Maternity Milk Bath Shoot
Something I regret not doing with my first born was doing any sort of maternity photo shoot and documenting my bump so I thought that with my second pregnancy nearly over I should make the time to take some photographs to remember this magical and lets be honest, crazy time. Pregnant in a pandemic anyone?!
I've done some milk baths with babies in the past but this is the first time I've been the subject! I thought it would be a good idea to write up a little post so if you are also pregnant during this time and sad that you may be missing out on your own photoshoot, to show that you can do your own shoot at home very easily.
Real flowers & foliage (fake ones sink!)
Muslin/Dress/Veil (I used my hen do veil and a muslin)
A lockdown buddy to take the photos
First up you need to run a warm bath, you'll be lying in it for a little while so make sure you're happy with the temperature. Once you've run the bath 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 a pint to my bath, but play with consistency, you ideally want the water to have an ethereal look to it.
Cut up your flowers to add texture and contrast to the picture. You need to leave a little bit of the stalk to help steady them in the water. When choosing your flowers consider gender (if you know) and add pinks or blue/purples. Alternatively if you don't know the gender (like we don't) consider using white flowers and greenery to create a more neutral look. Don't add them to the bath until you are in it though or you'll end up sitting on them!
The next bit is important, go to the toilet. You ideally want to be taking these pictures in your third trimester and we all know how often you need to go by this point.
I decided to wear skin coloured underwear for this shoot but if you're feeling brave, want to create a natural look or if you feel you're covered enough you could go underwear free.
Next step, into the bath you go. Arrange your clothes/muslin to drape across you and get your DIY photographer to take a quick picture to see if you're happy with positioning. Then arrange the flowers 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.
When you are happy with the look it's time to snap away. You can try lots of different angles and positions although I found I preferred the photographs from a side angle or birds eye view. My husband had to very carefully climb on to the bath and shoot down. This way he could get a nice bump and flower shot and it was easier to see me cradling the bump. It goes without saying that if you're lockdown buddy is shooting this way you have to be extra careful not to slip, barefoot works best so they can grip.
We took all these pictures with a Canon 1200d in the middle of the afternoon so the light was at it's brightest in our bathroom, however as the bath is next to the window we found it cast a shadow across the bump. In some of the pictures we used this to our advantage but you can see what a difference camera positioning makes in the below photos.
We found that for the majority of the photographs the light worked better with the blind down. Figure out what is the best time of day for you to shoot in your bathroom, as a well lit shot can make all the difference to a photograph.
I wanted the main focus to be on the bump rather than me so the majority of my shots are neck down but you could spend some time doing your hair and make up and turn it into a pamper session to cheer yourself up during these difficult times if you wanted to include your face as well. We also only took photographs with me on my back as it was the style I liked but if you have more space in your bath you could also try shots on your side.
If you have any other children why not include them in the photo session as well, Rosalind loved helping me arrange the flowers and came in for a quick cuddle - although she was very wiggly and we had to shoot quickly!
When it comes to editing the photos it's up to you and your style. I wanted a matte finish with a pink/purple tone but you may prefer bold colours or brightly lit photographs. There are lots of editing apps out there but the one I use every time is Lightroom. You'll see below what a difference an edit can make to your photos.
(L-R: Original, Final Edit, B&W, Bright & Bold)
I hope that this post encourages you to try out your own maternity milk bath shoot, I know that it's difficult being pregnant right now and it often feels like lots of experiences have been taken away and are out of your control but hopefully this may be a fun activity and will give you some photos of your bump to treasure.
If you do attempt your own please do use #mamainthemilkbath so I can see your photos!