How To: Milk Bath Photoshoot
I am never one to say no to a reason to take photographs of Rosalind and so when I saw the milk bath photos circulating I just had to try and do my own. I love how they are something different to try and I had fun figuring out what worked best for the image. For once she wasn't smiling in the bath but I think the sullen, model pout adds to the overall feel of the photograph.
I asked on Instagram if anyone was interested in seeing how I went about doing this and the answer was a big yes! So I thought I'd do a little blogpost with the process to encourage you to do one if you were unsure as they are super easy but so effective.
Real flowers & foliage (fake ones sink!)
NOTE: When shooting with babies and children remember that the usual safety rules apply. Never leave a child unattended in the water. Make sure you have all your props and equipment set up to hand before you start.
First up you need to run a warm bath for baby. You need to make sure that once you add the milk the bath is still warm so they don't get chilly so make it a tiny bit warmer than normal. Once you've run the bath you need to add the milk until it's the creamy colour you'd like the bath to be. Make sure you add the water THEN milk because otherwise the water will bubble. I added around 2 pints to my bath, but play with consistency. You want the water to have an ethereal look to it.
Next cut your flowers to add some texture and contrast to the picture. You need to leave a little bit of the stalk to help steady them in the water. Arrange them in the water to suit your style, I think it works best if you include some green with the flowers. If you are using fake flowers try and balance them on some foliage so they don't sink to the bottom. I wanted colours that complimented her eyes so went with blue/purple flowers. I think if you have a boy you can create a beautiful picture using lots of greenery if you didn't want to use flowers and make it too 'girly.'
I was going to use a silk scarf to cover Rosie with initially but when I put it in the bath the colour started to leech out of it so I quickly removed it but not before it had changed my water slightly blue. Rather than start afresh I decided that I actually quite liked the colour and that it worked well with the flowers so I left it. You might be able to create a similar look with a couple of drops of food colouring but be careful not to use too much or you might end up with one very stained child!
Carefully place your little one into the water and reposition the flowers to create the look you are after. You will have to keep an eye on the decoration as even the slightest movement can send it all off kilter, something I found challenging as Rosalind was awake. Towards the end she was also trying to put every one in her mouth which was very distracting!
One you are happy with their positioning you can drape a muslin cloth over their body for some privacy, it's up to you if you decide to cover their nipples as well. Do whatever you feel comfortable with and you can be mindful of the photograph's audience. If you plan on posting the images on to social media you could cover more up than you would for images you plan to display in your own home.
When it comes to perspective I found the best way to take the photos was directly above Rosie, which meant very carefully climbing on to the bath and shooting down. This way I was able to hold her attention and her eyes, creating striking images. I didn't try to position her arms, instead I let her create the shapes for me. I found this was less hassle and looked more natural, however if you are photographing older children you might be able to persuade them to help you if there was a particular image you had in mind. It goes without saying that if you're shooting this way you have to be extra careful not to slip, I found barefoot so I could grip worked best.
I took all these pictures with Canon 1200d in the middle of the afternoon so the light was at it's brightest in our bathroom, but our bath isn't next to the window so it was still quite gloomy. Figure out what is the best time of day for you to shoot, as a well lit shot can make all the difference to a photograph. I then edited these pictures in Adobe Lightroom upping the exposure to create a merge of the bath and the milk-water and reducing the grain on the image. I wanted the pictures to look dreamy and I'm happy that I've achieved this, I think she looks like a little Greek goddess. You can see the difference in the before and after below.
I'm so pleased with the way they've turned out, we plan on framing them and displaying in the bathroom. It's such a lovely way to remember how small they are too. For further memory building you could also get in the tub too, this would be especially lovely if you'd had a water birth. I hope this has helped and encouraged you to try out your own milk bath photoshoot. Make sure you tag me in any photos you try, I'd love to see them.