Milk bath you say? Do you use real milk they ask? Yes and yes. I have been itching to do a milk bath with the perfect mom to be, and luckily when Angela reached out to me to photograph her maternity session, she was as excited about the idea as I was. I can officially say I am even more in love with this couple after this session, and a bit obsessed with milk bath sessions now. Now you do not just throw in a couple gallons of milk, sprinkle some flower petals, and wing it. There is actually a lot of time, thought, supplies, and preparation. We took so many good images of Angela in the tub and she was in there less than 15 minutes since we took the time to prepare before.
- Buy fresh flowers, not fake ones. Fake ones will sink much faster. I actually got mine at Walmart for this session, but Trader Joe's or your local grocery store will have plenty of options.
- Try to use a tub that has a large source of natural lighting you can control (if you prefer natural lighting as I do). Our friend's bathroom has two large windows and to reduce the glare on the water and sun in Ang's face, we put up a white sheet as a diffuser.
- Practice before hand and prepare! Remember, your client is pregnant and you want to make her feel comfortable and confident. It gets hard to feel that way if she is getting nauseous from the smell of milk. I turned on the bathroom fan to help ventilate as well. I actually laid in the bath tub and showed Ang the positions we were going to start, transition, and end in. This way when she got in the tub, she was naturally moving into the positions.
- Before she gets in the tub, place the desired florals or arrangements on the outside. You want to do as much work as you can before she gets in. I spent 15 minutes pulling off rose petals and sorting into piles.
- Every photographer you talk to will have a different suggestion on what "milk" to use. Some will suggest powered milk, coffee creamer, or other substitutes. Each person has their own chemistry to it and preference. We filled up the tub to our desired depth, and added a few gallons of whole milk.
- Now that I already had my sorted flower piles, I waited for the water/milk to settle after Angela got into her position. I had her relax while I carefully but quickly placed the flowers where I wanted. You do have to move quickly as each time your client moves, it will ripple the water and start to submerge some. I purposely had a few half submerged for the look I was going for.
As I said above, the time she got in the tub and out was less than 15 minutes!
Good luck with your milk bath shoot and let me know if you have any questions or other advice as well!
Check out a few of Ang's beautiful milk bath maternity photos below!