Posts in city hall wedding
Megan & Alex

When I talk to others about their job and what kind of work they do, i realize that i can’t even consider what i do as work. Of course there are some intense days, there are days when you emotionally and physically tired, but at the end I realize that I’m around happy people who are enjoying a very special day and my job is really to capture that day for them. I’m their guest with a camera. I’m their friend who knows how to take photos. And yes I really enjoy smaller wedding like this one where it was close family and closest friends, while Lucy stood for the groom’s best man.

As a result this San Francisco City Hall wedding was filled with intimate moments during and after the ceremony. How often do you get to photograph a cute dog inside the City Hall? Not very often.. so i took full advantage of that. Lucy played her part perfectly - posing, giving high fives and barking her congratulations to the newly wed

Portraits - my new obsession

Before i had my first “professional” photo shoot. Before i was even able to set exposure on my camera or focus correctly, I was attracted to people’s portraits…. actually i’ll say it differently. I was always interested in people - their emotions, passion… how it is reflected on the faces and body language.

While I enjoy shooting weddings - whether it’s a small San Francisco City Hall wedding or a larger weekend wedding - i always feel that I wish i had more time to spend with the people. Weddings are fast paced, adrenaline rushed, in the moment photography. While I always will set time aside for couples portraits, I don’t want to take over one of their biggest day in the lives, especially when the couple has family and friends attending.

My dream of having my own studio came true this summer when I built my own studio in Santa Clara. On weekly basis I work some amazing people, who trust my music choice and go along with my inquisitive and at times silly questions.

With portrait photos, especially studio, there’s no time pressure, no space pressure. To me it’s a sort of meditation. I have a chance to get to know the people and they have a chance to get comfortable and get to know me. I’m genuinely interested in each one of them. I want to understand their thinking, philosophy, personal experiences, what drives them.

I don’t want this to be a stare in the camera, I want the image to have a meaning. It’s about the mood, the true emotions, at times conflicted desires as we so often have. It’s about telling a story with a few images. A story about the person, their life, what they feel… That’s what i try to achieve every single time I do any kind of session, but more so when it’s a portrait session.

For more information on my packages I have created this page. The packages are very low priced for a reason as my goal is to attract more people who are interested in headshots and portrait photos.

https://www.sfcityhallphoto.com/portraits

Indra & Derek

San Francisco City Hall is the place that attract couples from all over the world who want to get married. But of course some don’t have to travel too far to do their ceremony at the famous SF Courthouse.

Indra & Derek had a very intimate ceremony with just their family and few close friends attending. Since their wedding was on Tuesday afternoon, the City Hall wasn’t very crowded. So we had time to move around and take some nice shots in different areas of the City Hall. They also got lucky having their ceremony at the Mayor’s balcony.

Melanie & Andrew SF City Hall Wedding

Mel and Drew lived , went to school next to each other without actually knowing it. They bumped into each other and were introduced at a few parties, but nothing more happened. They continued living their lives. They kept bumping into each other at friend’s parties or events. They kept talking and texting over some period of time and then on July 4th Drew asked Mel on a date. They had dim sum, went to City Lights Books, then walked throughout Chinatown and North Beach and along Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. They went to Lou's Jazz Hall and listened to live music, then took a cab to the Mission District and enjoyed fireworks from the roof top of Lolinda El Techo (then known as Medjool's) and walked back together through a sea of illegal fireworks as police sirens echoed the Mission streets.

Then while on vacation in Paris Drew proposed to Mel.

Melanie and Andrew get hitched on the 71st wedding anniversary of Melanie's grandparents with friends and family.

SF City Hall Photo favorite vendors/partners

After working at SF City Hall for many years you build relationships, you get to know other vendors. I’ve done my homework on all the vendors I recommend. I would stand 100 percent behind this list. I’m hoping it’ll help you when you’re planning your SF City Hall wedding.

Flowers

  • http://solambiance.com . Oxana, the owner of Solambiance is outstanding. First time I worked with her was many years ago for my own personal project. She came recommended to me through a videographer. Since then she’s my to go florist - whether it’s for clients or myself. She is very creative with her bouquet and has an overall good sense what goes well with what. On top of that she’s one of most dependable and responsive people I know

Hair/Makeup

My 2 favorite studios. Both great in their own mind. For a photographer working with the right makeup/hair stylist is the key.

  • https://www.tripletwist.com/ - Mei is extremely patient, soft spoken, very attentive and detailed. She styles, while her husband Robert takes care of administrative part. Every single bride I recommended Mei to sang her praise. And of course the results were amazing.

  • https://www.bunbunbridallab.com/ - Felicia runs her studio so well. She’s the main stylist and the administrator. She is very well organized and very friendly. All brides love her as she makes them feel like she’s known them for a long time. And of course her results speak for themselves. She has an IG page that shows before and after.

Music

This is my personal favorite since I’m also a musician at heart and occasional playing now.

  • https://www.corellitrios.com/ - Midori is the heart of Corelli Strings and she can put together any ensemble you’d like for your wedding. She only works with great musicians. I’ve watched them perform at wedding on many occasions. They are not only fantastic musicians, they truly enjoy playing. On top of that Midori is very responsive, reliable and is a great person to work with

Videography

  • IQVideography - I’ve dedicated the whole Blog Post to my favorite video studio. Alex is not only a very talented videographer, but great business partner and a friend.

Why and How to Hire a Videographer for your City Hall Wedding

I get it - you’re having a small SF City Hall wedding. Maybe it’s just the 2 of you or maybe you have only your close friends and family attending. If you’re looking at my page then you’re considering getting a photographer, but that’s about it.

As a photographer who shoots in San Francisco City Hall on weekly basis, I see so many opportunities to capture the moments on video. And i do my best to do this as a photographer and at times do short videos for the couples. But that’s not the same as having an actual video of your day. The videographer will have a lot more material to work with the more time you give him. But even with 1 hour that footage is priceless.

It’s no wonder MTV, then YouTube took off. While I love photography and try to capture the mood, the environment, people, video takes it to a new dimension. I believe it stands complimentary to photography. It doesn’t replace photography, Take a look at some videos shot at San Francisco City Hall by our favorite video company - IQVideography.

Which brings me to the point ..

How to find and hire a really good reasonably priced videographer for your SF City Hall Wedding.

General guidance:

(And of course this applies to non City Hall weddings).

  • Watch their work - does it feel right to you? We all watch lots of movies and music videos now. Does it evoke emotions in you, do you feel the joy of the moment, is it visually pleasing? I see a lot of videos that are impersonal. They are focusing more on the surroundings as if afraid of the couple. I’m sure couples want to capture the vibe and environment of the place. Or I see videos where i don’t know here the wedding is taking place. Could be parents’ backyard. I can’t tell. Good videographer captures it all.

  • Does the style of videography fit with what you have in mind? I know it’s all about the taste. Does the music go well with the visuals? Angles, compositions, color… they can be good, but it’s not what you envision a wedding video should look like

  • Quality - does it feel like the video could’ve been shot on an iphone by a friend? Is the video shaky? Now maybe it’s their style. But unless you want to get dizzy watching your wedding video I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Ask around - i’m sure i’m not alone who feels that with all the technology we don’t talk to each other as much as we should. Ask your friend, co-worker, someone who recently got married for a recommendation. Ask your wedding planner or a photographer. Yes, you can ask me or any other photographer you’re considering for your wedding. Once you get a name, go to first 3 steps and review their work. At the end it’s your decision

I have to say that I’m extremely lucky to know and have worked on many occasions with IQVideography. They fit all 3 criteria I’ve described above. To prove my points see the videos below.

SF City Hall throughout the years

Taking photographs isn’t a new business. Getting married isn’t new either. Getting married in San Francisco, having a small SF City Hall wedding isn’t new. But it doesn’t make it less special when you are the ones getting married.

It’s a great privilege to not just be part of one of the biggest event in a people’s lives, but to be trusted as a photographer during their San Francisco courthouse wedding. I never take it for granted and every single wedding try to be the best i possibly can as a photographer. Through the years I met people from all over the world. Couples come from the UK, Canada, New Zealand and other US tates specifically to get married in beautiful San Francisco City Hall. Other people come from all over the world and meet in the US, then decide to get married in San Francisco Courthouse. Every story is unique and I have to admit I enjoy these stories. Maybe it’s the History major (and Bachelors degree) or maybe I’m very interested in people.. how they met, what they thought of each other, how they get along. And of course not everyone is a extrovert and will tell me their whole life story. That’s totally ok. It’s really none of my business you can say. At the same time it doesn’t only satisfy my interest, but it brings more in couples when we take photos. It brings fun memories of how they met, fun or maybe serious moments. And as we talk, we walk around the City Hall and take photos. Sometimes there’s more time, sometimes there’s less.

My path to being San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer was in some ways accidental, but then i don’t really believe in accidents. Neither do i believe in preordained destiny. I think it’s somewhere in between where we decide how our life goes. But I’m grateful that over the few years as an owner and photographer of SF City Hall Photo i met such amazing people, became part of their life (even if for a moment) and was able to leave them with some of the greatest memories they will have.

Brittany & Dustin by SF City Hall Photo

We all know that City Hall gets busy and even when officiants try their best to be on time, things can run a bit late. But that wasn’t the case for Brittany & Dustin. Everything went smooth from the moment they checked in to the Clerk’s office. No wait time.

As we were coming up the Grand Stairwell for the ceremony, the stairwell was practically empty. I politely asked a few people to hide behind the columns so i can take a nice wide shot of the couple on the Grand Stairwell. I personally love clean stairwell shots, when the attention is drawn to the couple with the stairwell going up.

After the ceremony we headed to the 4th floor which was clear for us. Even though we can take group shots in various area, I really enjoy doing group shots on the 4th floor due to all that natural light that comes through the windows.

And of course as I always once we are done with the serious and fun shots I wanted to experiment a little - the couple had their own little pose/sign they wanted to do and I decided to take it next level.

Carleigh & Adam by SF City Hall Photo

Who says you can’t have a small wedding ceremony in the City Hall without your bridesmaids and groomsmen? Carleigh and Adam definitely didn’t think so.

Yes, it was small.. yes it was intimate.. and it was perfect! We got great emotional ceremony photos, lots of group photo variations and of course a good variety of photos with just the couple. Couldn’t help it but take extra photos of just the lovely bride by herself.