Written by Tori Green
On Saturday, June 11th, Sean and I headed out to Emeryville to film Sijia and Aaron’s big day! Driving up there was actually a bit of a throwback for me, as the location of their wedding was the same place where Allen and I had filmed the second wedding we'd ever shot (Tracy and Ross are still going strong!). And not only was I familiar with the venue, but we had actually worked with the photographer before as well: Jack Arent from Kim and Ron’s wedding. Having prior experience with the venue definitely works to your advantage and knowing the photographer is always a plus!
Once we arrived, the first thing we noticed was how windy it was. It was gusty enough to make me worry about how the audio would sound with the wind as a factor. With an hour to set up, Sean and I scoped the place out and decided exactly where we would shoot from. Little did we know that in the moment, all that would change due to the placement of the bride, groom, and their wedding party. Of course, we thought quickly on our feet and did the best we could. What proved to be extremely helpful was Sean's mobility thanks to his monopod.
Another issue we ran up against was managing our exposure during the reception. If we shot facing the crowd, our white balance was perfectly exposed, but if we faced anywhere towards the backdrop of the San Francisco Bay, everything would be completely overexposed due to the huge windows with sunlight streaming in. Our best solution was to avoid shooting in that direction whenever possible. In order to manage our decor B-roll shots that required shooting that way, I shot with the a7s, boosted the shutter speed, and lowered the F stop so I could get a perfect shot of the bay.
What was really cool about the wedding itself was how culturally immersive it all was. The ceremony was short and sweet, lasting only about twenty minutes, and was bilingual, featuring both Mandarin and English. (Technically, it was actually trilingual because they had a sign language interpreter there as well.) During the reception, the groom's parents were announced after the bride and groom and then went immediately into a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. The bride's parents then followed with their own tea ceremony. It was definitely an interesting tradition to witness. Luckily for me, the majority of everything said was translated into English! After being involved in so many Indian weddings and, recently, a lot more Mexican-infused ceremonies, I'm thankful to have been able to experience yet another culture. That's just one great part of my job!
Congratulations, Sijia and Aaron!