We used an off-camera flash placed directly behind the couple to get this glow behind the bride. The back light also provides some nice rim lighting around the groom and the bride's hair. This effect not only provides some drama to the photograph, but it also helps separate the recently married San Francisco city hall couple from the background. It makes the photo look more dimensional. In this case, when I used the term dimensional I am referring to the depth provided by this professional lighting set up.
Exceptional San Francisco city hall wedding photography often includes a 3-D look which makes the viewer feel like they can jump into the scene. This is why, when possible, a good wedding photographer should often avoid a solid background like a wall. That type of photographic set up can make the picture look like a mug shot. Certainly something you do not want in your wedding album. We always look for depth and interest in the background of our San Francisco city hall wedding photography. It makes for some great and memorable images.
The flash unit we used for the above photo is controlled by a Radio Slave sending unit mounted on our cameras. We place the light hidden behind the newlyweds and set it on a lower power so it won't be overwhelming and too bright. Finding the best balance is the key challenge in this type of wedding photography. San Francisco City Hall offers many backgrounds and opportunities to incorporate this type of lighting into the creative process. We feel our advanced lighting techniques differentiate us from less experienced San Francisco city hall wedding photographers. There are plenty others that are utilizing these same techniques, but I also frequently see other clients being photographed with direct flash or no lighting at all.
On-camera flash can create flat faces and lack of depth in the picture. This would give you a result similar to a cell phone camera with the flash on. Try it on your own and see. Take a picture of your friend with the cell phone flash on and see how it comes out. Then compare that result to the pictures on this website and you will see the difference right off the bat. The other negative issue with direct flash is that you often get shiny faces due to the reflection that comes directly back into the camera from the unit. The best San Francisco city hall wedding photographers mostly use advanced lighting techniques such as these. When we do use on-camera flash, we bounce it of the side walls and back walls to create soft directional light. This avoids flat lighting and weird shadows. It makes the entire wall one big lighting source. Similar to a studio soft box, it wraps the light around the subject in a subtle way. When done correctly, this type of flash undetectable. Most people looking these types of city hall wedding photos might thing there was no lighting at all.