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Milk Bath

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A spare bunch of blooms are a perfect excuse for a fresh photography session, and to get some final enjoyment from them with a milk bath.

Milk baths have been around for centuries. Did you know, Cleopatra had a milk bath every day as a part of her beauty ritual? They are said to be moisturising, soothing and naturally exfoliating.

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I always like to give Arlo a milk bath as a break from his usual routine, or as a way to distract him from teething pains or feeling unwell. He usually spends the time playing with the flowers or relaxing. A few times we’ve done it when we’ve been stuck indoors for a long time and need something inspiring to busy ourselves with.

I wish I’d done this when I was pregnant or when Arlo was born. The photographs are just stunning, magical and so easy to do yourself at home.

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You can use a range of flowers, leaves and foliage – I often look at the colours, the textures, the size of the petals, whats available and whats in season. For Arlo I use whites, yellows, browns, reds, deep purples and greens.

I’ll have a range of flower heads, petals and even some with the a bit of stem still attached. Bulging silky smooth peonies are great for a feminine look, and ferns are great for a more rustic look – maybe for a baby boy. Sunflowers are also great for girls and boys, they sit on the surface beautifully and the colours really stand out on top of the milky white water. You can be really creative with this!

You can use fake or real flowers, but I prefer to use real flowers. They could be discounted at the supermarket, or they could be beginning to wilt a little in your vase – they don’t need to be super fresh or expensive (fun fact: the flowers featured in the sink bath below are from my garden!)

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You can also switch up the location, especially if you are bathing a baby. A sink bath is so much fun (and more friendly on your back!)

I often find that kitchens have bigger windows and better light than most bathrooms, so they’re often a better location for photo taking. You can also fill a sink more easily with less flowers, and for the baby it acts like a miniature plunge pool. Otherwise, a bucket, a baby bath, paddling pool, the possibilities are endless…

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What you need:
  • Bath, Sink, Bucket etc.
  • Warm water
  • Milk (cows or almond…)
  • Flowers petals, cut flower heads or with a small bit of stem and foliage – fake or real!
  • Optional – bath salts, essential oils
  • Your subject, your baby, you (dressed in a lacy nightgown maybe..?)
  • Also optional: candles or bubbles
  • Photographer (You, your partner, your BFF…)
How to:
  • Check the lighting. Our bathroom is very hard to take photographs in due to the lack of natural light and awful artificial light. Our kitchen is great, but only on a bright afternoon. Evaluate the light, if it depends on a particular time of day set up the bath at that optimum time.
  • Fill your bath, sink or container with warm water. Turn the tap off when you’ve got the perfect amount. Remember if you are putting your baby in to have a fairly shallow level that reaches their ears
  • Add any bath salts, essential oils, rolled oats – let them melt and blend into the water
  • Add the milk – you won’t need a lot to turn the water white, but the more you add the more dense and creamy it will become
  • Scatter the flowers and/or leaves and foliage. Mix them up, but don’t spend too much time arranging them into the perfect layout as they’ll drift.
  • Put your subject in the bath. If you are shooting a baby – be careful they don’t attempt to eat any of the flowers. Arlo likes to rip them apart, but I find this is great for him and for the photographs.
  • Blow bubbles, light candles – set the scene, get creative
  • Take photographs.
  • When you are finished, and the subject is warm and dry, pick out the flower heads and pat them dry. You could use them again for a different bath, or a flat lay, various photographs – otherwise you can finally retire them. I never let go of my flowers until they stop inspiring me.


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