Jake Murphy of LOVE + WOLVES CO (an Rf 30 Rising Star in 2016) nabbed this city hall wedding by way of referral, from Brooklyn photographer Katie Osgood—or rather, “the legendary Katie Osgood,” as Murphy read in the couple's inquiry email. "I was super honored because I really admire Katie’s work," he says. "The wedding photography community is small, so it’s important to pass inquiries around when you can—what goes around comes around!"
And when he read that the couple wanted to wed at San Francisco's city hall, he was on board. "City hall weddings are so romantic and unique from each other," Murphy says. "It’s a special breed of couple that ties the knot at city hall. San Francisco just happens to have one of the most beautiful ones in the country. I couldn't help myself."
But city hall weddings aren't without their "interesting challenges," as Murphy put it. Nothing that he can't handle. "[City hall weddings] excite me because there are so many unknowns at play: Will it be busy that day? How many tourists are going to try to ruin my shots? But on this day, my only challenge was the first look."
One of the photo concepts Murphy loves to do is what he calls "the last people on Earth" shots, isolating a couple in a world to themselves. "It can be difficult, but it’s so worth it just to be patient or put the extra effort into finding the right location. San Francisco City Hall is a very grand building, and I wanted to capture that in the first look. The main entrance was really busy, so I (for the first time ever) walked around the back of the building and realized the entrances are almost identical. But the back entrance was deserted. Getting Mark in place and bringing Kate into the scene without them seeing each other (obviously) was the next challenge. All while keeping a distance and letting the story unfold naturally."
This year marks Murphy's third season in California, and if there's anything he's learned to do during his time on the West Coast, it's to embrace direct light. "I’ve stopped running for the shadows and diffused light," he says. "Ever since I let go of that mindset, playing with light has become my favorite thing." That switch in sentiment came in handy for this sunny day, as did the wedding's rock-solid timing throughout the day (when does that ever happen?) that was critical for Murphy and the couple to reach all of their portrait locations. "Our itinerary was on point," he recalls, which meant the couple was nice and relaxed.
LOVE + WOLVES CO offers Polaroid photography as a service for the couple, which normally means that Murphy's carrying along a Polaroid camera with him to shoot throughout the day, but this couple decided to switch it up: "Their friends and family took it over during the reception and had a blast snapping each other and sharing the images. Polaroids have so much character and are so much fun to work with, even for novices. It was awesome seeing the guests have such a good time working with the camera."
GEAR FOR THE DAY
Cameras: Nikon D700 (x2), Nikon D750
Lenses: NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art DG, NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G ("I only shoot primes because I love to shoot with my aperture wide open and use available light whenever possible," Murphy says.)
Lighting: Nikon SB-910 speed light paired with a NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8D
Accessories: Holdfast Money Maker camera strap