee (VAC) will score your application and submission of images based on the following criteria:
Unfortunately, a hospital setting doesn’t generally offer the natural light needed to create the beautiful and timeless images that we want to gift to our families; therefore, it is important that our photographers demonstrate strong lighting skills.
Demonstrating and understanding the use of available light to enhance a portrait and subject. Lighting can be natural or auxiliary light.
We seek photographers who can capture images with incredible focus. The subjects of our images are small but full of detail, and we want to make sure that our families’ eyes are drawn into the image, creating a strong connection. When selecting images to submit, please select those that show your precision with focus.
Demonstrating an understanding of focus with submitted images clearly showing clear and crips focus on the subject(s) as intended.
Posing is a crucial element in the photos we create. Our photographers know the rules of posing and continually work to take pictures with their subjects in the most flattering positions. It is best to avoid submitting candid or snapshots but choose those photos that show your influence as a photographer as it relates to posing.
Demonstrating a clear understanding of posing and composition techniques to properly pose subjects for best lighting and framing.
Demonstrating an understanding of intentional composition and framing portraits appropriately for the subject matter.
Attention to Detail
Demonstrating an understanding of the importance of detail in each submitted image. Assessment will include checking that any distractions have been removed, ensuring the cropping fits the image, and evaluating if there is clear and intentional attention to detail in the submitted photos.
Image Submissions NOT Acceptable (resulting in a request for additional photos)
- Out-of-focus images
- Outdoor photos
- Unposed event, lifestyle, journalistic, documentary (including birth) photography images
- Non-human subjects (i.e. pets, nature, inanimate objects, etc., except a babydoll)
- Images taken at a workshop
For a list of dos and don’ts when submitting images, please see our Image Guide.
Still have questions?
We’d like to encourage you to find answers to frequently asked questions and sign up to receive our informational email series below.
Please fill out the form below to see the scoring rubric our Volunteer Application Committee (VAC) uses to score applications and submissions, get more information, or for additional personalized application assistance.
Understand Your Impact
You will find fulfillment by lending your talent to a parent experiencing the loss of a baby. This service turns a hidden pain into a beautiful portrait; one that brings healing to a family, awareness to a community, and a sense of honor to you.
When the hospital approached us about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep I was unsure if I wanted images due to the great emotional pain I was in. The private portrait session was done with the utmost care, patience, sensitivity, and love. No one ever felt as though someone was there to just take ‘pictures’, but that you were there with us during the last moments while we held our daughter in our arms. The hospital staff and yourself has made this experience so much easier. We now know that in a blink of an eye the world you have built can come crashing down. Until now we have been like most couples, working way more than we should and focusing on things that we know now are not that important. We are closer as a family and have taken time to re-evaluate our lives. We now cherish every day. I strongly urge parents to take advantage of the service you provide. Working with you has helped to ease some of our pain and realize that we now have hope for the future.
Two women came to our hospital to take pictures of our daughter. You did a wonderful thing for us!! For some reason this morning I have been watching the slideshow repeatedly and am so impressed at how respectfully and beautifully your photographers did their job. I just cannot express how fortunate I feel to be able to look back on pictures of my daughter and not feel like the past is completely lost. Your company does an amazing thing. I have much respect for you and your volunteers. Thank you.
We almost heard about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep too late. When our daughter passed unexpectedly, we had no knowledge of this service in the hospital. It was only at the funeral home that we were able to capture the images that we will forever cherish. Had we known about the service earlier, we would have been able to capture her at her true essence by having portraits made at the hospital. We want parents to know how important this service is as soon as possible.
You have given to my son and his wife memories of a son that left this earth too soon. Audrey did a wonderful job capturing the love and peace surrounding Jacob. She was compassionate and very respectful of Jacob’s parents. While I would liked to have met her under different circumstances, I feel very fortunate that she came into our lives at such an important time. You should be very proud to have Audrey on your list of photographers. Thank you for creating Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Jacob’s images will be with us always because of it.
On Saturday March 17, 2012 around 10:45 am, we said hello and good-bye to our beloved son. It is shocking to know that he is physically no longer with us. Yet we are glad that your organization exists and was able to provide us a lifetime of memories through the baby pictures taken of him. We are so grateful and thank God that we have these pictures to forever treasure our baby angel. May God continue to bless you as you bless and help families through their difficult time.
My family and I haven’t personally thanked you for your services that you did for us. We met on September 10. It was your birthday, your nieces, and my son’s that day. You were so amazing, gentle, and so loving. With you we were able to capture moments, memories of our son that we can cherish forever. They are SO beautiful and I absolutely LOVE them. My husband and I, my family are in debt to you, we can not thank you enough. What you did for us, what you continue to do for others is more than amazing. Angels from above running around with cameras to bless all these families who are hurting. You help ease the pain by giving something back. It may seem small to some, but for us, and I’m going to take a leap and speak for other families; IT IS NOT SMALL. What you are able to give back is hope, faith, pieces of our son that we can have here on Earth. You touched our hearts in so many ways we will never forget. We feel so blessed to have had you be a part of our life, even with the unfortunate circumstance.
I have never been one to have the right words to say when someone has gone through a loss. When I think of the loss that these families deal with, I realize there may be no words I can say to take that pain away; I can, however, pray that I will alleviate some of that pain and bring a little bit of joy by sharing my photography.
I am immensely honored to be invited into the lives of these families in their most difficult time and proud to be able to give them this precious gift. In return, volunteering with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has touched my heart and changed my life in more ways than I can truly express.
I volunteer for NILMDTS because I believe in giving others of our talents and gifts. I know how precious the photographs of my own children are and how many times I’ve wanted to freeze time, just remembering every little moment, maybe even seconds.
I’ve never lost a child, so I can only imagine the magnitude of having only moments to form a lifetime of memories. That’s what I strive to give all of our NILMDTS clients. Knowing that I can provide them with joy during such a heartbreaking time is fulfilling to me and gives so much purpose to my photography that reaches beyond NILMDTS, infusing the importance of my art into all the photos I take, for all my clients.
I’ve been a NILMDTS photographer for a little over a year but it was one of those things I meant to do for a long time. Many years ago (before the organization existed) my nephew was born very prematurely and he passed away after just a few hours. The nurses at the hospital took some Polaroid pictures of them and their son and the treasured these few images.
Fast-forward to my career as a photographer; when I first heard of NILMDTS I thought like so many “I could never do that.” After awhile though my thinking evolved from “well, maybe I could” to “yes, I think I can and I will.” Even then it probably took me another year to actually go sign up. Part of what lead me to it was thinking about my little nephew and how much those hospital pictures meant to his parents and part it was a desire to use my skill for something good in the world. It is difficult at times but I’m so glad to be a volunteer.
I volunteer for NILMDTS as a way to give back, to show gratitude for my many blessings in my own life. I have seen how much my own daughter loves and treasures the pictures she has of her twin angel babies.
At this stage in my career, being mostly retired, I have the time to give service to others, and I feel richly compensated when I am able to do something for them at a time when they really need to know that someone cares about them. It is rewarding to me to occasionally follow them on social media, and over the years watch as they continue on with life and have additional children and seem to find happiness in their lives.
I have four beautiful daughters now, but before I had them, I had two miscarriages. It was years ago, but I remember the profound sadness and darkness of those years. I remember leaving the hospital and wishing that I had something (a lock of hair or a picture or a footprint… something concrete) left of those babies.
I know that the only thing harder than having children is not having them.
Even though the memories are sad, it is important for me to remember my experience. The love I felt was stronger than the sadness. There was still hope. Love wins.
I first heard of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep when my friend’s daughter was stillborn. She shared the pictures of her sweet daughter with me. I could see how much those pictures meant to her.
When I started photographing for NILMDTS, I was nervous. I wasn’t sure how I would handle the sadness. There is sadness and tragedy, but the bottom line is always LOVE. These little angels are loved. Their families want to remember, and the pictures we take can help fill an empty place in a sad heart. What a privilege it is to be part of that!
I am a NILMDTS volunteer photographer because of LOVE! I know how much I love my babies, and I honor them each time I help another family. Love wins when we lift others up. Love wins when we remember.
I believe every life should be celebrated. I started my personal photography business 7 years ago to capture the special moments in life, mainly maternity/newborns, and in the past year I realized that these moments of infant loss are just as important, if not more important to document. Being a NILMDTS volunteer hasn’t always been easy but it has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. It is a gift to be able to use my photography skills in this way, to serve these grieving families, and to experience giving back to my community. My mom lost a child 36 years ago shortly after birth and still looks at the photos they gave her…I know these families will treasure these photographs for years to come and it is my privilege to be able to serve in this way.
I can attest to the healing power of NILMDTS portraiture. I see my son every day because of an amazing volunteer photographer. Now, it is an honor to be able to capture the most important moments of undying love for other families.
To submit your testimonial, or if you are a NILMDTS Family and would like to submit your baby’s story and his/her image, please email us here.