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Interesting Challenges with Milk Bath Photography

“Artists are people who have learned to live with doubt and do the work anyway.”

~ Julia Cameron

Milk bath photography is a great style of photography and growing to become one of my favorites. I always say that one of the great things about milk bath photography is the focus on the subject. There’s a defined space that allows for creativity with the competition and also very interesting challenges that one may not expect.

One might think that it would be super easy to take milk bath photography. The subject is not moving a lot, you’re not moving a lot as a photographer. It should be simple, right? No! It is really easy to overthink or mess up a milk bath photography session. While the challenges are always welcomed as a creator to grow, there are some things that are always present and have to be worked around with each session.

Photo by Miranda

1. The Actual Setup

Unless you’re using a tub, the setup can be a bit tricky. For either a tub or kiddy pool, you still have to make sure everything is clean, build up anything that will be used around the water for the photo, fill the pool or tub, mix in the milk and cover the water with whatever foliage and props. If you’re using a kiddy pool, there’s the connecting of the hose and probably additional heating if you want the water at a comfortable temperature. Then at the end, you have to breakdown everything you just set up. That’s a lot of time.

Photo by Miranda

2. The Posing

Posing can either be complicated or simple, depending on the desired image, props and the amount of water used. Whether you’re using a tub, jacuzzi, or pool, posing can still be challenging as a result of trying to create various body shapes. The body shape, for the most part, will form that line that is directing the eye through the photograph, making movement and creating contrast against the water. For the model, supporting the body for these shapes may be tricky. There may be a need for supporting props in the water unless the bath is something like 5-8 inches high. Even still, tubs and pools are not soft and after a while can be strenuous to work in. Finally, you can drown in two inches of water, so there’s always that risk.

Photo by Miranda

3. The Shots and Angles

Now, this can be challenging depending on your height. For me, this is a big challenge because I’m barely 5’1. Any profile shots, I have down to the tea, because I’m shooting square on the ground. Overhead shots are where my challenges come in. Usually, a ladder is required for any high overhead shots and I’m trying to stay balanced and not fall off.

Photo by Miranda

4. The Un-expectancies of Props

Over the course of shooting various milk bath sessions, I’m still learning what items float well. Real flowers and petals are always your best bet of what will float well. Every now and then though, I do want to include other things such as pinecones, branches, and fabrics. What will float cannot always be based on weight and artificialness. In those instances, you either have to work against a clock or completely scrap the idea.

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Have you done a milk bath session before? Was there anything that you found challenging? Please feel free to share any challenges you overcame and any workarounds.

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