Dance Dip at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer
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Palace of Fine Arts Wedding Photography

Many of our City Hall clients ask us to take them to the Palace of Fine Arts after their wedding for pictures. It is definitely the most popular destination of our clients who have their nuptials in San Francisco and especially at City Hall. We enjoy taking brides and grooms to some of the less obvious places at this iconic location. The one challenge at The Palace is to find areas free of tourists. Fortunately, over the years, we have discovered some great places to take our recently married couples that are less populated. We walk around to the back of Rotunda and find great backgrounds with beautiful architecture.

The image above was taken in the Rotunda with an off-camera flash. This can be a tricky picture to capture effectively because it requires a super wide angle lens to show the entire dome, but also is heavily back lighted which causes other potential problems. The severe back lighting can sometimes cause a darkening of the subject, so it can be helpful to put a little light on the couple. In this particular photo, we used off-camera flash for a more natural look and not a washed out look. Helpful Hint: If you can see that a flash was used in a wedding photo then it was not used correctly and was probably too bright. Off-camera lighting helps with this and can hard to detect if used properly.

San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 for the Panama Pacific International fair and was intended as a temporary building along with many other buildings in the same vicinity of the Marina District. When the Exposition ended, all of the other buildings were torn down except the Palace. It has been used for various purposes mostly involving art for many years. However, since the building was built to only be up for one year, it was starting to fall apart. Cheap materials were used for these reasons. Eventually, the decision was made to basically tear it down and rebuild it, which occurred between 1964 and 1974. Stronger and more long lasting materials were used in the reconstruction and some of the art work and statues were kept and redone. Steel reinforcements replaced the original wood and plaster from the old building making it more permanent. Now the building attracts tourists from all over the world and also serves as a great wedding venue. For us, it is a wonderful place to bring our clients after their San Francisco city hall wedding. On any given Saturday in the summer, it is not unusual to see at least 6 newlywed couples wandering the grounds with their wedding photographers. Parking can be difficult on the weekends, but not too bad during the week.

San Francisco  City Hall bride gazing out window on 3rd Floor

City Hall Bride with north facing window in San Francisco