Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park

Love Jump JTG
Love Jump JTG, originally uploaded by stechico.

I had the pleasure of taking Kim and Ricky‘s Engagement photos this past Sunday. We were initially going to roll to 2 spots: the first was the Japanese Tea Garden; and the second was Strawberry Hill. We actually didn’t get to go to Strawberry Hill as there were just tons of people visiting the Park. And there was nice weather to top it off.

Back to our story. We made our way to the Japanese Tea Garden just right next to the De Young Museum. It’s usually free on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays if I recall correctly; and only $5 per person the other days. Not too shabby.

Upon entering the gates, it completely reminded me of the great time I had when I visited Japan a couple years back. I miss that place—great food, people and culture. Not necessarily in that order, but I’d have to rank the food way up there =)

Meanwhile, it was a “party cloudy” day as the forecast said but being in the City, it can change pretty quickly. Luckily, it stayed like that most of the day and it wasn’t too cold. As you can see… Kim was just chillin’.

Most of the spots that we took photos inside were great. Either they had great lighting or was simply balanced enough as I didn’t need to use my flash. As you can tell, I kind of like natural light better at the moment ((Maybe because I’m still reading up on Strobist.)).

Knowing this, I just had my ISO set to 100-200 most of the times and was usually on f2.8-5.6 depending on the situation. I think I shot on Manual and Av modes frequently as well. One of the things I noticed I struggled on a bit were when Kim and Ricky had some backlighting from the Sun. I was trying to get a good balance to expose their faces but also get a good exposure on the background. Luckily, there were only a couple of these shots.

Another thing I learned from my previous photo outings is that you should take a hand towel or two just in case you’d like to sit your couples on a bench or step. When we went to the Garden, I think some benches still had some wet spots due to dew and/or the sprinklers. Having the towel(s) should come in handy especially when the bride is wearing something that can get dirty easily. That, or you can use the towel(s) as padding if you are going to shoot from a low-angle and need to have some cushion for your knees and/or elbows.

All in all it was a nice shoot. I can honestly say that the Japanese Tea Garden almost had the atmosphere that I have experienced in Japan ((Damn, I miss that place. I want to go back. 2010 maybe haha.)). I definitely would recommend going there whether you’d like to just spend a day strolling, taking photos, and/or learning some culture.