Pregnancy is a very special time in a woman's life. Her body and emotions go through so many changes. Many women love to have traditional maternity photos done with their family or of just themselves to celebrate this special occasion. One popular way to beautifully preserve this time is through a milk bath photography session.
A milk bath session is just that. You get to sit back and relax in a warm milky bath, most of the time surrounded by flowers and greenery while your photographer captures you in various bump enhancing positions as you recline in the tub. It's often so comfortable and relaxing that many mothers speak of very nearly falling asleep.
Milk bath sessions can be quite varied. Things like changing the flowers that are floating on the water's surface or alternating different colored fabrics and water-friendly gowns can result in some of the most beautiful images you will ever create. The water can be anywhere from a translucent filmy haze of white to completely opaque. It depends on how much milk is added to the water. Preparation for a milk bath session is the same as most any photoshoot of an intimate nature. You should take care to remove any unwanted hair and exfoliate your skin so that your healthy pregnant glow shows well in your images.
Wearing skin toned undergarments such as a strapless well-supporting bra and underwear is important since many times they will show through fabric once it is wet. And don't forget to bring a dry change of under clothes. Hair and makeup that is professionally done can be beneficial although some or all of your hair may get wet. It's not unheard of to completely submerge your head in a tub that is large enough to allow you to do that. It's important to book your session with a photographer who can mimic natural light in the absence of a window near the tub or during a time of day where the ambient light is not cooperating. When I do a maternity milk bath session I generally expect to host the expectant mother in my home studio for about 2 hours. The reason I take that length of time is because I provide a large bouquet of highly varied flowers and greenery and multiple fabrics and dresses, each of which are changed frequently throughout our time together.
Those changes tend to lengthen the session time. Some photographers will arrange the flowers all at once and keep the same gown or fabric throughout which can be quite beautiful but I like variety. In post-processing I like to remove tub fixtures so that they are no longer present in the final edits of each image. Since milk bath sessions are done in a reclining position it's important to choose a time in your pregnancy where your bump is most prominent. Anywhere between 32 and 35 weeks is what I recommend. Milk bath sessions are perfect for mothers who might have a high risk pregnancy and cannot walk far distances as they might during a regular photo shoot out of doors. It's also great for when the weather isn't nice as in very cold winters or sweltering summer heat. Some of my favorite maternity images have been of milk bath sessions. If you are planning a photo shoot for your pregnancy, consider the milk bath.
Whatever you do, Book your shoot and make your arrangements soon. I can't tell you how many times people have waited too late to plan for their maternity pictures and ended up delivering their child without ever having been able to preserve those precious memories.