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When I first took this picture while using remote lighting, I was so excited because it was the first time I had captured a shot like this at San Francisco city hall. It sill remains one of my favorites to this day even though at this point I have photographed 100's more. We are one of the leading same-sex wedding photographers at San Francisco City Hall with over 150 LGBTQ weddings photographed since California made gay marriage legal. We were one of the first SF city hall wedding photographers to start photographing Gay Marriages and we have not slowed down ever since! As mentioned above, this picture was special because we used a light behind the couple on the Grand Staircase. I was standing on the Mayor's Balcony and aimed the camera to make sure the entire staircase was displayed. We also had to adjust the light behind them so it wasn't too bright. My assistant helped with this part.
Making the photo more dramatic was the fact that the image was taken in the early evening and city hall was getting dark. This combination created the lovely photo you see here. There was a little Photoshop needed because the light was a little bright in between their bodies. I used PS to just calm down the light a bit and make it not so blown out. I know that that you may be thinking is this type of Photoshop adjustment available to clients as well. Yes, we can enhance a limited amount of images or all of your album choices. In some cases we may even have to take out people on the Staircase when it is possible. We try not to present any images to our clients with strangers in the background. This particular picture was taken fairly late at night so San Francisco city hall was mostly cleared out. Thus, we did not need to remove people from the Staircase digitally. Early evening is an excellent time of the day to obtain pictures like this with the combination of dramatic lighting and no crowds. The Sepia tone digital conversion adds to the effect. I have had many City Hall brides and grooms ask me to duplicate this shot for them, but it is difficult to do in the broad daylight. I would recommend booking one of the later times for your Civil Ceremony and that would help.
The photo above was done with a special effect using black and white software. The high contrast/structure look was achieved by increasing the Structure of the photo using software called Silver FX. This gives the image a more detailed look. I thought it would be an awesome effect for the floor pattern in front of the Grand Staircase at City Hall in SF. It allows you to really see the texture in the marble floors. Like the main image, this shot was further enhanced by the fact that it was late evening.