When photographing our couples on the various floors of San Francisco City Hall, we are always looking for backgrounds that will enhance the image. There are so many windows bringing light into the building that it is hard to choose. The photo above was taken with beautiful light streaming in from the south end of San Francisco city hall. As you can see this back light creates an effect that makes the bride's wedding dress and veil appear to glow. We kept the pose simple to highlight the drama of the image. This is one of our favorite places to photograph our brides. We often do it from across the building and sometimes up close. Either way, it is a great way to highlight the beautiful bride and her dress. A veil also becomes very much enhanced by the light coming in from these south facing windows.
We like to use classic backgrounds of repeating lines to add symmetry and drama to any image. Another positive attribute of this image is the natural window light illuminating the bride and groom. North Window light is always the best! This image (below) shows some of these repeating lines that SF City Hall possesses throughout the building. It also displays the little bit of light from the window that is picked up in the veil. It makes the veil glow just enough to ensure that it is noticed. As noted before, having the groom slightly dip the bride back also provides separation of the veil to her dress and makes it stand out more.
The image above appears to be taken in the late evening with a dim lighting and glowing lamps in the background. In reality, this wedding photo was taken at mid day with plenty of available light. We wanted to make a more dramatic image for this particular background because I love the look of the old fashioned lamps. To highlight them and the couple, I deliberately brought the lighting level down for my camera settings. This had the effect of making it look like an early evening shot, which it really isn't. Using this technique we were able to make the lights glow and bring your attention to them. At the same time, the bride and groom are still in the foreground and so the main focus remains on them. As discussed, the north light coming through the window illuminates them nicely.
When you look at our city hall wedding portfolio, you will notice the the majority of the photos are taken inside of the building. We love to show off the architecture and beauty of this amazing venue. However, at certain times of the year, the outside can look pretty special also. For example, there is nice line of trees in the Park by SF City Hall. These trees in the background seem to grow slow and only look good about 4 months of the year. This photo was taken at the height of the Pandemic so there was nobody around. It gives the photo a more surreal look to it. The trees make a very nice backdrop for outside city hall wedding pictures when they are full. We have even used the dormant row of tree trunks to make a nice repeating lines backdrop that ends up ending with the city hall building in the background. We also are very willing and able to take a few pictures of the building from across the street with our wide angle lens to show off that part of the building. Often times this particular view will have a high number of cars and maybe pedestrians which is mostly unavoidable.