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. After all, 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. Read below for more information about this dress and how we photographed it around San Francisco city hall.
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 neutral 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.We found her quickly and started the shoot as soon as we could.
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.
Bride and Groom posing on the 4th Floor Gallery at SF City Hall
We were lucky enough to photograph this couple that both had a background in Dance. The bride was a former Ballerina and the groom recently took ballroom dancing lessons. We took advantage of their skills and put them in some more challenging poses. As you can probably guess, we also suggested a number of fun dance shots as well. They were more than willing and really had fun with it. Sometimes we struggle a bit to show our couples how we want them to do a particular dance pose. This is not their fault, it has more to do with our own lack of knowledge of dance basics. In the end, we usually just try to show our couples the pose we want them to do and it works out fine. This couple was so easy it was almost funny. They knew exactly what to do and needed virtually no coaching from us. In fact, any coaching we would have done would have likely made the poses worse and not better! In any event, we really had fun and coaxed them into some amazing dance photos with some being a bit challenging. They even suggested some that they figured they could pull off with ease. We were more than willing to allow them to be more assertive with what they wanted to do in terms of dance poses.
The image above, is nothing too creative, but always comes out great. The classic dance dip where the groom (traditionally) dips the bride while connected together in some way. As you can see, the bride knew just how to position her legs and the groom knew how to hold on to her to keep her safe. This is probably the most important part of the process. As San Francisco city hall wedding photographers we always want ensure that our brides and groom stay safe and will never ask them to do anything they are not comfortable with. The other nice thing about dance poses is that they portray movement, which was have discussed in other postings. This is called dynamic posing and it really has a great impact on the photos. Movement in wedding photography can be very compelling and artistic if done correctly. Overall, I think that in this particular case, we learned more from them about dance posing then we taught.Who knows, maybe we even used some of what we learned with future San Francisco city hall brides and grooms for photography.