We have photographed so many newlyweds at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco and we are always trying to find new and exciting ways to capture the couple's time here. I feel like the front view of the building over the pond really lends itself to panoramic type of wedding photography. As a result, we usually try to display this photo in a 16X9 perspective which is wider then 8X10.There is so much in front of you when you set up the bride and groom for this iconic image. In the photo above, we wanted to display it all! The 3 large and obvious structures, the fountain, the trees and the expanse of the pond. However, to do this with a normal type of shot requires us to move far back from the newly married couple rendering them small in the frame. How can we avoid this? The answer is simple, panoramic cropping! By this I mean framing the image with an ultra wide perspective with regard to the height of the image.
In the photo above, we used a super wide crop which I think gives a nice combination of width, but without going overboard. By doing this the couple becomes more prevalent in the wedding photo and you can see all of the beautiful background. A wide angle lens is not needed in this case, we just chose an alternative framing. Another less obvious trick to making this photo look better is by taking a higher angle. I bring a little step stool to every photo shoot, which allows me to obtain a slight amount of elevation. Looking slightly down on the couple accomplishes 2 things: 1. It puts the heads of the couple below the sky line so their heads are not floating in the air. 2. People always look a little more attractive when viewed from slightly above. This is a long and time honored "trick" to enhance images in portrait and wedding photography. In certain circumstances I might even go higher with an image like this to bring the heads of the newlyweds below the water line. This also can be viewed as a standard practice in framing wedding photos. We don't always do it, but in many cases it enhances the image. We definitely do not want to cut off people's heads or put horizontal lines through them. I also love the sky in this picture with the wisps of white in front of the blue sky.
Palace of Fine Arts bride and groom kiss after their City Hall wedding