Milk Bath Photography – How To Guide

I was doing some googling the other day (as one often does) and ran across some milk bath photos. Of course, the question I immediately thought of was, how do you do that? I did a little digging and have created a DIY Milk Bath Photography guide below.

How do you do milk bath photography?

It’s not as hard as it may seem and don’t worry, you don’t need to fill an entire bath full of milk. There is a little prep work before you get started though.

Dramatic Milkbath photo

The milk bath recipe

  1. Fill a bathtub with warm water
  2. Add 2-3 liters of full fat milk (full fat milk gives the best look)
  3. Let the mixture settle for 15 minutes
  4. Add flower and leaves with a bit of stem (to help keep them upright when the float)
  5. Get the perfect shot
  6. Rinse (don’t skip this final step)

What is the purpose of milk bath photos?

Milk bath photos have become popular recently as a unique way to have maternity or newborn photos. There’s a variety of purported health reasons for taking milk baths, however, ultimately it just looks pretty cool.


Additionally the fat in milk can help improve the look of your skin. Supposedly Kleopatra used to bath daily in donkey milk (although I personally don’t recommend that for a whole slew of reasons)

Roses In Milk Bath

How do I make milk bath photography without milk?

Although real milk will probably give the best look, you could use an alternative like coffee creamer, powdered milk & some other have even used flour instead of milk.

close up of legs in milk

What camera settings should I use?

This depends greatly on the look and feel you’re going for. Since the subject is still you can get away with very little light and set your aperture wide open (as long as you’re using a tripod or some other stead surface to rest your camera on)

If however you are hand holding your camera, you’ll probably need a flash or at the very least a bright source of indirect light. Overhead lights will almost certainly ruin the look of the shot. A side angle very large light source (like a window) will give the best quality of light.

Foliage for bath

Here are a few ideas of things to add to your milk bath photo.




Rose petals Sunflowers



Baby’s Breath

Decorative Foliage

These are just a few ideas to get you started.

Pregnant woman doing a milk bath photo shoot

What does a milk bath symbolize?

Based on my research it doesn’t really symbolize anything. It seems like the trend started as a way to keep one’s skin looking youthful. However, I’m not so convinced that it would actually do that.

How do you make a milk bath with powdered milk?

The process is similar to using real milk, however instead of a couple gallons you’ll only need 1 cup of powdered milk. While the water is running add the powdered milk under the faucet (much like you’d do with bubble bath) and you should have a fancy milk bath in no time.

How many gallons of milk do you need for a milk bath?

2-3 liters is plenty. If you only have skim or 2% milk on hand you might have to use more. Whole milk however is the best option.

Can you use fake flowers for a milk bath?

Unlike real flowers, fake flowers won’t float on the bath. Fake leaves might (depending on their size). In all honesty you’re better to use the real thing since in the end your photos will look much better. When trimming your flowers be sure to leave a small amount of stem still attached. This helps right the flowers as they float on top of the milk bath.