Getting on the other side of the camera | Our Mommy & Me session with Sarah Zollo Portraits

I finally got on the other side of the camera with my sweet baby boy. And you know what? It was amazing, and this very first photo means everything to me.

I have been dreaming of this exact photo for months and months and months, and my heart is so happy to finally have this sweet little cuddle captured in a portrait.

mommy and me milestone session by sarah zollo, nicole starr photography

As a mom who also happens to be a photographer, I spend my days capturing all of the little moments and the big love between families. I capture the cuddles, the kisses, and the sweet way their babies wrinkle their noses when they smile. The way they reach up to hold their daddy’s hand, and the way they curl up on their mama’s chest to feel their heartbeat.

But 12 months into being a mama, I barely had any photos of me with my baby boy. We did a beautiful Fresh 48 session when Grayson was born, and a few holiday photos last Christmas. But besides blurry cell phone photos, selfies, and a couple of times that I passed my camera to someone to take a (usually blurry or decapitated) photo with my son, that’s all I have from his first year.

I have taken so many amazing photos of my son with my husband, and I love every single one of them! It is so easy to capture their relationship, and I really love looking back through their photographs and seeing how Grayson has grown and watching that beautiful bond they have.

But any photos with me in them? Almost nonexistent. And this role as Grayson’s mama is my favorite role I have ever had, which is why it is soooooo important to me to capture this in photographs!

I started taking some self portraits this year of our day to day life at home because it was so important to me to capture this stage and have some beautiful portraits to show our son as he grows so that he can see how much we loved him and adored him when he was little.

What was really missing though was a mommy & me session. I truly wanted someone else to capture these moments for us, so I decided to get on the other side of the camera when I hired Sarah Zollo Portraits in Rhode Island for a session with my sweet baby boy.

And you guys!!!! These are my favorite photos ever! I love how Sarah captured his sweet little smile, the way he hugs my cheek, those pearly teeth peeking through on the bottom. She captured his sense of wonder and curiosity about the world, his joy, and how proud he is of himself of his new skills (standing supported and butt scooting across the floor!). She captured this easy love, and how crazy happy he makes me. She captured it all, and I will never stop being grateful for making this session a priority.

mommy and me mini session by sarah zollo, nicole starr photography

So, a few things I learned while being on the other side of the camera…

It was actually really hard to find the perfect outfits for our session! You’d think it’d be easy (I mean, really — all white can’t be that hard, right?), but for some reason nothing was out that seemed just right. In the end I loved this top, and I’m obsessed with the cute blue overalls that bring out his blue eyes. I wanted to keep it very simple without any patterns or bold colors because I wanted to focus on the connection between us and have super classic portraits that I will look at 40 years from now and melt into a puddle of tears when I look at my baby boy. And these are those!

Also, photo shoot day really never goes as planned. Of course Grayson couldn’t fall asleep the night before, and while he normally falls asleep within minutes, he took 1.5 hours to fall asleep. And the morning of his session he almost boycotted his nap, too! But we made it there on time and I had a happy baby once I put his favorite song on (at the moment, it’s “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys because of the “bababa-babarbara ann” babbling part!).

When you’re caught up in the moment being a mom, you forget about things like the best angle or what might look funny on camera. You’re just focused on making your baby happy and getting him to laugh. Thankfully I had a photographer AND her assistant there to guide us and keep everything flowing naturally and beautifully. I didn’t have to point to the camera or try and get him to look their way because they were singing, dancing, and waving toys around to keep his attention and to turn those blue eyes towards the camera.

And finally, I understand how excited you guys are for the sneak peek and the gallery reveal! It was the best feeling ever when I saw these photos for the first time and when I saw how someone else sees this mother-son love. I have never seen it like that before, and it’s really amazing to be able to step back and look at this magic from another perspective.

I truly do believe that EVERYONE deserves mommy & baby portraits (or mommy & child, whatever the age!). I will definitely be making it a priority to capture this magic on camera more often with my own baby boy, and I can’t wait to offer more of these types of sessions to mamas, too.

Sarah, a huge thank you for capturing motherhood so beautifully. I love these so much, and I am incredibly grateful.