San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer - Window Shot
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer
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Window Images at San Francisco City Hall

We always take our city hall brides and grooms to the 3rd floor North Gallery area. We love the windows there because they face North and provide perfect soft lighting. We can either use the light just for normal natural lighting or include the window in the image as you see in the photo above. As you can also see, the window light provides a nice glow in the bride's veil if positioned properly. It is important to place the couple close enough to the window to allow the light to shine on the bride's gown. So much depends upon what time of the day it is and also how reflective the wedding dress is. A reflective dress will require much less light on it, in fact, if you provide too much flash power the details could wash out and not be visible in the picture. This is especially an important consideration when showing the back of the wedding dress.

We take this into consideration when we set our lighting for the picture. This pose can sometimes be difficult for the groom to pull of to make it a convincing romantic image. San Francisco city hall provides many great backgrounds for these type of photos. Nothing to worry about though, because we work with both the bride and groom to make the poses look amazing. But we also keep it simple for both of you. We will talk more about lighting below. City Hall photography comes out much better when you have professional lighting.

Far away wedding photography of newlyweds on the Grand Staircase at San Francisco city hall

How to Use Off-Camera Professional Lighting at SF City Hall

For this particular picture, I used a very light touch of flash to just fill in the shadows and even put the light slightly away from the couple a bit more than usual. I did not want to lose the subtle feeling of natural light. Over the years as a San Francisco city hall wedding photographer I have figured out that this particular location works best if you balance the light without overdoing it. Many or our couples ask us when the best time to photograph weddings to obtain the optimum lighting at SF City Hall. The answer really isn't a simple one because it depends upon where you are in the building and time of day. In general, I feel like city hall offers great light in some part of the building throughout the day. We have experience finding it after 12 years of San Francisco city hall wedding photography here. We use this type of studio lighting wherever possible throughout the building, but only if we are not being intrusive or are in the way. The other interesting thing is how the light changes based upon the time of the year. We find that when the sun is low in the winter, it makes some amazing designs on the architecture. But sometimes, the light coming in from the window can be too harsh. This is where it helps to have some off-camera lighting to lower the intensity of the natural light coming in. This requires subtle balancing of the 2 light sources. Something we have learned over our 12 years working at this building. We have become wedding photography lighting experts at San Francisco city hall.