Faye Wilde is one of those photographers who stops the scroll. Based in Nottingham but constantly on the move as part of her travel diaries, Faye’s work as both a wedding photographer and motherhood photographer is nothing short of breathtaking. Our editor describes her photos as “a beautiful and touching pause amongst the noise on social media”. We reached out to Faye to learn more about the mother behind the camera, how she navigates self-confidence both for herself and her mama subjects, and what wisdom she would share with mothers. Join us for a sensitive and warm interview with the talented Faye Wilde.
What inspired you to pursue a career in newborn and maternity photography?
How often do we actually get nice photos with our family as a whole? Taking on more maternity and newborn work happened quite organically as my friends had young ones and I wanted to do something nice for them, together with my love for taking pictures of Frank while we travelled. My wedding work will always be my true love, but the sentimentality of motherhood photography makes it very rewarding. I love it when I take a photo and I know immediately how special it is going to be when parents see it in the gallery.
Motherhood is a tapestry of emotions and experiences. From your unique perspective, can you describe the most sentimental moments of being a mother?
Instinctively I think of the milestones. How we yearn for our little ones to progress and become proper humans but the pang of grief we feel when realising these same moments won’t happen again. I think it is in these moments I realise the gravity of parenthood and the pressure to do everything at once: be a good parent, guide them, prepare them for the future… while being present and enjoying the now. It’s a very delicate juggle and one that feels like a constant consideration.
Pregnancy and postpartum periods can sometimes shake a woman’s self-confidence. How do you empower women to embrace and love their evolving bodies?
When working with new mums I am very sensitive to the trauma their body has just experienced. That’s not to say it’s not worth it, not wonderful… but it is a lot both emotionally and physical. I adapt my body language, volume and tone to be more gentle and champion them, while being sensitive to the other parent and acknowledging their contribution too as to foster a safe space. From experience it’s so important to establish this so that everyone in the room relaxes into the shoot. That’s where the magic happens.
My prompts focus on things I know they will love like the proportions of baby’s hands and feet to theirs, the newborn fuzz… the tiny fashion. I am very body neutral when it comes to directing, even when photographing “skin to skin” sessions, focusing on light, textures, composition, never commenting on weight. I’m very in sync with my couples and can see from how they naturally pose what their hang ups might be, so I’ll shoot a range of frames and give dynamic galleries.
Over the years, I feel like I’ve naturally learned what people love after seeing what images people share and print… but my biggest inspiration continues to be the people in front of me. It’s so important to be in tune with body language and vibes – to lean into more of what you feel they are enjoying, what reflects them best, rather than set, stagnant poses.
Tell us about your favorite maternity shoot. What made it so special?
I did a family shoot with a wonderful family and their young daughter Eva where I found out she had been born prematurely and the birth had been very traumatic. At the end of the shoot they told me that they had been working through their birth trauma and intermittently tried for another sibling over many years but hadn’t had a successful pregnancy. They had just found out they were pregnant again, but too nervous to celebrate. At 25 weeks, a day after the same time their first daughter was born, we did a maternity shoot to celebrate the milestone which was insanely special, followed by a newborn shoot when baby amber arrived safely. I will never forget these shoots. Lots of happy tears from everyone involved.
You’re a toddler mama. What does 24 hours in your day look like?
No one day is the same, but the rule that I stick to (as much as possible) is that work days are work days and days with Frank are for him – he’ll never see me working on my laptop or taking calls. Instead, I try to organise play dates so that I get to see friends and be out with him at the same time. My work calendar is hectic and childcare is expensive, so often I’ll work when he goes to bed (approx. 1-2 hours in the afternoon if we’re at home or 7pm-1/2am). This is hardcore but something I do so that I have the resources to explore with him when we’re off together. I use nursery days for physical shooting and just have to be really organised with everything else. Somehow it all works out.
How do you approach incorporating the personal stories and styles of the mothers and families you photograph?
I always say that the first 30 mins or so of the shoot doesn’t really matter, that I’m just studying the light and the space… when really on top of that I’m tuning in to who I am working with, getting a feel for who they are, looking at images they’ve printed around the home and their aesthetic, their energy with each other. All of these tiny things contribute to how I shoot and what I focus on.
Embarking on the journey of pregnancy can be overwhelming. What pearls of wisdom would you like to share with expecting mamas?
Listen to your body. We do so much prep for the labour but really our body knows what to do, and that is our super power! The more faith you have in yourself, the more relaxed you’ll be and everything will fall into place. Once at home, take it in shifts – and really savour those first weeks where the days are so long (as you’re up so many hours). Look forward to completing Netflix and having alllll the newborn cuddles. If you’re ever feeling blue, reach out to other new mums. You’ll find comfort in shared experiences and there are so many resources out there for new parents.
Discover more of Faye’s beautiful work here.