Walking down the 3rd Floor Hallway city hall in SF
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer
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Documentary Wedding Photography

One of current trends in professional wedding photography is what we call "Documentary Wedding Photography". Other names include Wedding Photojournalism and Reportage. The idea behind this style of photography is to tell the story of the day through photos. Candid photography means minimal posing and natural looks. At San Francisco city hall this often means creating a situation where the couple can seem natural even if they are not. For this photo we our newlyweds talk while strolling through halls at city hall. An image like this may seen easy, but we often run into trouble because the newlyweds want to look at us, the wedding photographers. This is a natural reaction when someone is pointing a camera at you. We have been conditioned since birth to look at the camera when it is aiming at us. So you would be surprised how hard it can be to unlearn this preference. One kind of amusing example of this is when I try to take a picture of the groom watching his bride walk up to him during a Reserved city hall ceremony. Inevitably, he keeps wanting to look at the camera instead of the bride, because he thinks that is the proper way to do it. I have now started counseling grooms before the wedding to remind them to ignore me. In the end, we always manage to get some great candid images including walking shots. San Francisco city hall has some beautiful halls and walkways with perfect natural lighting to help us do this. On occasion we will purposely bring down our camera lighting so it seems like the couple is going through the halls in a romantic way. Here are some walking shot ideas and suggestions:

  • Couple looks at each other
  • Couple looks down at the ground like they are really walking
  • Couple laughs like they are having a fun conversation
  • Couple purposely lightly bumps into each other causing some fun moments
  • Couple kisses while stopped at our suggestion
  • Couple walking down the Grand Staircase holding hands

Unique View of Same-sex couple at San Francisco city hall

Faraway wedding photo of Grand Staircase at City Hall

We love taking some far away shots of our city hall brides and grooms as you can see from the 2 photos above. Yes, it is hard to see much of the couple in a detailed way, but it highlights the architecture a bit more than close up shots do. The important thing to realize is that we supplement these far away shots with plenty of close up images. This gives the bride and groom a wide variety of wedding photography images to choose from.