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Maternity Photography: Milk and Flower Bath Essentials

Milk and essential flower baths are historically known for their beautifying benefits. From Cleopatra to Elizabeth I of England, many have deemed them their intoxicating secret. Maternity photography in a milk and fresh flower bath will not only give your client the relaxing ending to her session but will create a unique memory and images that will emphasize shape, light, glowing brightness, and shine to her baby bump in an unconventional style. The combination of the milk-warm water with the texture of fresh flower and greens automatically brings natural comfort and relaxing positioning. As a photographer, creating a milk and flower bath session is a wonderful way to give extra pampering with a soothing sense of calm and luxury for your clients. 

Here’s How to Get Started:

A white tub is highly recommended. The tub will blend in with your milk water and accentuate the colorful array of flowers.  Make sure ahead of time that your client or the studio you are renting has one.

Shopping:

  • 2 gallons of whole milk (you want your milk thick and white)
  • Freshly cut all natural flowers (same day or a day before). Make sure to buy a variety of greens as well, a 2-3 color scheme of flowers.
  • Make sure your flowers stay fresh in a vase with warm water.
  • 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp fresh lemon helps keep them fresh until shooting.

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Clothing:

It’s always pretty to have your client wear some white or cream colored lace fitted dress.  Another option is lace lingerie in white or cream. These fabrics react beautifully when wet, like paint on skin. If it’s not something you own, visit the nearest thrift shop or flea market to find a unique outfit. Don’t forget to get those to a dry cleaner before use.

Another great resource for finding unique, custom pieces is on Etsy! Check out some of our favorite shops:

Hair & Makeup:

  • Up in a bun, or down to the sides.
  • Since it is a bathtub set up, a natural and soft daytime makeup is perfect for the session.

A Few Essentials:

Plan your bath set up toward the end of your shoot as hair and makeup will get wet and ruined. Set up your camera and find the right angle to shoot from. Play with the settings and angles to produce a variety of shooting points. Try to shoot using natural light. If natural light is not available, use a softbox as an external lighting source.

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1. Bath Prep:

Start filling your bath with warm water up to 1/2 of tub height, check your water temperature for the proper warmth. Once filled to the desired depth, slowly add the milk to avoid bubbles or foam. Stir with your hands to even the milk to the best white color, and add some hot /cold water to reach the perfect warmth and toasted tub.

While the water is running, cut the stem from the flower crown and set them aside. Don’t cut too close to the flower petals, as they might break in the water (happened to me before.. it was a pain to take out all the petals out of the tub).

Have your client get in the tub and let her find the right and comfortable position. The water should cover below her chest line with the belly and legs exposed.

2. Adding The Flowers:

Every time I work on something creative, I remind myself of a very clever expression: “Less is more“. Please Don’t go crazy with the flowers, it’s not a wedding. Be mindful of the amount you add as well as the style and arrangement. Gently spread them around her belly, arms and thighs. Focus on color, texture, composition, and style (no need for flowers around feet). The flowers might flow in the water throughout the shooting and it’s okay; you might find it more natural.

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3. Shoot:

Take some test shots, find your creative angles, from the top, sides, far away or up close. Start shooting, flatter your Mama and make her feel gorgeous and open to your camera.

Make sure the angles are flattering. Play with lighting and focal point. Also, try different angles of her in the tub. Don’t forget to enjoy and make sure your mama is comfortable and having fun. Turning on some comforting tunes can be a great way to ease her into her mommy session

4. Follow-Up:

Do your due-diligence post shoot! After your session, offer up a few teaser shots before giving your client the full portfolio. Additionally, you can ask if they would like to review the raw footage and select their favorites for editing.

Once you’ve put together their portfolio, schedule a time to deliver to your client. Even if you’re doing a shoot with digital files, offer a CD, USB drive or some prints with the digital images. This is a great way to show your appreciation of each client and will keep them coming back in the future.

If you plan on doing additional product sales, schedule a longer meeting with your client to review a product catalog. To prepare, ask your client what they would like to do with their images, then prepare a slideshow to highlight products that they’ll love for their keepsake and aesthetic value. Consider the following as great Maternity Shoot keepsakes!

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About the Author: Keren Cohen of Keren Cohen Photography

Keren Cohen is a mother of 2 dragons and the creator of Keren Cohen Photography. She lives in sunny Los Angeles, California.

“Growing up beside my legendary father has shaped and sculpted me into loving the world of photography. I am grateful for my gift, of making special moments last a lifetime through a photo.  I Specialize in Maternity, Newborn, Family,  Boudoir and Events, with a comfortable, bright and contemporary style that will suit the modern family. Serving Los Angeles and surrounding area.”


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