One evening I was watching television when a commercial caught my attention. I can not recall what the ad was for, but I remember seeing a claw foot bathtub in it and I thought, wow, that would look amazing in a boudoir photo shoot. The following day I did and internet search and found an awesome looking claw foot bathtub at a great price, so I purchased one.
My studio has a bathtub in it already and I had no intention of swapping it out with the new claw foot tub. Instead, I was going to build a completely new set for it.
I was happy with how the set turned out.
Now it is time to try out the tub.
I wanted to create some beautiful milk bath photographs in it. Milk bath photos are all the rage and extremely popular in maternity photography and boudoir photography. Perfect!
Initially, I thought about using fake flowers in the photos, simply because they can be reused. However, after some research, I learned that fake flowers will sink to the bottom of the tub. So real flowers it is.
I went to the grocery store and picked up three bouquets of flowers. I selected bouquets that had flowers with soft colors and would compliment the milk bath boudoir shoot I was doing.
I also picked a container of non-dairy creamer. I chose the non-dairy creamer instead of actual milk mainly because I thought the milk would smell funny during the shoot or even after the shoot if the client did not want to rinse it off.
About an hour before the photo shoot I cut off the majority of the stem from the flowers. Then I placed the flowers face down on the floor so they can keep their shape and hopefully open up a little more.
The claw foot tub is not connected to a faucet, so when it was time to shoot, I had to fill the tub with multiple buckets of warm water.
While filling my first bucket of water, I stirred in about 1/3 of the container of non-dairy creamer and mixed it until it was completely dissolved. I then dumped the bucket into the tub and added about seven more buckets with only water.
The amount of creamer I used gave a great looking, soft milky color. The thing I enjoyed most about using the non-dairy creamer was the smell. It gave off a pleasant, sweet scent. I loved it!
I had window light available for the shoot, but I decided to use a strobe with a large softbox pointed towards the ceiling. The softbox gave me an evenly lit image versus the window light that had more shadows.
Before I placed the flowers in the tub, I had my client lay in it first. This allowed me to see if the color of the milk bath is desirable, and to adjust the water level in the tub if needed.
After the water level was perfect, I then posed my client and had her lie still while I placed the flowers around her. Once everything was all in place, I climbed up to the top of my step-stool and took a few shots.
I had her change poses a few times.
Each time her pose changed I would have to rearrange the flowers and add/remove some depending on how much open space was left by the pose.
My first milk bath boudoir photo shoot was a success! I am very pleased with the images.
The following day I had a maternity shoot and she wanted to try the milk bath for a few of her photos.
The milk bath maternity photos looked equally beautiful.
1. Have lots of towels handy. The client will need to dry off and you do not want her to be cold or dripping water all over your floor while you search for extras.
2. Carry a dry washcloth in your pocket. You will need to dry your hands each time you arrange the flowers and you do not want your camera getting wet.
3. Keep your clients clothing minimal. During the first boudoir milk bath shoot, the client wore a bra and panties and they looked very out of place in the photos. If they are not comfortable being nude or hiding what they do not want shown under the milk bath, suggest wearing something sheer.
4. Use real flowers. You can also buy the ones that are marked down because they are “older”. They may not look great standing in a vase, but when they are laying in a milk bath it is hard to tell. Also, the real flowers can be used again within a few days.
5. Poses are somewhat limited in a tub, especially depending on the size of the tub, the client, and her flexibility. Milk bath photos are a great add-on to an existing boudoir or maternity shoot, but not so much as a stand alone shoot.
6. Place a non-slip bath mat inside the tub. The milk bath can be a little slippery and the last thing you want is having your client slip while trying to get out of the tub. Help them out, literally.
7. Have fun and make some beautiful milk bath photos for your clients to love forever!!!