Last week on the blog, I shared my favorite photos from Bexley’s Milk Bath Photoshoot and had tons of great comments and compliments, along with a few questions on how I did it! Milk bath photography has been a growing trend for photographers who photograph maternity sessions, babies, and boudoir, though I think the sky is the limit when it comes to your subject! Now, I’m excited to share how I executed Bexley’s milk bath, but in no way does one photo session make me an expert, so if you have suggestions for next time, please share your findings in the comment section below! Now let’s get started!

You Will Need:

– subject
– location/tub
– camera gear
– warm water
– whole milk
– florals (optional)
– assistant/helper
– treats/bribery tools/music
– towels/mop

First it started with location. Choosing to do a milk bath photoshoot in late March meant for cold, unpredictable weather that for a baby means it’s a no-go for outside locations. I knew I wanted somewhere a little on the rough side, since the tub I was going to use (which is actually our clothes hamper in our bedroom!) is a little beaten up itself. Window (or natural) light is always a must, so I went on the search, and remembered an old attic/storage place above Paxton’s main street. I had worked there in the past photographing stock photos for Pro-Type Printing, who owns the space and allows me exclusive access in which I’m so grateful for!

I knew this job may be more than I can handle on my own, so I brought help. If you think you can keep a toddler from running everywhere while simultaneously trying to take photos, by all means go for it, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of our nanny Sage!

There isn’t any running water or electrical in the space, so we filled water jugs with warm water to haul up the stairs! This tub used around 6 gallons of warm water. Once we filled it with water, we added the milk. I used whole milk since it’s got a lower water content than 2% or skim milk, so it would be the most opaque. I bought an entire gallon since I didn’t know how much it would take, but ended up using less than half!

I had a bouquet (thanks to the hubby!) of dying roses and lavender that I knew I wanted to use, and I ended up LOVING that they were almost dried up, to further compliment the not-so-perfect-ness of the room and tub. I figured with Bexley splashing around, they wouldn’t stay afloat for long so we waited until the last minute to add any florals to the “set”. Adding only a couple handfuls at a time worked well, as they would sink to the bottom quickly, so another advantage to having help so I could shoot fast!

warm water whole milk towels

Having help was crucial to keep Bexley happy and contained and ensure the flower crown (which I make-shifted on site by just twisting the stems together) didn’t get ripped off and torn to shreds.

bring assistant nanny help milk bath

Having a toddler, I know how important bribery can be, so we came prepared with a few foods she loves including string cheese, crackers, and m&ms! Next time I’ll be avoiding colorful treats as they tended to show up all over her face once melted!

treats food feed baby m&ms milk bath illinois photographer baby indoor

Bexley LOVES to dance and sing, especially to her own playlist consisting of the Trolls and Frozen soundtracks. We blasted the tunes and she had fun playing around!

milk bath how to tips and tricks
We also weren’t aware that our tub had a slow leak in it until the milk was added, but I’m so glad I brought extra towels besides Bexley’s towel to dry off with. They came in handy before mopping up the floor!

Last thing, remember that however you get your water into your tub, it’s going to be SUPER heavy to pick up and dump out, so we had to refill the water jugs we used to then haul the water back out!

For those of you wanting my tech specs, I was shooting on my Canon 5D Mkiii, 50mm f1.4, and my settings were ISO1000, 1.4, and 1/3200 of a second for the entire shoot! Consistency is key in editing!

I hoped this all helped, and of course, comment below if you have any other notes or questions for me, I’d be happy to answer them all. If you’ve ever done a milk bath photography session before, I would love to see it!

xoxo – Em

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