How many different angles and types of shots have you seen of the Grand Staircase at San Francisco city hall? I have seen hundreds and yet there are many more ways to photograph this iconic landmark. This staircase is unique in so many ways because of the very fine detailing that was included when City Hall was first constructed. If you look up the staircase as we have done in the photo above, you get a great view of the Rotunda combined with the beautiful steps. The gold railings on both sides of the photo add to the impact of this photograph because they tend to train the eye right into the subject. This type of moving view is one of the things that separates great photography work from all the rest. An effective wedding photo is no different than any type of art. When the viewer looks at the photo, you don't want them to be confused and have their eye wandering throughout the image. Great artists like to put together work that brings the eye to a focal point through some other part of the image. Lines coming in or out of the main subject are quite effective in making the image more pleasurable to view. This is often referred to as "leading lines", which refers to diagonal lines (usually) within the image that leads the viewers eyes right to the main focal point or subject. In one sense all the lines in this photo lead right into the couple and so the focus is really on them in a big way. Many wedding photographers take great pains to make sure these elements all click in their final work. Fortunately for us, the Grand Staircase does it for us.
The view of the Grand Staircase completely changes if you look downward instead of upward. As a city hall wedding photographer, I like to try to give my clients a different view than they may be used to seeing on other websites. By going to the top of the Grand Staircase and photographing the couple below me, I am able to capture the amazing patterned floor. This is not a photograph you will see very often at SF City Hall. Even more difficult is the fact that when you look down there could potentially be tourists and other couples at the bottom of the staircase in your photo. However, when we see an opportunity to get this shot we take advantage of it and do it! Check out the image below to see what I mean. Again, this is a difficult shot to obtain because of the other people milling around city hall. It is also very difficult to photoshop a person out of the picture without messing up the patterned floor.