JOSH + SUSAN FOWLER
Adventure seekers  //  adoption advocates  //  13 years of marriage
5 kids  //  2 businesses  //  We like living life to the fullest

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Inside Business

What REALLY Goes on During a Wedding Day

By far the most embarrassing post of the year… we’re taking you behind the scenes today!  It’s honestly my favorite post too, because I get to share our passion with you!  We have a lot of fun, but there’s some intense moments, too!  I’ll jump right in and narrate as we go.

This is exactly what makes our world go round… this was taken at 1am on the streets of Norfolk.  Shaoli + Alex had been up since… 5am?  We had too!  But their day was simply perfect, and Josh showed them some video he’d just taken.  We love showing clients some footage or photos when we have the time!  It really encourages them that yes, they look amazing!!

And here’s some ring shots from their engagement session.  It was the end of the night and we’re on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.
Oh, and the tulips!  There was this singular line of tulips in full bloom during their engagement session on Freemason Street.  They really wanted some great shots with the tulips, but… it was just this small strip.  I love using perspective to make everything look fuller and more whimsical!

And it’s a little known fact, but Josh takes some photos too when we’re on an engagement shoot together!  He does all our video and I do all our photos, but we like to stay sharp on each others skills because sometimes we have to step in for each other, and we don’t want to be rusty.  🙂Behind the scenes at Shaoli + Alex’s wedding.  Guys, this was one of our favorite things ever.  The colors, the excitement and joy, the smiling faces and new stories and traditions that are new to us.  It is so incredibly fun and challenging and awesome!We had 8 people on our team that day.  It was a meticulously planned schedule, because each person arrived and left at a different time!  Josh and myself worked the whole day, so we had to make sure to schedule in breaks for ourselves (which was so hard because there was so many fun things going on!).  We had events going on in various places within the hotel, with different groups of people, and we wanted to cover all of it well.  The awesome thing about our team is that we work together so well, there are pieces of the day that I never even saw!  I never went into the grooms suite, ever.  I also went into the ceremony area to prepare for the grand entrance, while others stayed back with the baraat crowd and captured some of the coolest moments and traditions!Speaking of the baraat… it’s the parade through the street you often hear about at an Indian wedding.  They shut down one of the main streets in downtown Norfolk and the groom rode in on a horse!!  This was also the most intense part of the day.  Hair and makeup and the general getting ready process took way longer than planned, so the first look had to be inside the hotel (which worked out perfectly), and then I had about 20 minutes to do all the bridal party and family photographs!  There were literally over 100 people in the family photographs, and many of them had traveled from really far away (like Dubai!!!). So I wasn’t about to cut anything short.  Our original place to take photos wasn’t ready yet, and so I had to really think fast on my toes!  The baraat was right after that, and they mentioned maybe we could just cut it short.  Ummmmm no.  I’m not going to be responsible for a grand processional parade being cut short.  So we made it happen!  It was thrilling, it was amazing, and this wedding pushed me to my limits in all the best ways.
One of the ways we also made up for portrait time was that we took night pictures after the reception.  The reception ended at midnight, so afterwards we hit the streets of Norfolk with a video light and made some magic!

This picture below is one that I feel I have to explain every time I post it!  We were not slacking on the job, I promise.  The camera all the way to the right isn’t ours… it was a live feed that shows the events on the large video screens.  It was necessary because the reception had 400 people, and they couldn’t all be close up to the awesome events and performances.  So when choosing where to set up our equipment, we chose right next to it so that at least all the video and photo equipment would all be in one place and overall it would be less of a distraction.  We had to be that close because it was such a large room!  But the thing is, for photo we could sit and then only stand when we needed to take a picture.  So we did– we sat down!  It was so others behind us could see.   And the performances were so amazing!  We don’t look super amazed here because this is before they began. 😉Next up: Malia.  She was our fearless intern this year!  It’s like she has ESP because she literally does everything I want her to, but I rarely even have to ask.  When she graduated and moved to California, I tried to talk her into going to CNU instead.  I mean, the weather is basically the same, right?

Here is when she meticulously put all the dresses on the staircase for me.  These dresses would wrinkle if you looked at them wrong, and the bridesmaids had just finished steaming them. Afterwards we realized we hung them all backwards and we high fived at how dense we were in that moment!One of my big “rules” for anyone on our team is to always lend a helping hand, so long as we aren’t missing anything big and important.  But holding the door for someone or carrying something to help is always of high importance to us.  Smiling is another that is crucial to us– no one needs to see what our resting faces look like!!  😉  Here, Malia is doing both. Y’all, she’s helping family members cut and package up cake to take home with them.  We miss her so much!

Malia also invited us to her senior mentorship night where she showed off her project with working with Fowler Studios.  She even thought of our kids and made them candy necklaces!  And then we got to meet her family at her graduation, and they made giant signs of her head making a silly face and we knew that they were our kind of people!And we had some rainy days… there was one beautiful wedding in November where we had meticulously planned the timeline to squeeze 25 minutes of sunset portraits into a really tight schedule… and it rained… poured… the entire time.  But again, I love that it stretches me in new ways!  Here I’m taking some detail shots when there was a break in the rain.And testing lighting…

But no matter about the pesky rain… we used what we had and made some stunning portraits of Leslie + Mike.  And it was even sweeter because her parents got married in this same church.  Had it rained, we wouldn’t have taken as many portraits inside the sanctuary, so maybe the rain was a blessing in disguise?

The reception was at The Historic Post Office, which you know fills my heart with so much joy!  Kelsey was coordinating everything and while I don’t dance much, I love to get those action shots when she’s pulled on the dance floor!And also… this is the face of every vendor, ever, during a sparkler exit.  We love them, y’all, we really do.  But they are super intense when you haven’t been drinking and everyone else has. We’re just trying to make it through the next 5 minutes without being burned!

Time out from wedding photos– here are a few random selfies!
And that 3 week road trip we took this summer… so wonderful!  And I loved photographing families along the way!  On the right, Josh is flying the drone for a real estate listing.Alright pause.  I almost didn’t post this picture.  I hate my arms.  They’ve always been disproportionate to my body, and I’ve gained weight during the course of Zane’s adoption (which I’ve been steadily losing!). I’m not at all happy with the way I look here.  But you know what? This is me, doing what I love, and enjoying the moment. Also, I should really look where I’m going when walking!Oh hi Callie!  One of our amazing second shooters this year!And pro light-checker!  Receptions are always unpredictable because whether or not people are told to stand in a certain place, they often move. So I had to make sure the lighting was great at every angle!No, boys, this isn’t a photoshoot for you…But we do spend a fair amount of time helping people get dressed, straightening things, and putting on microphones!… and hiding in bushes… and making weird arm movements?  Was I a bird there??
Heyyyy Dillon + Emily!  The Fowler dream team was at it again!This right here… this is teamwork!  All photographers and videographers take note– you CAN both get the perfect shot if you work together!We do a lot of lighting tests… lol!We’ll end with one of my faves from the year. Us with past brides all at the same wedding!  It gives me so much joy that people love their images and love the way we work on a wedding day… so much that they choose us for their own wedding day!  We really try to have a good mix of getting in on all the action while also being unseen.  Yet also having fun during the getting ready portion which can often be intense with anticipation for the brides!  To know that they’ve seen us work and they want us for their wedding day… there’s no greater honor!

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