Groom and Bride Photography with Red Dress at SF City Hall
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer

Wedding Dresses at San Francisco City Hall

One of the fun things about photographing weddings at San Francisco City Hall is that you never know what kind of wedding dress the Bride will show up in. For that matter, you never really know what anyone is going to wear. Couples have various ideas about what is the appropriate wedding attire for this venue. Some believe that formal wear is the way to go, because after all, it is a marriage. Others figure that since Town Hall weddings are different so that they can get away with being more casual. Afterall, it really is just a Civil Ceremony. You really do see just about every variation you can imagine. By far, our favorite wedding dresses are the more whimsical attire that some couples wear. In the photo above we have a great couple and the bride has one of those dresses we love.

How to Make the Best of a Fun SF City Hall Wedding Dress

This particular dress was quite easy to work with, but there are others that require a different set up. With a shorter dress like this, it becomes more important to position the bride's legs properly and to best advantage. With a longer dress, leg position becomes less important and working with the train creates the bigger challenge. For this dress, we knew we had to find great backgrounds and nuetral colors to really make it stand out. As it turned out, we had an amazing day photographing this couple throughout the building. They chose a late city hall ceremony time and so by the end of the shoot we basically were the only people in the building. It was a bit dark, but this added to the drama of the images. I have mentioned this before, but the only negative aspect of San Francisco City Hall wedding photography is the lack of color in the backgrounds. This is because the building is predominantly made of marble and stone. So when a bride comes along with a dress with some color, it really makes a splash. As you can see, the bride's burgundy colored dress really stood out and was so fun to photograph. When it was time to meet up with the bride and groom I asked her how I would recognize her. She said, don't worry, you cant miss me! She was right.

Posed Image with Bride and her Bouquet in San Francisco


Summary of How to Best Photograph Various SF City Hall Wedding Dresses

  • Short wedding dresses require strategic positioning of the bride's legs. Lots of bending of knees and moving weight from one foot to the other.
  • Long wedding dresses require judicious positioning of the train whether it be long or short. It is important to understand what the dress maker had in mind when they created the dress.
  • White wedding dresses look best at San Francisco city hall when contrasted against the amazing architecture present throughout the building.
  • Colored wedding dresses work amazingly well in front of the neutral colors and marble backgrounds at SF City Hall. Architectural backgrounds become a little less important.
  • So called "Mermaid dresses" require photographic angles that show off the shape of the dress. We have found that turning the bride 3/4 towards or away from the camera really shows of the mermaid shape the best.

San Francisco Town Hall Wedding Photography

We took the image above by the 3rd floor south facing window at city hall. Just another location in this great building for wedding photography. The light was soft due to the cloudy and rainy day so it made for amazing light and a beautiful image. The photo below involves the same couple and displays the fact that both the bride and groom had dance experience. The bride had done some trained dancing including ballet and the groom had taken ball-room dancing classes. They were able to pull off the pose with relative ease! We are always quite cautious before asking our Town Hall couples to perform challenging poses, but this couple needed no such cautions. This 4th floor location is such a marvelous place to obtain these types of wedding photos.

Fun Red Wedding Dress with Dance Dip on the 4th Floor of City Hall

Bride and Groom posing on the 4th Floor Gallery at SF City Hall