For our first instalment of Friends of Sonnie, talented and inspiring Ruby Holland, gives us a peek into her life as a photographer and a new mum plus some tips for getting those frame-worthy pics of your kids.

How did you become a photographer?

I became interested in photography back in my high school years but I never really believed I could make a career out of it. I treated it as a hobby for a very long time. One of my very first jobs when I moved to Auckland was working in a photography studio with two very talented photographers - Simeon Patience and Yuki Sato. I felt very inspired by Simeon and Yuki, but I still didn't think that being a 'professional' photographer was a possibility for me. Throughout my career in advertising, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with many other inspiring and talented people! I kept shooting for fun, and slowly started taking on small jobs for friends. It wasn't until 2020 when I really started to commit more time to photography. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and really tried to put myself out there. I was surprised at the amount of encouragement and support I had from people - this made me start to believe I could actually make my dream a reality. Fast forward to mid last year, I took an even bigger leap and left my 9-5 in the world of advertising which I had worked in for 9 years to pursue photography as a full time job. 

What inspires your creativity - culture, people, places etc?

So many things. Having conversations with people who have a different vision / who are on a different path than me. Travel - seeing new places and meeting new people. Listening to podcasts. Flipping through magazines and looking at fashion or beauty editorials.

When/where are you most creative?

After spending time up north in my hometown of Whāngarei. Usually this is when I have the chance to breathe, relax and re-set. I come back feeling refreshed, excited and inspired.

As a photographer, what do you find most challenging - and rewarding - about working with children? (After all, they say not to work with animals and babies!)

Working with children is full on! Usually they might start off by being a little shy, but they soon lose their inhibitions, and just go for it! They bring so much energy which is the best. You've got to be on the ball, and work fast to get the shots. That's what I find most challenging, especially working with film. But what I have come to realise is the photos you wouldn't consider to be 'perfect' are the ones I love the most. I love capturing the essence of their personalities - their genuine, authentic selves.


You’re also a new mum, congrats! How have you found the transition into motherhood?

One word - wild. Ha ha. 

Keeping it real, what are the highs and lows of navigating those early months with a newborn?

I would say that there's more love, less sleep, and incredibly beautiful memories to be made in the most mundane moments.

What’s the best piece of parenting advice you were given that now rings true for you?

Enjoy every day and don't wish the time away. It goes so fast!

What do new mums need more of?


How do you make time for you?

I think it's super important to make time for yourself. I make time by doing simple things like walks, self-care etc.. the other day I went and sat in a cafe by myself, drank copious amounts of coffee and worked on some upcoming projects. I love doing that sort of thing!

What’s important to you when it comes to dressing your little one? And, why did working with Sonnie then feel like the right fit.

Now that I am buying for Bobby, quality clothing over anything is really important to me. I like to buy certain pieces that I know will wash & wear well, so they can last Bobby as he grows older & can then be handed down to our next little one or to friends and families kids. I grew up sharing a lot of hand-me-downs as a twin with an older sister which I absolutely loved & Bobby has also. It's awesome seeing clothes last years & even decades. 

Working with Sonnie felt like the right fit because not only do I love the brand, but as a self-employed mother myself, I really admire and look up to Eloise & Ally and how hard they've worked to build their brand. I love to work with people and businesses that inspire me, Sonnie & the Sonnie team is one of them! 

Not everyone is an expert behind the lens, any hacks for parents snapping frame-worthy pics on their phones

Keep it natural and try to get candid pics over forced smiles (although a forced smile is quite funny). Of course nice lighting always helps - morning or afternoon light is the best. Also, have your live setting on! I love looking back at photos of Bobby and seeing the moment around the image I have snapped. 

There’s a lot of pressure on parents to get the perfect pics of their kids, and more so because of social media - what do you look for in a ‘good’ pic?

Don't be pressured. The perfect photo is what is perfect for you - not others! A 'good' pic to me is a genuine moment of my son that I can look back on.

What’s your favourite photo of you as a baby, and why?

I love this photo! That's me in the blue and white striped shorts, and I'm with my brother, sister and our friends at the Whāngarei Heads School show day. Basically the best day of the year! It brings back so many happy memories. Look how bright and fun our clothes were!


You can check out Ruby's work at and _ruby_holland on instagram. 

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