I surprised my mom with a 50th birthday party and it was unforgettable! Since my kids couldn’t wait to see her, I asked her to come over early before the party started. That’s when my idea to take a few memorable photos with her turned into these epic 50th birthday party photoshoot ideas.
The first thing she said when she walked in was, “WOW!” She loved all the balloons. Then she asked me how I managed to pull this off by myself, with kids and such a busy schedule. I had to laugh.
My secret is that I saved time by ordering the supplies and balloons for delivery directly to our house. Thanks to Party City, her “Golden Age” birthday decorations were gorgeous, affordable, and easy to set up. I took it to the next level by adding a golden balloon arch. You can find the details for this milestone birthday and more 50th birthday party photoshoot ideas below.
“Golden Age” 50th Birthday
Start by ordering supplies online at Party City and arrange the inflated balloons for delivery on the day of the event. If you order all helium-filled foil balloons, you can set up for the party the day before, since foil balloons last much longer. This will save you time that you can instead use to set up the party. You can also plan to work on the balloon arch the day before to save time.
Birthday Party Supplies:
Here are the exact “Golden Age” birthday party supplies that we used.
- “Fifty” Birthday Candles
- 13piece Foil & Paper Room Decorating Kit
- Mini Metallic Party Hats
- 34in. Gold Number Balloon 5
- 34in. Gold Number Balloon 0
- DIY Air-Filled Gold Balloon Arch Kit
- Tableware Kit for 8 Guests
- Happy Birthday Fringe Foil Letter Banner, 7.8ft
- Happy 50th Birthday Foil Balloon Bouquet, 5pc
- Aged to Perfection Metal Headband
- 50th Birthday Satin Sash, 30in
- Glitter Golden Bottle Confetti Popper, 12.75in
- Golden Age 50th Birthday Room Decorating Kit, 12pc
- Metallic Golden Age 50th Birthday Latex Confetti Balloons, 12in, 6ct
- Round Golden Metal Balloon Arch Kit (6.7FT)
- Gold Table Runner 2 Pieces 12x72in.
- Rectangle Tablecloth – 60 x 102 Inch Polyester Table Cloth for 6′ Table
- Electric Balloon Pump
- Nothing Bundt Cakes Birthday Cake
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Choose a Color
First, choose a color for everyone to wear to the party. I asked my mom what color dress she planned to wear for her big day, and she said, “blue.” So we all planned to wear blue as well. I think choosing a single color makes a surprise photoshoot look more coordinated. Of course, you can always tell the birthday guest your great idea so they can be prepared.
You can also send out a party invitation asking guests to wear the same color. This year we opted for virtual invitations through Punchbowl to save paper.
Next, remember to plan the cake or cupcakes, cookies, and any other dessert you plan to incorporate into the photos. An easy way to incorporate more fun desserts would be checking local bakeries for cake pops and macarons to order. (You can sometimes find macarons at Costco or Sam’s Club as well.)
Party City also carries supplies for candy buffets including the containers and colored candy.
Real flowers can make a big impact in a photo session too. They also make a great gift for the birthday guest after the party.
Most importantly, It’s a good idea to hire a local photographer or designate who will be taking the photos. Since my husband planned to take the photos for us, I gave him ideas of different angles and described what I would like for him to capture. For a more professional photoshoot with a photographer, feel free to create and send a mood board ahead of time so they know what your idea is exactly.
One final note is that I chose to set up the table so he could include her cake and special cake topper candles in the images. But personally, I think the best pictures were when my young children interacted with her. They sang happy birthday to her and my toddler tried pulling the candles off the cake. Those were organic moments that made gorgeous photos and great memories.
*The Maternal Hobbyist Tips:
Make a note that helium-inflated foil balloons last 3-5 days. I also recommend air-filled latex balloons for the balloon arch since they last much longer. Typically, I blow up latex balloons using the air pump, the day before a party. I place the inflated balloons into large bags and store them overnight. They are much easier to transport if you are going to a location with the balloons and you have the opportunity to assemble the balloon arch on the day of the event.
The best way to incorporate plenty of natural light is to set up next to a large window. Ideally, the window can be to either side. Just avoid shooting with the window directly behind you. A good time to shoot this golden birthday is during the day when there is plenty of sunlight.
How to set up the decorations:
Start by inflating the latex balloons using the electric balloon pump. If you choose to inflate these the day before, you can place them into clean trash bags. Just be sure to tighten the top of the bag to prevent any hair from sticking to the balloons thanks to static electricity. Or in my case, to prevent your toddlers from having their own pre-party balloon fest. Please don’t ask me how I learned this. Haha.
Next, if you choose to use a balloon arch, you can assemble it on location. If you use the exact arch I purchased above, make sure you decide whether or not to add the plastic balloon rings to the arch before you attach the final two frame pieces together. These pieces make attaching balloons very easy. They are stackable so the design will look a bit different than our balloon arch.
To achieve the exact look I created, simply attach the balloons to the plastic balloon strip by alternating the direction you insert the balloon into each hole. This is a great way to give the balloon arch a fuller look. You can also attach them in a specific color pattern if you prefer. I save the larger balloons for the bottom of the arch too. For this particular balloon arch, I used clear fishing line to attach the plastic balloon strip to the arch once the balloons were attached.
Then you can start hanging the signs and birthday banners from the decorating kits. My daughter had the idea to hang decorations from our chandelier. I thought it was a fun way to add more visual interest. We simply taped the rest of the decorations to the wall and across the window.
Set the Table
Finally, I ironed the table cloth with a clean towel between the table and the table cloth to eliminate wrinkles. Then I baked cookies and set the table. The good news is you can bake cookies the day before to save time if you choose to.
Last but not least, my mom felt extra special wearing her “Aged to Perfection” headband and her birthday sash during our family photoshoot. She said it was the perfect touch to celebrate her fiftieth birthday in a unique way. Plus we ended up with these amazing shots which will turn into a photo book for Christmas.
Behind the Scenes Set-Up:
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how I set up this special occasion.
50th Birthday Party Photoshoot Ideas:
1.) Firstly, capture the birthday guest’s reaction when they first see their surprise party decorations.
2.) Secondly, photograph the moments the birthday guest is putting on their sash or their crown. Once the crown is on, they can reach up like they’re taking it off, but stop to make it look like they are actually putting their crown on.
3.) Thirdly, ask the birthday guest to hold a balloon or a bouquet of balloons.
4.) Then capture the birthday guest very slowly opening a confetti party popper. Have them pose before they open the party popper, then try photographing the moment the confetti comes out.
5.) Another idea is to have the birthday guest open a birthday gift in front of the camera. They can open a gift by slowly pulling the ribbon, or slowly opening the box and showing what they received. Capture their natural reaction for the best results.
6.) Finally, you can make a toast and slowly cheers the birthday guest.
50th Birthday Party Photoshoot Ideas with children
7.) However, if the birthday guest has grandchildren or young children around, have the birthday guest’s grandchild hand them a balloon and stop to smile.
8.) Next, have the birthday guest’s grandchildren sing “Happy Birthday” to them and capture the moment.
9) You can also try sitting with the birthday guest and capture any organic moments like the grandchildren pulling a candle off the cake.
10.) Then have the grandchildren sit with the birthday guest and give them a hug. They can also try this standing or squatting down.
Ultimately, the best shots are captured when you make the birthday guest smile and feel loved. And the best ideas are authentic.
Cheers to 50, your special day, and half a century of great memories! May this be a great year filled with joy and precious moments!
I would love to know if you are planning a 50th birthday party photoshoot! Or if you need help with ideas, let me know because I’m happy to help.
50th Birthday Gift Idea
Also, if you’re looking for an epic 50th birthday gift, why not consider an experience where you can make memories together? Check out our trip to Discovery Cove where my mother and grandmother got to swim with dolphins and check this amazing experience off their bucket list.
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