Milk baths are all the rage for maternity shoots right now. I mean, they are even great for non-preggo ladies. I remember before I got pregnant, I knew a milk bath was on my list in terms of a photo shoot. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed with a nice size tub in our bathroom that we never use (we’re shower people) so I immediately felt it was something I could achieve in the comfort of my own home.
Weeks before doing the shoot, I enlisted my partner-in-crime cousin, Amber, who often does a lot of my pictures and photo shoots. She and I have a great relationship and it was important to do this with someone I felt comfortable with.
I also did some research in terms of the look and feel I was going for. Of course, Pinterest was home to most of my inspiration photos (you can check out my board here). I mean, am I the only one that feels Pinterest is just a black hole of inspiration? LOL!
Besides Pinterest, I also read a few photography blogs on how to achieve the best look for your water, if real milk and flowers should be used, to wear clothes or go nude, etc. Seriously, the internet is full of endless resources but at the end of the day, here’s what worked for me:
Use Real Flowers
I bought my flowers the morning of the shoot at a local grocery store. We did the shoot on a Sunday and surprisingly, the grocery store had a ton of arrangements on sale, including pieces of greenery that I loved. Now, some of these flowers were already wilting but I figured in my photos that would be easy to hide and disguise. And considering the pricing, I couldn’t pass them up. Luckily I only spent $20 on all of it but left with about 8-10 bouquets ranging in small to large sizes.
In terms of colors, I wanted my arrangements to match the look and feel of my shower and baby’s nursery because I’m all about that cohesive life. So, I sought out pinks, whites, corals, plus lots of green and even though it wasn’t part of my whole color scheme, I added a little lavender accent. I knew once I edited the photos with filters and whatnot the colors would change to how I desired so I decided to not get hung up on particulars, just achieving something similar.
When it was time for the shoot, we started just cutting up the flowers, leaving about a half inch so that the buds would float. We arranged the flowers and greenery strategically around the tub and then put the rest in the water. I didn’t want things to look super staged, relaxed but still pretty.
I found during my research that if you opt to use silk flowers, they won’t float. Some suggested that you could spray Scotch Guard ahead of time to make them float, but since I’m trying to be as chemical free as possible for baby, I decided that I’d rather stick with the real deal. Plus, it would just be less work to cut real flowers.
Use Real Milk
The one thing that was consistent in all my research in doing this photo shoot was the suggestion to use real milk. Some have opted to powdered milk but many suggested using real liquid milk. I went with the latter, buying two gallons of vitamin D whole milk. It was important to buy whole milk as those with lesser fat would be watery and because I ultimately would be adding this to water in the bath tub.
Now of course I didn’t measure how much water to use, I just pretty much eyeballed it. I wanted it to look milky, not dirty, so at one point I had to let some water out before adding the milk.
You can also change the hue of the water by adding food coloring. I decided not to go that route as I wanted milk-white but I have seen pictures where this turned out great.
Wear Something Comfortable
Initially I thought I would do this shoot wrapping myself in some white tulle, strategically covering my boobs and lady parts. Well, that’s at least what I had in mind pre-pregnancy. Now being pregnant, I didn’t quite feel as bold. Certainly, I love the changes my body are doing – I mean, I am creating a life – and wanted to celebrate and capture that. But I also wanted something that I would feel comfortable looking at for years to come.
Luckily I came across this great dress on Amazon (Sexy V Neck Lace Dress) that is used by many during maternity milk bath photo shoots. I was super reluctant in copying the same look but after careful examination, everyone who wear’s this looks completely different in it. I opted to by a size large based on the size chart but I totally could have gotten a medium. I didn’t try on the dress until minutes before doing the shoot and found that the top was super large. And even though my breast have grown due to pregnancy, I could not fill the v-neck the way I desired. I was super worried it would look like it was hanging on me in photos but I decided to go ahead and get in the water to see how it would look. I found that it became more clingy in the water as all fabric does when wet and I strategically placed the v-neck against my chest so it would appear to sit right.
Overall the dress was super comfy and although it was too big, I didn’t feel overly exposed. If anything I felt sexy yet elegant. For the price of $14.44 you really can’t beat it.
Don’t Copy Other Poses – Just Be You & Natural
Okay, before the shoot I read this advice but of course I still looked at poses for inspiration. But once I got in the water, it finally clicked for me. Considering everyone’s body is so different, in addition to others using different size tubs and settings, it only made sense that I couldn’t copy poses. I had to do what would work for me.
I considered doing the whole face and head submerged in the water look and in hindsight I wish I did. But considering I had just washed my hair and that being such a chore now that I’m pregnant (because everything is a chore) I decided not to. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t had washed my hair beforehand, refreshed some old curls and submerged myself to get that shot.
Overall, we shot for about 30-45 minutes, trying different angles and looks. But I quickly got over it (my patience for photo shoots wears really quickly pre-pregnancy and even more so while pregnant, lol). I’m thankful Amber was far more patient and flexible than I was and helped achieve some looks that I ultimately loved.
I’d definitely would recommend anyone with tub to do this photo shoot if they are up for it. It really gives anyone the opportunity to make it their own and capture a moment in time to cherish. Plus, if you do it yourself or with the help of a friend or family member it can be super affordable. Overall, I spent less than $50 on the shoot in total and could’ve done it cheaper if I hadn’t bought the flower crown (also from Amazon for $15.99, color B).
Let me know if you have any questions! Happy to help!