Sonia Villalobos launched her business Onlyone Photography so people would have moments to reminisce about later.
In her photography, she often captures intimate moments between friends and family members. Her professional portfolio includes maternity shoots, pictures of newborns, family and pet portraits as well. Before starting Onlyone Photography, Villalobos would often capture images of her children on a flip phone.
“We’d do it all the time. I love taking pictures of them,” she said.
However, Villalobos said the images she took on her phone were never clear and hard to see. In 2010, she moved to Madison from California with her three children. She then decided to upgrade her phone and camera quality.
“When I moved here, I got one of those new phones and I started taking pictures. After that, it was me taking pictures at the family reunion and parties. I could see everyone’s face except mine,” Villalobos.
But relocating to a new city with three young children did not come without its obstacles. She worked several jobs to make ends meet before getting settled.
“I was going through a lot of personal issues. I was a single mom with three little kids and part of my family was here in Madison,” she said.
She found juggling multiple jobs and raising three children extremely challenging. Her youngest child was just over a year old then.
“The first few months that I moved here, I started working at McDonald’s, literally anything that I could find because I was a single mom. I had to feed my kids,” Villalobos said. “…I had to pay the babysitter so all of my checks were going to pay rent and the babysitter.”
Villalobos now has two teenagers and a preteen. She would reflect on these times after a conversation with her oldest son.
“We were talking about pictures of when he was younger and a baby. I was so sad because I couldn’t find any pictures to show him when he was a baby,” Villalobos said.
She thought “how could this be possible?” Then, she remembered when she first moved to Madison.
Villalobos also asked other family members and realized no one had good baby pictures. She wanted to do something about this trend so she purchased her first camera, a Nikon. Villalobos never planned on starting a business but became interested in opening a studio.
“I’ve always been one of those people who if I don’t know how to do something, I will go to Google to find out,” she said.
Onlyone Photography captures a wide variety of photos from family to maternity to pets to weddings to special events. Villalobos said she really loves capturing beautiful photographs of babies. She said this is one of her favorite activities to do.
Sometimes clients are uncomfortable towards the beginning of the shoot, however, they open up towards the end of the shoot.
“There’s a lot of moments that are priceless, you can see people’s expressions,” she said.