A few months ago I bought a big metal tub, specifically because I wanted to have a go at doing a DIY Milk Bath Photoshoot. Technically it was a ‘business’ purchase for my photography business, but I could hardly launch the product without a test drive, so I set up my very patient model (there’s one benefit of having cute babies around you!) in a simple DIY Milk Bath.
The results, I have to say, were pretty impressive and enough to make me fall in love with this particular style of photography and start planning my next DIY Milk Bath to be even better. Still, I thought I would share a few tips and tricks for anyone wanting to attempt their own DIY Milk Bath, because it really is easy as anything.
First, It’s Not All Milk
When I initially heard about milk baths and saw the photos of other people’s milk bath photoshoots I assumed you would need a whole lot of milk to achieve the effect. Actually you really only need a small amount, probably 5-10% of the overall bath volume. And you do not put the milk in first, which I also would have done if I hadn’t researched it a bit first. First you put the water, then you gently pour the milk in and mix it to distribute in the water. If you put the milk in first, and then run the water on top, you’re going to end up with a lot of milky bubbles, inside the biggest non-edible milkshake ever. You can use pretty much any milk you want, but for this one I just used full cream cows milk. Oscar has no dairy allergy, and I didn’t want to pump and dump that much breastmilk.
Choose Your Decorations Ahead Of Time
My first home DIY Milk Bath was a bit on the fly, so I hadn’t really planned my bath decorations ahead of time. With just a few things in the house, I used what was available, which was three large oranges. I sliced them very thin, got the water in the bath and then floated the oranges on top before adding the baby. I’ve seen people use all kinds of interesting things in their DIY Milk Bath shoots, from flowers to fruit, plants and even cereal! The oranges were perfect for where Oscar is at the moment, because he just puts everything in his mouth, and he loves oranges. If you’re looking for some inspiration as to what to put in your milk bath, I highly recommend checking out Pinterest.
Seek The Light
As with any photoshoot you do, it’s important to make sure the light is in your favour. With my DIY Milk Bath the tub is portable so I have a lot of freedom as to where I shoot to capture the best light. For this particular shoot I placed the tub on the floor directly in front of a double glass door. It was close to lunchtime, and the light was good but not streaming directly in through the windows. When I took the pictures, I moved around the tub to capture the light from different spots, making sure not to stand directly in front of the doors.
Play With Angles, Look For Detail
A great DIY Milk Bath is about more than just what goes into the bath. It’s about how you capture the scene, taking in the colours of your additions and decorations against the beautiful opaque milkiness in whatever tub you are using. For these photographs I used a 50mm lens, and worked on capturing the little details as much as the scene as a whole. The oranges floating in the water, Oscar’s little baby rolls, him interacting with the oranges and the water. I shot from straight on and from above, getting down on his level and standing both close to him and further away. Playing with different angles mean more opportunities to get a great shot, instead of just standing in one place and snapping away.
Doing a DIY Milk Bath was such a fun challenge for me as a photographer, and it’s definitely not going to be the last of my explorations into this style of photography. Next time I’m hoping to add more florals and natural botanicals into my bath scene, and see how Oscar interacts with everything being a little older and even more packed with personality.
Hope this was a helpful start to you doing your own DIY Milk Bath! Feel free to share your photos with me, I’d love to see how they turned out. If you’re looking to do more DIY photoshoots, check out my guide to DIY Newborn Photos and my tips on freelensing!