Romantic Wedding Photographer at SF City Hall
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SF Palace of Fine Arts

Romantic Mood Lighting at SF City Hall

We often talk about the beautiful lighting at San Francisco city hall so I think a detailed explanation is in order. What is it specifically about city hall lighting that makes it so compelling? It just a normal building with lots of windows right? Not even close! In actuality, City Hall is a natural light dream location. The fun aspect of this beautiful light is that it is so varied. The building is positioned from North to South with windows on each side. These windows exhibit extremely different effects depending upon the time of day. Typically, the south side windows allow some direct sun in with some very bright patterns on the walls. These same south windows become interest light sources late in the afternoon. They create subtle patterns in the summer and very intense ones in the winter. This is caused by the low angle of the sun streaming in the building through these many windows. Making things even more interesting is the fact that these city hall windows are not ordinary by any means. In fact, they have designs on them akin to stained glass windows without our the color. If used correctly, these patterns can be reflected near or actually on the happy couple to make some very creative images. As City Hall wedding photographers, we need to use all of these artistic elements available to us and we do! For the image above, we just noticed the usually harsh sun that normally comes in through this south facing window as being muted by a light fog layer. Perfect opportunity to try something fun with the bride and groom. So we violated most of the rules of classic photography and actually place our subjects right up against a wall. It worked in this situation because of the subtle pattern that was also reflecting on the wall. I think you will agree, it came out nice!