A photo taken 10 days before Harrison was born.

A photo taken 10 days before Harrison was born.

The shutter clicks. I step back and look at the image now frozen in time, smile. I move slightly to the left, crouch down until I’m eye level with him, push the button. The rapid shutter click is so satisfying to my ears. Later, I’ll scroll back through my shots, pausing for just a second on each, choosing to save or delete. Later still, I’ll upload them to my computer and savor them all as I edit. Excited to share them through Facebook and Instagram, excited to look back on them a year, two years, ten years from now. These are my memories, forever captured by the lens of my camera.


I bought my first DSLR camera back in 2011 when I was a fashion blogger. I thought I needed a better camera. My husband and I learned the bare minimum about my camera in order to take a few hasty photos that I could post on my blog of my outfit for the day. I used it here and there for family events, taking a few photos from the corner of the room. But I didn’t do anything to educate myself on how to actually use my camera and it quickly got pushed to the back of the closet.

And then came Henry.

Henry was a game changer for me in nearly every way. Not only had I become a mother, but I wanted to document every single moment with him. The first year of his life, I took a photo every single day with whatever camera I could find, and then compiled them into an album for his first birthday. Every once in awhile I took out my “good” camera, but I was never able to quite get the shots I wanted because I never took the time to learn. So I found myself discouraged.

Over the next few years, I tried to learn more about my camera through online tutorials. I picked up tips and tricks here and there from other photographers and from Instagram. I became more and more inspired with what my camera could do, the moments I could capture.

The year Harrison was born, I decided to invest in this hobby that I had come to fall in love with. I knew I had an eye for taking a beautiful photo, but I wanted to understand the mechanics behind it, and I wanted to learn how to take the photo I could see in my mind. I took a Shoot Along course, which was dedicated to capturing family memories. I learned so much throughout the 52 week course and my passion for photography was officially ignited.

As the course was coming to a close, I looked for my next step - what more could I do to learn. I decided to join Clickin’ Moms and learn from all of those women that had inspired me on Instagram. Within just a couple of weeks, I knew it was some of the best money I had spent. Here, in real time, I could get feedback from some of the best out there. I could watch videos to see how they made their magical images. And I could start practicing to make my photos exactly what I dreamed of.


This has been my growth. My journey through finding not only my talent, but finding myself again. Being behind a camera gives me a sense of purpose and energy that I don’t often find. And now, as Henry has begun taking photos with me, I am so excited to pass on the knowledge that I’ve learned to him - to allow him this creative outlet and to fuel his passion.

This post was written thanks to a prompt from illuminate, a monthly writing program shining a light on the creative within.

LIFESarah HartleyComment