I arrived at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, CA in November to shoot the wedding of Eri Tagaya and Jason Riback. If you’ve never been, the Palace Hotel is a video or photo shooters dream! The place absolutely shines with style. From the chandeliers to the sconces and the classical molding, the Palace is designed like a something out of a fairytale.
While my second shooter was off making magic with the Groom and groomsmen, I was shooting the bride in a beautiful flowing red oriental robe at 120fps. I knew when I shot it that I was going to love the way the robe moves in slow motion.
The balcony room where, the first look took place, was quite large, therefore allowing us to get wide and tight shots. The room featured shuttered windows that, when opened, looked out onto the main dining hall below. One of my favorite shots from that day is of the elaborate chandeliers hanging over the dining hall. They have an almost mid-evil look and are oh, so romantic.
The ceremony was held upstairs with a domed skylight illuminating the space. Let me tell you, these two wrote some of the best, most heartfelt vows I’ve ever had the pleasure to record. The love was so earnest and palpable, this couple is the real deal! The ceremony incorporated 4 traditional ceremonial elements, therefore none of the families’ backgrounds were left out. The couple kissed and exited down the aisle in a shower of white rose petals being tossed in the air.
We left the hotel and hit the streets of Downtown San Francisco for some couples shots. Luck and love were on our side! First, we found a lovely 1930’s early car parked near the hotel which made for some great shots. Then we came across an alley way with a neon sign high up the side of a building, illuminating the couple with neon light and words on the sign were too perfect. “Love Over Rules” I chuckled at the double entendre as I boosted the ISO on my Sony A7SII. I was happy to have a camera in my hands that performs so well in low light!
We headed inside for the reception. What a room! What a crowd! Eri and Jason made their grand entrance and the party ensued. Another of my favorite shots took place soon after the couple entered the room. In the Jewish tradition, everyone danced in a circle and then lifted Eri and Jason above their heads in chairs. The shots of the two of them being tossed about in their chairs with the ornate fireplace and mantel in the background are just gorgeous. While I shot wide, my second shooter got into the crowd for some wonderful tight slow motion shots of the couple up in the air above everyones’ heads.
The Reception continued in the usual fashion, toasts, dances, cake cutting, and celebration. We stole the couple away for some quick shots in the lobby of the hotel with a lovely floral arrangement, and in the main dining room with a grand piano.
Spending the day with these two and getting to hear their story, as they told it in their vows, was a special experience. It resonated for me because it was so similar to my own experience of meeting my wife and getting married two years ago…but that’s another story.
So here’s to you Eri and Jason! May your love flourish all the days of your lives!
From our love to yours,
Laif and Melisa
Blue Note Weddings