Milk Bath Photography: How to Create Treasured Memories
Thank-you Just Born for sponsoring this post.
Some of my favorite moments with Isla have been captured through milk baths. There is just something dreamy and ethereal about them. The milky white color, floating flowers, smooth baby skin—all of the stresses of motherhood seem to float away.
My friend Dana with Pictiur Photography hooked me on these dreamy sessions when I was expecting Isla. Rather than the traditional maternity photos, we took bump photos in a milk bath. When I glance back at them I am in awe of what my body did growing Isla.
When Isla was a few months old, Dana captured some of my most cherished photos during a nursing milk bath session. Little Isla, just a few months old, snuggled up against my chest. The pictures take me right back to that feeling.
Since weaning Isla, I’ve been wanting to do a little milk bath session with her to bring everything full circle. So when Just Born asked about partnering to feature their Sparkle Bath collection with soft colors and sparkly, shimmer details, I jumped at the chance. The collection was recently refreshed with a beautiful rose gold color (the one I’m using here!), plus there are additional colors and products in the Sparkle Collection – everything from bedding, blankets, accessories and more. A warm milk bath, my sweet Isla and beautiful, soft towels—the perfect trio!
A true photographer is priceless at capturing milk bath photos. If you do not have one available or want to try to create your own DIY milk bath, here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.
Prepping the Flowers
No need to go fancy in the flower department. Grocery store flowers work great. For these pictures I picked up a dozen roses the day of the pictures.
To prep them for the photos, you will trim the stems off. I like to open the flower petals gently with my fingers to create a more full look when they are floating. I also pulled off quite a few leaves from the stems to use as greenery in the bath.
Setting Up the Space
No need for a fancy bathtub or equipment. Your standard run of the mill tub works great. If you have a bathroom with a window for natural lighting, use it. If not, don’t worry—these were taken in a windowless bathroom.
You will want to fill the tub with lukewarm water. If the water is too warm it could cause the milk to curdle once you start pouring it in. I start with a small amount of water—about 1.5-2 inches. I poured in almost a gallon of whole milk to create the creamy white look. If you are taking photos with yourself or a mom, you will need the tub quite a bit fuller. For baby photos, just enough water to cover right below their belly button usually works best.
Add the baby first and then add the flowers. The flowers start to sink when they milk/water starts to collect on them, so adding them after the baby is in the water helps them stay afloat a bit longer.
Have everything you are going to need on hand. This includes that super soft Sparkle Hooded Towel to wrap them in after the milk bath. The matching Just Born Sparkle Washcloths are great to wipe your little one down with after the bath so they aren’t walking around smelling like milk the rest of the day. I totally keep a few bribes on hand too to keep your little one from splashing the flowers. I used veggie straws and a blue lollypop for this round. The blue colored lollypop was probably not the best decision.
Photographing Your Baby
I always recommend looking to Pinterest for angles you would like to capture. I made a Milk Bath Photography Inspiration Board with different shots I wanted to try to take. Since you have to be quick with little ones, this keeps you from having to brainstorm ideas as you go.
You can either setup a ladder or stand on the edge of the tub to take the pictures. For these pictures I hovered over Isla while I stood on the edge of the tub. JD was behind me for backup :).
Once you’ve captured the perfect shots, make sure you have that durable Sparkle Bath Towel ready to go—your little one will be chilly since there was very little water in the tub. You’ll want to quickly rinse him or her off under the faucet or shower. Pull the flowers out of the tub and toss them. I tried saving them in a vase once and let’s just say it was pretty stinky the next morning.
Editing the Pictures
I use Lightroom to edit the pictures, but you can use any basic photo-editing app. The one thing you are going to want to adjust is the exposure in your pictures. When you increase the exposure it really creates that light + airy vibe. You can also play around with the temperature of the photo to make the milk look as white as possible. Sometimes you will need to increase the coolness to counteract fluorescent bathroom lights. The last thing you want is the milk in your milk bath looking yellow.
I hope these tips are helpful! Be sure to tag me in your milk bath photos @mommasociety so I can see.
If you’re looking for a great gift for a momma-to-be, consider wrapping up a Just Born Sparkle Hooded Towel set and a gift card to a local photographer for a milk bath session.