A blog from your portrait photographer showing you behind the scenes images & information from current and past shoots, sharing laughs, inviting you to appreciate other artists, & more. We're going to talk about how I have created some images, my thought process, what I look for, styling, the effect of emotional trials, and combing over why this practice is so important.
So I don’t know if this is a
popular thing outside of the photography realm, but something kind of odd I’ve
seen explode the last few years are milk bath sessions. It’s often some young
pretty girl depicted in a bath filled with white liquid and strewn with
flowers, greenery, or fruit. I’ve seen boudoir, maternity, & occasionally
baby sessions done this way. It’s somewhat simple to set up, but the talent is
in the posing and lighting.
First off, I hope you’re curious,
because I’m totally explaining.
WHAT TO WEAR
There has to be wardrobe
coordination with the photographer. The photographer should go over what works best
and discuss colors, fabrics, styles etc. Sheer or lace gowns, tops, lingerie,
and robes seem to be favorites, but a LOT of time, people opt to just go nude.
You don’t necessarily have to
take a milk bath in a tub. Sometimes, people get an outdoor kiddie pool &
cover it in a sheet of (usually) solid color plastic, a galvanized tub (for
kids), or the obvious nice, clean bathtub. Then start filling it with water and
add milk until the water turns as white as you want. Let’s face it, it would be
cold, uncomfortable thick, sticky, downright gross, and expensive to completely
fill it with milk. Something a little less common, but nonetheless, fun, is
adding a little tint to the water. I know I tried my first stab at this last
year in a creepy self portrait & I just used black watercolor paint. I’d
never do this for a client, but it was just me. I’d find a more natural or skin
friendly option, like color bath tabs. Do they have those in black?
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE
This was from a 365 project in 2018. Every day I had prompt & created something relevant. This day was “surface”. So I did “What Lies Beneath (the surface)”. I thought about this pretty surface on the water with this wicked creepy thing living in the depths.
That’s actually my hand that
I latexed and painted. It was tricky to angle it so it didn’t’ look like my
arm, especially without a mirror. This is when I learned silk flowers sink. And
because this was a self portrait, I Photoshopped more flowers around my head
because they kept sinking and floating away. To be honest, it was a total pain
in the ass, but it was fun and I learned a lot.
it’s inside, hopefully there’s a beautiful window nearby, otherwise you’ll have
to pull out the lighting equipment, -and that just makes me nervous. Outside,
it’s harder to control the light because the sun can make super bright spots
and trees & things cast crazy shadows. So if it is in the great outdoors,
there needs to be a reflector or flash to brighten the shadows or a thingy
called a scrim to even out nasty light (like a filter to darken the bright
spots & decrease the shadowy areas).
Once the bath & lights
are ready, you stick your brave subject down in the milky water & grab your
flowers/props. The flowers have to be fresh to float, or you have to spray
artificial flowers/greenery with Scotchgard, allow them to dry, and then float
you add the props. You really are just making it a harder fight if you add them
and then stick the client in the water because all of that special arrangement
gets tossed when the water starts to move because, well, obviously, the water
moves when someone gets in. So stick the subject in and then add flowers or
whatever ya got. Floating things tend to drift and move, so repositioning seems
to happen a lot. It definitely takes a tedious eye & patience.
seen these mostly done with flowers, whatever kind the client wants,
coordinated with the attire and make up. Greenery is starting to become more
popular, which is cool. It’s less fuss and a little more natural and easier to
obtain. Something I’ve see a ton with babies are the fruit baths. They put them
in a milk bath, or sometimes just a regular bath, and float strawberries,
orange and/or lemon slices. It sounds weird when I read it aloud, but it does
turn out super cute and fun, especially for summer.
anyway, on to the point of all of this! I was skimming my Facebook feed a
couple of days ago, & I stopped on this amazing milk bath image. I wish I
could credit the artist, but it’s a private group. My (almost 5 year old) son
was really curious about it. I think he was asking about the “water”. So of
course, I just explained the whole milk bath, but in way less detail than this
blog. Wondering how this must sound to a kid, I threw in a joke about how we
could do one for him but we’d toss in cereal instead of flowers. Cause the kid
loves cereal, and let’s get real, it’s a gigantic bowl of milk.
absolutely LOVED this idea. I kind of did too. So a box of Fruit Loops later,
we created this:
don’t have girls to practice on, so this was the first time I figured out how
to use a boy as a guinea pig for this kind of thing. I do regret not having
more Fruit Loops to fill in the gaps. Dealing with someone his age, my time was
limited, so I didn’t bother repositioning the Fruit Loops more than once or
twice! He had a hard time sitting still & just wanted to eat them and play
in delight. I could have used good ole Photoshop to add more cereal, but I
didn’t feel the need. I also seriously regret not thinking of how to clean this
crap up before I created the mess! I got a big slotted spoon to remove the
soggy cereal from my bathtub, which, as you can imagine, was a painfully slow
process. The kid had tons of fun & I got to experiment, so I’d definitely
do it again. To return to my website, click this link: Eye Candy by Karmen