This was an adventuresome couple and they were lots of fun to photograph. We decided to put Angela and Michael in front of the Freight elevators at San Francisco city hall for this shot. Yes, the freight elevators! It seems like everything about city hall is photo worthy, even some of the things you wouldn't normally think of of. We carefully placed an off-camera remote slaved flash behind them to light up the veil and also create drama in the image. We used one on camera flash and then an umbrella mounted on the other side. This great pose was created by Toni, but carried out quite effectively by the couple! The happy couple liked this photo so much that they ordered a large size wall portrait for their home. It's not truly a Silhouette image, but we used the same technique to accomplish it. We place a speed light behind the couple and control it with a Radio Slave. The light behind them not only lights up the veil, but it also bounces back to the wall behind them and provides a brighter background. This helps us create a silhouette look if so desired. San Francisco City Hall has many locations that make the creation of this type of wedding image possible. Even freight elevators! We decided that this particular photos, even though not as much of a silhouette as some of the others, was our favorite. Obviously the newlyweds loved it too!
I feel like so many wedding photographers shoot weddings here, but do not take advantage of lighting opportunities. The building is made for it with it's pretty walls and backgrounds. I see so many city hall wedding photographers just camp out on the Grand Staircase and take all of their pictures in that one area. They are missing out on some great alternative places to bring their brides and grooms for amazing photography. In addition, there are a large number of spots that afford the type of privacy needed for this type of shot and lighting set up. I mention this because one of the challenges of photographing weddings at SF City Hall are the other people and tourists mulling around. So knowing where to bring our couples to set up a more complicated pictures like the one above is vitally important. Our 12 years of experience here, certainly helps in that regard. Again, fitting in a few complex lighting set ups makes for a much more successful shoot, but it can be difficult in crowded areas. The background above is actually very close to the Mayor's office and utilizes the Service Elevators as a background. As you can see, it worked quite well. Pretty crazy huh?
When searching for the best San Francisco city hall wedding photographers, be sure to ask them about off camera lighting and how they like to use it. If they don't understand what you are asking about then they may not be the best option for you. We strongly feel that some sort of lighting is needed at many parts of City Hall and not just because it is too dark. In fact, in most places there is plenty of light, but it can come in from the wrong directions sometimes and cause less than complimentary light. For example, overhead light as you will find at the bottom of the Grand Staircase is not very complimentary and can cause "racoon eyes".
The ring exchange is the highlight of the city hall wedding ceremony