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KohnsPhoto | San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photography bio picture

    Welcome to KohnsPhoto. This site is dedicated to San Francisco City Hall weddings. As someone who got married at this beautiful venue, I can understand and appreciate why it attracts so many couples.

    Since 2006, when I've shot my first wedding at City hall many things changed. I came to understand how such an amazing place helps to create a memories that last a lifetime.

Tips for a Great Outdoor Wedding Photoshoot

A wedding photographer is always faced with the challenges of photography. They usually come in extremes, which is true in lighting. There are some weddings that are held in a low light setting while there are those that have their ceremony under the radiant light of the sun. Shooting outdoor weddings can be considered a challenge for a photographer as the exposure of the sun can heat the pictures a little bit. These are some helpful tips in taming the wilderness of outdoor wedding photography.

Use the Spot Meter

Spot meter is a useful tool when you try to meter the couple’s faces. The faces of the bride and the groom are the most vital subjects in the picture which everyone needs and wants to see. Nothing else matters so try not to stress much on the little things. Zooming in their faces can be helpful so as to not give too much emphasis on the background or even on some items that are included in the image. The parts of the couple’s face especially the eyes should be expressed visibly in the picture since it is what breathes life into it. If the audience or viewers cannot see it, it will be very disappointing. Try to manipulate your camera settings to test the exposures until you can measure a setting that is suitable for the job.

You can try to fix the image laster using digital editing programs where you can adjust on the exposure on the subjects’ skins. However, it is preferred that you already get the exposure of their faces right on that time you shot the image since editing can make the complexion less natural and more ‘photoshopped’

Assess the sun’s color levels

The sun’s color can make an overall effect in an image, which can evoke emotions on the image subjects that can come off as strong and soft. The photographer should be able to use this natural prop as a way in making the images more vivid and more attuned to the moment. The sun often emanates blue hues in the early day then emits neutral colors when it is closer to midday. The wedding ceremonies are held in midday when the sun is at its peak, which can give a harsh sunlight and overexposure to the photos. Thus it is best that when shooting outdoor photos, there is already a plan collaborated with the couple for when is the best time to take pictures so as to coincide with the natural color change of the sun.

Wide shot of the great outdoors

A wide shot of the beautiful greenery or a landscape of the photograph of the garden enhances  the theme of an outdoor wedding. This is also a great time to let the couple make as many poses as they can. This will be an advantage for you since you are playing at the same time following the direction of the natural light to get the right angle.

Always Shoot in RAW.

When you save the images in RAW you are actually shooting using your camera’s highest quality. It means that it will be very easy to edit. It does take much more space than other  file formats but this is because it means that you also get a lot of data retrieved from one image. You can fix everything especially those regarding the exposure and color-white balance control of the picture. However, RAW cannot fix the focus of an image. From here you can try to manipulate the highlights and shadows of the picture to your tastes.

The usual case in outdoor weddings is that the faces of the people can be overexposed when the picture is taken under the harsh sunlight or even underexposed when the image subjects are standing under a tree. Usually, the outdoor weddings are held in midday when the sun is high so it can be very tricky. In this scenario, shooting in RAW is a general rule to fix the light exposure of the outdoor photos.

Be wary of trees

Trees can be annoying especially that they cast shadows and odd highlights on the couple or even when you try to take a group photos and all the wedding guests are huddled under a big oak tree. If these quirky little shadows or highlight do not appear on the couple’s faces, then you are doing fine. If they do happen to appear, then it is up to you to play with your camera settings to make it work for you. Always remember to set your camera to manual so that it will be easy to switch from one setting to another. Giving the changing positions of the sun and the clouds, your camera settings may need to be changed as needed.

Roam the Area

The advantage of outdoor weddings is that there is a lot of space for the photographer to move around thus limiting the possibility of disturbing the ceremony. A plus factor is that there is so much space area to cover when shooting the photos. When you think that the lighting or the angle is bad on one side, you can easily move to the other side and capture that special moment with the proper lighting and angle. This is also a chance to make dramatic photos with the different light sources in the area.



Qualities of a Perfect Wedding Photographer

A picture paints a thousand words. Your wedding pictures should also speak the same.  There are several photographers out there that are waiting to be hired. They have different art styles and different portfolios. Yet you ask yourself, “Am I choosing the best?” Fear not, for here is a list of qualities to know that your potential wedding photographer is perfect for the job.

Trained and Educated in the Art of Photography

The training and education o f the person is one of the important aspects that you have to know before hiring him/her. Photography is an art. Art is a skill. Skill is developed and improved when someone trains their craft, which is why not everyone has the skill to turn a living and breathing being into a classical masterpiece. The wedding pictures, albums, portfolios as well as other output of the photographer greatly reflects the mastery of his craft from how he decorates the album cover, the group photos, the bridal shots, the perspective shots, the camera angles he/she uses up until to the very end of the wedding day. In basing on his training and education, you will learn what background he/she has in the field of photography as well as whether he/she truly is a seasoned professional or a green horn.

Excellent Communication Skills

In wedding photography, it is not about just shooting fields of flowers or a view of the sunset. It is a collaborative effort between the bride, the bridegroom, and of course, the wedding photographer. Thus it is significant that there should be an established business relationship between the said parties. An ideal photographer should have an established rapport towards his clients so as to make the wedding couple feel at ease around him/her. Communication may be sent off as a normal part in the working phase yet it is vital because the bride should be comfortable with the hired professional so that her emotions and the “feel” of the photos can truly be expressed.

He/She should coordinate hordes of guests especially when trying to take group photos. Guests are unique individuals with their own set of personalities so the photographer should have the gift of gab when making them cooperate in the picture taking.  Conversing regularly or “small talks” with the couple and the guests will loosen the tension and make them feel relaxed when posing for photos. The way a person communicates from the way he speaks, the tone and volume of his voice or even the way he carries himself is an indicator how well of a communicator he/she is and highly reflects this person’s personality.

Whenever the couple may have any complaints or suggestions, the photographer should always have a listening ear to his clients. He should make sure that he knows fully well what the couple wants to be shot and how it wants to be shot. Coordinating with the couple and making a shot list can also be done so that there will be a written form of what exactly what the couple wants to be done.




You have to get to know the professional whether he worked years as an apprentice or has only worked in shooting photos only under controlled lighting or in a studio type. Try to apply his experience to your incoming wedding and the type of photography you would want. For example, if you would like to have a photojournalistic type where you want a candid documentary of the entire wedding day, a studio wedding photographer may not live up to your expectations. Through knowing the experience of your potential photographer, you have an indicator on how skilled they are and their mastery on the type of art style you want to be done

Credentials and Awards Received

The credentials of your potential photographer also have a lot to say on his level of skill and expertise. Ask him these several questions. Is he/she a part of the listings in a local professional photography association? Is he/she a part of the listings as a wedding vendor in a well-known magazine or in wedding venue recommendations? Does he/she have any awards received from international professional associations such as PPA (Professional Photographer of America), American Photo, or WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International)?

Mastery of Gear and Equipment

Though your potential photographer may have the skill set of a master, it is also important that he knows how to manipulate his equipment well enough that his skill and his camera will make your photos a masterpiece. Seasoned professionals usually have back-up equipment such as several lenses and an extra camera body. They also use different equipment for varied lighting scenarios which will come in handy especially when the wedding is to be held outdoors.

Reviews and Testimonials from previous clients

Reading the comments and feedback of the photographer’s previous clients will give you an indicator whether he did the job well or if he had a lot of mistakes and pitfalls in the process. Positive testimonials of clients who very much enjoyed the wedding photos like how it was presented in the albums, how the albums were decorated or how punctual it was delivered to the couple would mean that your potential photographer may be your bet for a smooth wedding day.


Equal Love and Rights in San Francisco

In the city of San Francisco, equal love merits equal rights. The City, as the locals call it, has been providing a steady niche for the LGBT community since the day Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were married. Del and Phyllis were the first couple to marry, following an announcement by then-mayor Gavin Newsom that authorized the county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

American gay activists have had their fair share of hits and misses in the struggle to nationally legalize same sex marriage. One of such monumental hurdles is Proposition, which was a California voter-initiated ballot proposition passed in 2008. Proposition 8 consisted of two sections:

Section I. Title

                This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

                Section 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution, to read:

                Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Prop 8 came into immediate effect on November 5, 2008. Following its passage were massive rallies and national demonstrations to fight this ban against same-sex marriage. In the heart of the plight “No to 8” was San Francisco. To cut the long story short, the multi-year bargaining ended with the Supreme Court ruling against Prop 8. The decision was issued on June 26, 2013. The Court decided that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have standing to appeal in federal court. As a consequence, the Court had to end the Defense of Marriage Act that banned federal benefits for legally married gays and invalidated California’s Proposition 8 law against gay marriage. The ruling was 4-3.

When news came down about the Supreme Court’s decision, San Franciscans were at the heart of it, as expected – only this time, in celebration. Castro Street in San Francisco was filled with overwhelmed LGBT allies, gay or not, who never once doubted that love and equality will prevail. Now, aside from its beautiful sunset skyline and glorious Renaissance architecture, The City can also take pride in its people. The same people who fought for genuine gay liberation now inhabit this wonderful city.

San Francisco also hosts an LGBT pride parade annually, known as the San Francisco Pride. Its roots can be traced back as far as the Stonewall riots of 1969, which proved to be the catalyst for the oppressed community to fight back after decades of hiding and silence. Back then, gay pride parades were staged with revolutionary flavour. Fortunately, a revolutionary front proved unnecessary as proponents of same-sex marriage were able to become agents of social change without resorting to armed struggle. As proved by modern San Franciscans, a show of pride and gender equality need not be as solemn as the ones that plagued US back in the day.

From 1972 to 2013, San Francisco hosted annual themed parades. To enumerate the themes of San Francisco Pride parades from 1972 to the present: “Gay Pride” (1972), “A Celebration of the Gay Experience” (1973), “Gay Freedom by ‘76” (1974), “Join Us: The More Visible We Are, the Stronger We Become” (1975), “United for Freedom, Diversity is Our Strength” (1976), “Gay Frontiers:  Past, Present, Future” (1977), “Come Out with Joy, Speak Out for Justice” (1978), “Our Time Has Come” (1979), “Liberty and Justice for All” (1980), “Front Line of Freedom” (1981), “Out of Many … One” (1982), “Strengthen the Ties, Break the Chains” (1983), “Unity & More in ’84” (1984), “Honor Our Past, Secure Our Future” (1985), “Forward Together, No Turning Back” (1986), “Proud, Strong, United” (1987), “Rightfully Proud” (1988), “Stonewall 20: A Generation of Pride” (1989), “The Future is Ours!” (1990), “Hand in Hand Together” (1991), “A Simple Matter of Justice” (1992), “Year of the Queer” (1993), “San Francisco to Stonewall: Pride & Protest” (1994), “A World Without Borders” (1995), “Equality & Justice for All” (1996), “One Community, Many Faces” (1997), “Shakin’ It Up” (1998), “Proud Heritage, Powerful Future” (1999), “It’s About Freedom” (2000), “Queerific” (2001), “Be Yourself, Change the World” (2002), “You’ve Gotta Give Them Hope” (2003), “Out 4 Justice” (2004), “Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Proud” (2005), “Commemorate, Educate, Liberate – Celebrate” (2006), “Pride, Not Prejudice” (2007), “United by Pride, Bound for Equality” (2008), “In Order to Form a More Perfect Union…” (2009), “40 & Fabulous” (2010), “In Pride We Trust” (2011), “Global Equality” (2012), “Embrace, Encourage Empower” (2013).

Each San Francisco Pride parade is particularly telling of how far the United States has gone in the national struggle to fight homophobia. Not only is it widely attended by LGBT people, but also by heterosexual people who just acknowledge that they are in no way superior to the members of the gay community. This is one of the million reasons why San Francisco is a beautiful city. It is one of the few cities in the world where equality is valued and discrimination is frowned upon.

Choosing the Best Wedding Photographer

Special moments are worth remembering and capturing, and one of these moments is the wedding day. This is the reason why most couples are very delicate when it comes to choosing their wedding photographer. Needless to say, every couple want their  photos to be special that after decades of marriage, when they come across the photos again, they could still feel the magic of that moment.  Here are some tips on choosing the best photographer for the most awaited wedding day:

Do your research

Set your criteria in choosing the best wedding photographer. Browse the internet, visit bridal shops or ask friends if they know someone in your area who can cover and capture your wedding day. Make a list of your prospect photographers and review their portfolios, the packages that they offer, their availability, and of course, their price. Their portfolio will reveal their photography style. Does it suit your taste and your wedding venue and setting? It is also smart to review portfolios that offer ‘start till end’ wedding photos because some can fool you by revealing only their best captured photos.  Do their packages contain everything you wanted for your wedding? Do you want add-ons like CDs or framed couple picture or photo souvenirs?  Do their services meet your budget? You should know from the start that professional photographers are more expensive than amateur ones.  When you finally found that photographer that meets your criteria, never forget to set a date for interview and meet ups.

Meeting halfway

Contact your potential photographer and during your meeting, interview him about his experiences with wedding photography.  Inform him about the photography style that you wanted for your wedding. Do you want it traditional, candid or free style?  Notify him about your wedding setting and venue, and you may ask his professional opinion if the style fits the setting. You can both lay down on the table your own opinion and come up with the best plans together. In this way, you can also gauge how knowledgeable and professional he is in handling clients like you and events like weddings.

Demand for a test pictorial

You can ask the photographer to capture your pre-nuptial and bridal shower photos.  This is one of the best ways to discover his personality and characteristics during photo shoots, and to reveal his photo sample and styles. This is also your best time to build a good working relationship with each other and to be comfortable in his presence. Being comfortable in front of the camera is one of the keys to capture genuine moments so that on your wedding day, you won’t be very conscious that someone is capturing your every action.




Visit the venue together

Many photographers want to be familiar with the venue before the big event. They need to have an idea if they can capture your ideal photographs in the said venue. There are photography styles that fit in indoor venues but not in outdoor venues, and vice versa. Through this, they can assess what style to use and where to capture the best angles and backgrounds that can contribute to the aesthetic appearance of the photographs. Space is also an important factor to evaluate how many equipment they can bring and how they can comfortably position and move while taking photos. This is also the chance to talk about back up plans if unexpected things happen that can alter the outcomes of the photographs like weather changes.

Plan! Plan! Plan!

Don’t forget to orient him about the wedding plans and whereabouts so that he can have a clue when to capture the best moments, adjust to sequels and adapt to changes of events. Notify him about ‘what to’ and ‘what not to’ capture moments. Give him a clear picture on how you want your pictures to look like. Specify details like how you wanted to make the photos during the matrimonial ceremony traditional and candid style for the reception, or how you hated close up shots and how you wanted everyone in the picture to look as natural as they are. Inform him how long the event will take place so that he can prepare himself and his team, and bring along with him extra batteries and memory cards if needed.

Person in charge

Ask a relative or the wedding coordinator to assist the photographer during the event. Inform and introduce the photographer to that specific person whom he will approach in case he has question or he needs assistance.

Contract signing

Go through the contract with your partner and the photographer before signing. Make things clear on how many pictures to be taken and printed or how long it will take for the photographer to give you the photos, albums or everything stated in the contract. Discuss down payments and ensure the availability of his schedule for your most awaited day. Maintain constant communication to inform detail changes and provision of reassurance.






Making a successful wedding photography

Having problems on your upcoming wedding photography? Here are some helpful tips in leading your way to have a flourishing moment on the day of your photography.

Plan Ahead

To start with your photography, It will be great if you and your partner would plan ahead of time. This will really save both of your puzzled minds. Flip on your calendar and pick on the right date of the month. Choose the day that will be available for both company. When both is done deciding, get close and focus on your next plan.

The site

Freedom to decide is both in your hands. It is not as always what you see on movies that will be happening on your wedding day. Wake up! Its your wedding. Decisions are in your own hands. Stop putting yourself inside the box. You have all the options in the world and if you can picture the outcome? It would be really helpful.

Why not think of something new! like having your wedding on outer space. You and your partner kneeling on asteroids with the preist holding bible doing the ceremony and other individuals wearing astronaut suites and red rose petals floating, surrounding everyobody. While the world is rotating on its axis, you remain in position for hundreds of days in the space. Sounds like  galactic! and “Im” feeling the fun and gravity of your wedding. Anyway, you have options all the way down the list. It is up to both of your decision where you want to spend the site for your wedding photography. The world is in your hands!

The photographer

It is just not best to choose the right photograper that suites your budget but also consider the one that has similar to the picture of your idea. Maybe its not that easy to look for that photographer, maybe you won’t find someone that would suite the price of your budget, maybe you’ll never gonna find a photographer that has the same idea that you have.Think again. It is not yet the “dead end” of your wedding photography. All you need to do is to utilize some resources. From friends, relatives officemates you are just to add a sound to a word to ask if they know someone who might just help both of you on your special day. If you have sometime you can spend your time to drive yourselves along the road to stroll for some photography shops. You may even try to go on City health office near your place and attend the “pre-cana” seminars. There, you will find some wedding organizers including advanced to professional photographers. Try to go with yourself in a low profile attire and if possible, low profile attitude so they would just give you the price range you are expecting. After all, who else would want an expensive photographer with the skill of an advanced begginner? I guess you wouldn’t? Or, for your last option. You might just want to browse the internet if you have one on your house, then google some of the possible photographer that you know near your place. Its just all up to you.


The Right Condition

Of course… finally, you wouldn’t want to dissapoint yourself to the result of your photos after the fantastic event of your lives. As much as possible, the photographer will do his best to be part of your special day and you would really want to do your part perfectly. Having ample of time to rest yourselves before the main event will do the trick! Drink plenty of fluids to hydrate your body. Eat nutritious food, relax, have a chill, treat yourselve’s in a massage clinic and enjoy the last month spending with your loved ones before your ceremony.Most of all don’t forget to have a talk with your parents.The give you not just good tips but also great advices in your future lives. But, before you do these things to lessen the grip of your tensions? Be sure everything is set for the real deal of your most awaited extraordinary day.

Think wise

Having these tricks as your course and do approach this as your guidelines will lead you what you expect right on and after your wedding day. Never have doubts on results of photos. It is reviewed by your photographer a dozen times before he present it to both you guys. Moreover, promise yourselve’s that you will never commit to something that does not have to do with your goal. Everything is possible when we really want something we can reach. That it is the key to knock the dream out of your mind and that the beauty of the plan lies in its simplicity. Never forget about the inspirational message to your partner and always put God in center of relationships and lastly never forget to understand forgive and compromise. This adds up not just to have a good relationship but to make a successful wedding photography.