Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is looking for additional photographers to provide assistance to families for remembrance photography. I have been a volunteer for 7 years. It did take me several years to feel ready to attend a call. I had apprehension about whether I would be able to be strong attending a call.
Nervousness and worry came over me when I agreed to attend my first call with another senior volunteer with Now I Law Me Down To Sleep. I ended up changing my mind as I didn’t feel ready.
It wasn’t until several years later that I made a commitment to attend my first remembrance photography session. The session took place at The Hospital for SickKids in downtown Toronto.
Once I made my first call, I realized the special gift I was providing to the families.
I have now attended several calls for families in need of remembrance photography of their beloved babies.
I feel honoured and privileged to be a member with Now I Law Me Down to Sleep.
There’s no requirement to be a senior photographer to be a volunteer. A professional photographer can capture images of better quality than most of the parents could ever capture with their iPhones or snap shot cameras.
Photography is a special gift I’ve been blessed with and I’m fortunate to be able to give back to the community to preserve special memories.
When I walk into each session, I talk to the families as if they are clients in my newborn studio. I focus on the positive rather than the negative. I comment on how beautiful their baby is and treat their baby with the same tenderness and care of the babies during my newborn sessions.
There are all sorts of things to photograph for families during these sessions. Often there will be flowers and teddy bears throughout the room given as gifts by friends, family and loved ones. Sometimes there is a calendar marked with the baby’s date of birth. There are hospital bracelets and a hospital birth announcement card.
Focusing on the details of baby, I photograph all of baby’s little details such us her tiny hands, feet, up close images of baby’s face and full body images. Sometimes I keep baby wrapped up and swaddled throughout the entire session. I usually place baby unwrapped in mom and dad’s arms, photographing just the hands and baby, mom and dad looking down at baby, mom and dad giving their baby kisses and family images.
I ask the parents if there is anything special they would like photographed. They will let me know if they have anything tucked away like a piece of jewellery or gift they would like photographed.
Mom sometimes has a special outfit that she would like baby photographed in.
The sessions can be short or they can be long depending on the situation of each session and the comfort level of the parents. Sometimes you are in a busy NICU room with a light sensitive baby where no flash is permitted. Other times, parents have a private room where there is more space and options as far as flash.
You want to attend the sessions with minimal equipment to be as unobtrusive as possible.
The nurses are very helpful and have always been very welcoming. In my first few calls, the nurses did everything for me in moving baby.
I bring a black t-shirt with me to each session to photograph an image of dad’s hands holding baby like I do in my newborn sessions. They are disposable t-shirts. This is not necessary but just something I do.
I have spent up to 2 1/2 hours with a family who requested newborn poses. Not every situation will lead itself well for this but this particular session did.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Also offers training seminars throughout the year. You can usually find one local to you.
Resources are also available such as digital skin to help you in retouching of images. Digital artists are also available if you are just available to attend and photograph the session.
I am here to answer any questions if you would like to ask me about my experience in being a volunteer. Please help support this wonderful organization.