Michael - SF City Hall Wedding Photographer
My name is Michael and I am a professional wedding photographer. Photography is my passion, my career and my life. I would never tell anyone that "my job" is being a wedding photographer. It goes way beyond that. My photography career was a life choice I made many years ago when I decided to leave my corporate job and focus entirely on my wedding photography business. As a MBA graduate from the University of San Francisco, my original plan was to join the corporate world and work my way up through the ranks and become successful. Ultimately, the plan was also to become self employed at some point. I started at an "old boys" brokerage firm called Dean Witter and spent the first 8 years of my career learning the corporate lifestyle. Fortunately, I also kept my wedding photography business going on the side, which I had started as a college student to help my friends out with low cost coverage. Throughout my early career I always continued to photograph weddings on weekends while working my office job during the week. This kept me current with respect to photography trends and also made sure I was still proficient.
Focus on Wedding Photography
I did finally become self employed, but not in Wedding Photography. I opened a Staffing Business in San Francisco and Walnut Creek and worked at this for over 14 years. Fast forward quite a few years later when my business partner decided to leave our company forcing us to close our current business. This was the perfect opportunity to finally do the wedding photography business full time. By this time I had already photographed well over 500 weddings and run a successful business so it seemed like the perfect idea. I have never looked back and now truly "live" my career and enjoy working every day! My passion for photography shows in my work and the relationships I have fostered over the years. I maintain friendships with many of the brides and grooms I have photographed and really enjoy staying in touch. I am often rehired to photograph family portraits and Baby shoots for these former clients. Throughout my career I am proud of the number of now successful wedding photography professionals I have mentored. Most of them started out as second shooters working with me on weddings and then went out on their own to establish their own brand. My philosophy has always been to give my assistant's responsibility and encourage them to try new things. I allow them to keep the images they take and use them to build their own career. Some of the best wedding photographers in the Bay Area started working with me.
Learning Photography From the Ground Up
I grew up shooting manual film cameras and processing my own prints in the darkroom. This solid foundation provided me with strong technical knowledge that allowed me to focus more on the art and creativity of wedding photography. I have been a Nikon shooter all of my life, but also used Hasselblad Medium format cameras for many years before digital capture came along. I pride myself in being able to "find the light" in any scene, but also am a student of professional lighting techniques and incorporate this in all of my city hall weddings. At certain times of the day the light is amazing at San Francisco city hall. Other times, supplemental lighting is required and that's when my experience comes in handy! Most importantly, my knowledge of camera mechanics helps me handle difficult lighting situations without having to rely on the auto settings that can often not work as well as expected
Equipment Not the Most Important Thing
I am not a wedding photographer that spends hours talking about equipment. The brand of camera I use is the least of concern to my clients. It's rare that I am even asked what I shoot with. I recently attended a workshop of a famous local wedding photographer and she made it clear that the camera brand is no longer that important. "Lets talk about the images" she exclaimed! That being said, I approach your wedding with some of the finest DSLR cameras available on the market today, a Nikon D780 and Mirrorless Z6 II. I also believe in shooting your wedding with fast Nikon prime lenses, bringing only two zoom lens with me for each shoot. In addition to the 16-35mm and 24-70mm zooms, I come equipped with a Nikon 20mm/1.8, 24mm/2.8, 50mm/1.4, 85mm/1.4 and the legendary 180mm/ 2.8. I also bring extra Nikon Speed lights and different sized umbrellas. The majority of your wedding will be photographed using off-camera portable lighting. This creates a more professional look to your wedding images.
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