One of the first things our clients ask us when we begin our City Hall wedding photography shoot is the sign picture. They all ask: “Can we do the City Hall sign photo?” I always let them know that of course we will, but it is best to save it for last because we avoid having to through building security twice. I remember one particular groom seemed agitated during the whole city hall photography tour and I finally asked him if he was OK. He told me he couldn’t understand why we were not taking a photo with the sign, but didn’t want to seem pushy. Once I explained to him why we save it for last he felt a lot better.
There are many variations to this ending shot. You can do a simple posed shot and walking shot or celebration photo. No matter what we end up doing with each couple, I think it is important for this photo to say something about the bride and groom. Some couples want to be animated and be celebratory. Others prefer a more traditional posed image.
Recently we have starting doing a few photos of the couple inside the building behind the sign. Of course taking the photo from this location causes the words to be reversed. Sometimes we keep them reversed, but others we have to flip it around using Photoshop. The 2 images below were both flipped:
Some of our couples prefer to do more natural photos in front of the sign. We will ask them to walk out of the building and raise their arms in a celebratory fashion. “Yay, we did it! We got married at San Francisco city hall!” These types of shots always give you the most bang for your buck in terms of showing emotion and fun. It is also an opportunity to take a picture that appears candid in nature. This is something most people want so its a good time to do it for them. Other’s feel that this type of pose is corny. You can never please everyone, but it’s important to ask.
We also try to match our couple to the type of San Francisco City Hall sign pose. For example, in the photo below, we thought it would be fun to spoof the famous movie “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
These kind of photos truly help make the occasion a memorable one for both bride and groom. This is our goal, not just to get great photos, but to make sure the newlyweds were happy on the day.