Vegan Milk Bath Photography Tutorial (Dairy-Free)

How To Do Your Own DIY Milk Bath Photography Without Milk

If you love those beautiful milk bath pictures but hate the thought of sitting in actual milk, you’re not alone.

This tutorial was created for vegans and anyone looking for a dairy-free way for milk bath photos. Follow the steps below for your own DIY milk bath photography without milk.

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Milk Bath Photo Shoot Preparation

One of the first things to think about is how you want to set the scene.  Which things catch your eye while browsing through other people’s photos.

Through your research, you’ll need to decide on your:

  • Outfit -dress, hair, floral crowns, undergarments
  • Flowers – colors and type
  • Makeup
  • Location
  • Lighting – enough natural light or is additional studio light needed
  • Timing – so that baby is most cooperative.

What Do You Wear To A Milk Bath Photo Shoot?

For me, it was a lace gown and a floral crown.  You can pick up the gown and the floral crown inexpensively.

If you go with a sheer gown, don’t forget to add matching undergarments.

The gown I chose was sheer so I wore nude underwear and a purple bra that matched the flowers.

Tip: Mix and match multiple dresses and crowns for a customized look.

Sheer lace gown and purple bohemian crown with purple bra for a vegan milk bath photo shoot

Decide On A Milk Bath Location

If you’re doing this photo shoot at home, chances are you only have one or two baths that your photo shoot can take place.

You’ll want a large tub that is deep enough for most of your legs to get submerged in water. There also needs to be enough space for your photographer to be on a step stool. The best angle for a milk bath photo is with the photographer looking down from above.

Our master bathroom has a large garden tub with jets that we decided to use.  If your tub has visible jets, make sure that the water level is filled to right above the jets.  

A milk bath would work in a standard tub as well but it would probably be tight and may be hard to add extra lighting.

How To Light A Dark Bathroom

The best lighting is going to be natural light. Many tubs in master bathrooms have windows above them.

If your tub has a window, then having your photo shoot in the morning before the sun gets too harsh is the best.

For bathrooms without windows or if the natural light seems too dark, your best option will be to add additional lighting with softboxes. Here is the set I recommend.

How To Make A Milk Bath For Photography Without Milk

The best option for a vegan milk bath is going to be a dairy-free creamer. Creamer’s are thicker than almond or soy milk so it gives the water more opacity.

I used one quart of Silk Soy Creamer in the tub and it gave the water that perfect milky look but without using actual milk. This creamer is in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and is only $4 total.

dairy-free silk soy creamer for milk bath photography without milk

Picking Flowers And Greenery

The last items you’ll need are flowers and greenery.  This can quickly become expensive if you aren’t careful.

When going with fresh flowers, wildflowers and daisies tend to be less expensive than roses or orchids.

Keep this in mind when choosing a floral crown as well since you’ll want your flower types and colors to match.

The floral crown I chose had daisies and wildflowers in it so I looked for bouquets that had the same.  

Thankfully, wildflowers are considerably less expensive than the other flowers. I was able to snag two bouquets of daisy wildflowers for $10 each at my local grocery store.  

two purple wildflower bouquets for vegan milk bath photo shoot without milk

Can you use fake flowers for a milk bath?

Yes, you can. Fake, synthetic, or silk florals from the craft store are a great option. Fake flowers generally cost less than fresh flowers too.

Tip: If you Scotch guard the back of the flower’s they’ll repel water and not sink as quickly.

This brings the grand total of supplies up to……..*drumroll please*…….. $59!

If you already owned a dress or if floral crowns aren’t your thing, then your costs would be even less.  I’ve had luck re-selling photoshoot outfits so I do end up recouping part of those costs.

Tips For Setting The Milk Bath Scene

If your bathroom has natural light, it is best to have the session in the morning or evening to avoid harsh shadows.  Consider putting a white sheet up over the window to filter the light even more.

Plan to have the photo shoot around 10AM for the best natural light. This also works best if this is close to your baby’s nap time.

Babies are less fussy if they’re sleepy but not exhausted. Finding your window of time is essential.

Fill the tub with warm bathwater that is safe for baby.  I filled our tub to over the jets so they wouldn’t show in the photos. Then add an entire quart of dairy-free soy creamer.

Note: If you add the creamer while the tub is still filling it may get slightly frothy.  If that happens then wait until the bubbles go away before starting.

purple wildflower and thistle blooms with ends trimmed in bucket

Take The Photos

It’s now time for mom and baby to safely enter the tub. Before adding the flowers, take some test shots to make sure the lighting and camera settings are right.

Lastly, add the flowers to the water so they don’t start sinking or wilting too quickly.

Babies can get slippery so it’s best to make sure mom always has a good grip on her baby before starting.

The best angle for the photographer is going to be at a slightly elevated angle. This way you’ll have a full view of the but and get a lot of the creamy white water in the shots.

mom and baby vegan dairy free milk bath photo shoot with no milk

How To Do Baby Only Milk Bath Photos

If you want to have some photos of only your baby in the milk bath, then I suggest getting all of the pics with mom and baby first.

Generally, baby only photos are taken with the water level lowered but that will drain most of the milky water away.

Another option is to use a baby bath seat to help position your baby. Here is one that would work.

No matter how deep the water, it is essential to never leave your baby unattended or get distracted checking photos in order to prevent drowning.

For baby milk bath photos, lower the water to a level where the majority of their body is out of the water when using the bath seat.

Then have the photographer take the photos while you are keeping a close eye on your baby, making sure they never submerge. Never be both the photographer and baby watcher!

Editing Milk Bath Photos

After your pics are done, you’ll most likely need to edit them. The one trick I use is to edit the white balance.

Adjusting the white balance will get the milky white water to really pop.

Conclusion

Milk bath photography has a lot of ways you can customize it to your unique style. If flowers aren’t your thing, you could do all greenery with ferns.

It also doesn’t have to be expensive. This vegan milk bath photoshoot cost right under $60.

If you follow this tutorial, I’d love to hear how your photos turn out!

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Stephanie Mantilla

Plant-Based Diet & Vegan Lifestyle Expert

Stephanie is the founder of Plant Prosperous, a plant-based vegan living, and parenting blog. She has been eating a plant-based diet for over 24 years along with a B.S. in Biology & Environmental Science. Stephanie is currently raising her son on a plant-based diet and hopes to help others who are wanting to do the same. You can read more about her here.

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Vegan Milk Bath Photo Shoot With No Milk

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