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So Stacey and I had the very unique opportunity Friday night to take part in a HUGE moment for Josh and Carlin! Josh was sent my way by our good photographer friend, Ann Wade Parrish, to help him out with proposing to Carlin!

Now this wasn’t your ordinary “stand off to the side and take picture of the moment” job. Nope. I had a speaking part! :-P The big moment happened on a hillside overlooking Ross Bridge Resort here in Birmingham. It was a little dark, but secluded just enough to make it perfectly intimate. (Minus of course, yours truly down by the pool, and Stacey playing paparazzi in the bushes further up the hill!)

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves!

We figured we’d go ahead and provide you with a narrative of the evening as we show off some pictures …

Josh planned out the entire night to be a special one for Carlin. In her mind, they were leaving a graduation party and coming out to Ross Bridge to meet some friends for drinks. Then it was going to be off to the lake the next day.

He, however, had reserved a room at Ross Bridge for the night, and had left some amazing gifts for Carlin to see when she got there! The folks at Ross Bridge, true to their romantic form, didn’t see it fit for Carlin and Josh to enjoy this night in any old hotel room. So they gave them an itty bitty upgrade to the Presidential Suite! (For those of you who’ve seen it …. it’s ridiculous. Really.)

Josh had a jewelry box, gorgeous yellow roses, and a little journal titled “All About Us” waiting for Carlin in the room. But again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves!

Stacey and I showed up early to shoot some pictures of the room and gifts…

The suite …

And the gifts …

So here’s where the plan really took off! Josh had checked in earlier in the day to set up the room, but he had also left the ring in the suite safe for yours truly to carry, and sneakily deliver to him just moments before he got down on one knee! I know what you’re thinking! I can’t believe he trusted me either! I think Stacey had her doubts too, since she spent the next two hours checking every 35 seconds to make sure I had the ring safe! :-P

We pulled the ring out of the safe and took some shots of it before heading downstairs …




Inside of the gorgeous jewelry box, Josh had left Carlin a year’s-worth of notes detailing 365 reasons why he loves her. He gave us permission to shoot a few pictures of some of the notes. My personal favorite was, “I love you because you like Koala Bears.”


Stacey’s favorite …


So with the ring very tightly in hand, and the room all ready to go … Stacey and I went down to get set in our positions for the big moment!

The entire plan revolved around me acting as a bumbling, stumbling, slightly flustered photographer. So basically …. all I had to do was be myself! I had been contracted by Ross Bridge to shoot some pictures of the facility for what I dubbed “A Romantic Guide to the Resort.” Josh and I had been texting back-and-forth with some really detailed messages in the hour leading up to the big moment … see ladies, us guys really can have an intellectual conversation …

As Carlin and Josh walked into the main hotel lobby, I pulled them aside and desperately explained that my models from the agency had failed to appear, and I needed a gorgeous couple (which they conveniently were) to just sit on the couch and snuggle for a few minutes.

The next set of reactions from Carlin were priceless! Unbeknownst to me, Carlin does modeling work, and therefore, knows all the modeling agencies in Birmingham and a lot of photographers who work for them. Ugh! One of her first questions was, “Oh, which agency do you work for?” And my answer was something along the lines of …. “uhm, I work for kjghdkghdlkj.” (No really, that’s what I said.)

Thankfully, Josh interrupted and saved me from having to actually think on the fly. Which has never been a great skill of mine! But back to the story!

I had them sit down on the couch in the lobby and snapped a quick couple of frames …


Then I explained that I had one more shot I DESPERATELY needed to get, and this was my last night to shoot. Josh and I could both tell that Carlin was getting just a little suspicious of me right now, so we had to move fast! I led them through the hotel, and up the hill to the spot that Josh had picked out. My job here was to hand off a small lens bag to Josh to hold, while I ran back to get the memory card that I had forgotten (Again, I’m a natural at this whole chaotic photographer role!)

I didn’t tell Josh in all of the planning, that Stacey and I were also going to video this amazing moment for them. We thought it would be cool to show the video, paired with some of the pictures we were shooting at the time from my vantage point, and Stacey’s in the bushes!

See if you can notice where I literally lose my camera in the dark, and have to go running back and forth across the screen trying to find it! It was fully dark by the time we got to the hill, so I had set up two of our modeling lights. Even with their help, we’re sorry for the noise in some of the shots! We both pushed the D3’s to their limit, and I definitely think they came through!

So, sit back and enjoy a very cool moment …

Josh and Carlin – The Proposal from Brandon Gresham on Vimeo.

And here’s the slideshow pictures again in MUCH better resolution!

Right before the big moment …


Down on a knee (Cameras working their tails off!) …


Then it was time to try on the bling!

Stacey and I quickly introduced ourselves to Carlin, and I immediately went to work trying to convince her that I wasn’t normally that out-of-whack. Stacey told me later that she thought I acted 100% natural :-P

Then it was time for a quick little engagement shoot. By far, the most timely that Stacey and I have ever been a part of!










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Thank you Josh for asking us to be part of this beautiful moment! And congratulations to you and Carlin for taking such a huge step in your lives!

Carlin, I’ve spent all of two hours with Josh, but it’s been ridiculously obvious in that short period of time just how much he cares for you and loves you. And Josh …. man, you’re one lucky guy!

-Brandon and Stacey

9 Responses

  1. Southern Wedding Photography | Gresham Photography » Carlin and Josh | Featured Work [...] Destination I Do Magazine’s blog! In addition to the wedding, they also featured Josh’s elaborate proposal, which included a cameo by yours truly. Take a peak at the feature, and make sure to check out [...]

  2. Birmingham Alabama Wedding Photography | Gresham Photography » Josh and Carlin | The Wedding – Part I [...] seen our blog post from earlier this year about how Josh proposed to his gorgeous bride, be sure to check it out here before reading the rest of this [...]

  3. Emily Riutta I think every girl at work has now seen this page and teared up. You two are truly meant to be together and what an AMAZING story, god bless you both and may all your dreams come true! I still look at this about once a week and tear up, how wonderful! love you

  4. Brittney Gould Brandon and Stacey, Yall did an AMAZING job! I was in tears by 30 seconds because that was such a beautiful proposal captured so well!!! All I can say after watching that is WOW! Love you guys!

  5. Dennis Bullock Wow ... I bet she was shocked! So cool that you guys could be part of it.

  6. Miranda ~ Reminisce Awesome job! That's so great that you recorded it for them, too. I love the box of reasons he loves her... SO cute! Brandon, your frantic running around in the beginning of the video totally cracked me up :D

  7. Kim Bonnet I am a high school friend of Josh's, he has an amazing heart and I am so excited that you were able to capture these moments in time. I too was wiping away the tears!

  8. Micha Everett FANTASTIC! I swear I found myself wiping my eyes what a fabulous guy to get this all on tape and photos! You guys rocked!

  9. Kricia Morris Photography Guys that was awesome! The video gave me goosebumps and I am so impressed with the shots that you got! Fantastic job, and how special was that to be able to be there for such a big moment!? Great job!