Milk Bath Magic

So I’ve started taking on more and more creative endeavors that I’ve either never seen done, or I’ve seen beautiful imagery from fellow photogs but never thought, “I could do that.” Welp, I’ve changed my mindset for the better and started trying things I’ve always wanted to do, cause why the EFF not?!

Cue the milk bath scene. I’ve seen it done, and always wondered…how on earth does that even work? Who do I know that would be willing to sit in a vat of milk? How much milk would I need? Where do I even get that much milk? Where would I do this? My bathtub at home is way too small.

I’m here to tell you, it can totally be done in your own home, and you don’t need as much milk as you think you do!


Step 1. Find unsuspecting pregnant woman who would like to have maternity photos done, but doesn’t really know what to do for them. Both of these lovely mamas are previous brides of mine, who are now growing their families to include adorable little minis. (Both of them actually have beautiful baby girls now, squeeeee!!)

Step 2. Suggest crazy idea. MILK. BATH.

Step 3. Find a bathtub. Really any tub will do. I photographed my clients in the comfort and privacy of their own bathtubs at home. (Also, a good reason to get your partner to scrub that tub, hahah!)


Step 4. FLOWERS. FLOWERS. FLOWERS. I work with thee most amazing floral artists that San Diego has to offer. Both of these shoots feature gorgeous florals by Sugar Rose Flowers who creates the most divine flower crowns, and provides fantastic advice on which blooms float best. Prices for this vary based on how elaborate you want your maternity milk bath masterpiece to be.


The water used in the tub should be lukewarm to avoid curdling the milk and freezing your baby mama.

Step 5. Okay, but Cate…how many gallons of milk do I have to buy for this? Simple answer. One. And a bag of powdered milk. This does vary depending on tub size, depth, etc. but I have had a lot of success by using mostly bathwater, then adding the gallon of milk and a bit of the powdered milk to really get it looking opaque. You don’t even need to use the whole gallon, but I do because the powered stuff has a yellow hue to it, which the actual milk can help balance out.


Step 6. Fill tub with water, add milk and powdered milk to your color and opaque-ness preference. It should not be too full! Remember, your mama has to get in and the liquid will rise. You can always add more bathwater to achieve the desired depth.


Comfort is key! Keep checking in with your mama to be to make sure she’s relaxed.

Step 7. Have your mama step into the tub, and help her into a sitting position to start. Above all else, help her get as comfortable as possible! Placing towels or bath pillows beneath her can be especially helpful for your mama to maintain certain poses in a comfortable and safe way. Bonus points, because you can’t see any of that through the opaque milky water!!


Step 8. Now it’s time to add the florals. This is when the magic really starts to come alive! Remove any stems from blooms and gently place the flowers around your mama to be. She can help by pulling leaves off stems as well to add more greenery to the bath. Greenery helps add dimension, to make those colors (and that baby bump) POP!

Place greenery first. Filler flowers second. Scatter a few petals. And place your statement blossoms last. These will be the most likely to sink once wet.


Step 9. LET THE FUN BEGIN!!! I mean, how often to you get to play around like this?! Make pose changes slowly, to avoid the flowers sinking as well as making it easier for mama, she is pretty preggo afterall. All my ladies have told me how pampered and relaxed they feel during the shoot, so have fun with it! Cause they are loving it, you are loving it. Everyone is loving it! …….except maybe the toddler we tried to add to the experience at the end. Win some, lose some.


Milk Bath Photo Shoot Tip

A colander or strainer works amazing to scoop out the florals for easy clean up.

Step 10. Edit and SHARE your amazing work!! I want to see your interpretation of this fun idea!

cate batchelorComment