Posts tagged sfcityhallphoto
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.


  • . 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


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

  • - 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.

  • - 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.


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

  • - 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


  • 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.

Phykun and Jonathan by SF City Hall Photo

Not everything goes according to plan. And no… everyone who comes to get married to the City Hall gets married. Phykun and Jonathan had some issues during the check in, but we worked out through them together. At the end we found our own officiant who was on fire and did the ceremony better than any officiant could. I laughed while taking photos.

We spent some time around the City Hall covering all 4 floors, happily coming outside for some fresh air and last few photos.

Pufan & Jessica by SF City Hall Photo

I am very grateful to my clients that have complete trust in me and go along with whatever ideas I have. In this case i really wanted to play around with more contrast and color as it seemed to be very fitting to Pufan & Jessica. Of course I always, always want to make sure I get more classic, traditional photos. Then I get different canvas and try something new. Pufan & Jessica simply went along with whatever i suggested and within an hour or so we had a great variety of photos.

Irem & Berti by SF City Hall Photo

When your family is not in the same country when you decide to get married, you bring your close friends and Skype.

I have photographed large wedding, very large weddings. I do enjoy that, but a smaller wedding is more relaxing for bride and groom as well as their guests. Everyone gets time to talk to them, joke around, take photos and it ends up being more personal and emotional to capture.

That’s how it turned out when Irem & Berti got married. Once we shot the ceremony, group photos and most of Irem & Berti photos that i wanted to do, I did a few portrait solo photos. As you talk to your couple while shooting and behind the scenes, you learn a lot more. Like the fact that Berti was studying to be a photographer and does some great aerial photos - i checked out his instagram later on.

The best part about my job is that I get to meet people i normally wouldn’t meet. I get to hear stories, learn about their lives, what they like, what they do and at the same time be part of one of their most memorable day.

Xinwei & Minmeng - Valentine's day by SF City Hall Photo

Valentine’s day is a special kind of day at the San Francisco City Hall. It’s also one of the busiest day a year when it comes to weddings. On days like that we are always prepared to take advantage of the open areas as soon as we see them.

Now Xinwei & Minmeng got very lucky on that day in so many ways. They got one of my favorite City Hall officiant, their ceremony was moved up to the 4th floor. In addition to that we timed it right so they could get a clean shot of the Grand Stairwell. For those who have come to the City Hall on regular days, they would know that people are constantly going up and down the stairwell and standing on the 2nd floor. So the grand stairwell shots .. clean grand stairwell shots.. are not always possible. However it all was doable on February 14th for this awesome couple.

This is just a small sample of variety of photos the couple received . Both natural and flash light used.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding Information by SF City Hall Photo

SF City Hall Wedding Walkthrough

Fourth Floor, SF City Hall, Rosey Bouquet

SF City Hall Photo began in 2015 as an affordable and high-quality photography service for couples getting married inside the iconic downtown building. After spending so much time in and around the structure, we thought we should share some tips and suggestions for making your San Francisco City Hall wedding even more enjoyable, and perhaps alleviate any confusion you may have about how the entire process works.


Civil ceremonies take place Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 3:30pm. You must first make a reservation online to schedule an appointment for your marriage license and your marriage ceremony.  Payment for both services is due upon making the reservation, and is $107, and $86 respectively.  

Whenever possible, we recommend getting your marriage license on a day other than your ceremony date. However, if your license and ceremony appointments are on the same day, make sure to schedule them at least one hour apart.

      Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio got married at SF City Hall in 1954!

The County Clerks Office in room 168 is where you will check in and handle your paperwork.  You'll receive a ticket before being asked to wait in the hallway until your number is called. Getting through the office is generally a breeze, however, it's always wise to arrive early in case their are delays.  

Once your number is called we go back inside the clerk's office and meet the person who will be marrying you that day. Interestingly enough there are more than a dozen volunteer officiants who rotate during the week. We have had the pleasure of working with almost all of them and, very similar to us, they love what they do.

After greeting and handling paperwork, you will be asked if you are exchanging rings and given the choice of where you would like the ceremony to take place: private room or the Rotunda. The idea of a private room may sound appealing but in reality is a rather drab, windowless box which doesn't allow for stunning images. The Rotunda is the place to be.

You too can be a deputy marriage officiant for a day!

Another thing to keep in mind is the length of the ceremony itself. If you elected to use a city-appointed officiant the ceremony itself lasts no more than 5 minutes. You will also not be allowed to exchange your own vows. A private officiant is something to consider if you would like to share your own written vows with your partner.

After choosing your location you both will be asked to show your identification and sign the marriage license. One witness (Two Max) needs to be present to sign the license as well as the decorative certificate City Hall provides for newlyweds. If your wedding is a low-key affair with just the two of you we can happily act as an official witness and sign the corresponding documents, just let us know.

Finally, the paperwork is settled and you are asked to head upstairs to the Rotunda to wait for the beginning of your ceremony. Typically there are at least 2-3 other couples getting married by the same officiant, so while you may be the first or last, it is best to go straight to the Rotunda forthwith to avoid any delays and potentially lose your place. We can help usher the rest of your party upstairs so everyone can watch this magical moment.

Badhia & Zack by SF City Hall Photo

People meet in different places, under different circumstances.  They come from different countries, cities, cultures.  And then one day a few months later, few or even 10 years later they feel that getting married is the next logical or emotional step.  And if one lives in San Francisco why look for another place to get married.  People come from all over the world to tie the knot in beautiful San Francisco City Hall.  

Badhia and Zack like many of us get shy in front of the camera and were not sure how the whole experience will go.  But 15 minutes into our session they felt at ease and even started chatting about life while I was posing them.  We spent some time in the City Hall and then headed to Crissy Fields and Palace of Fine arts to complete our photo collection.  At the end we got a great fun, serious, silly series of images that they felt represent them.  

Andrea & Kevin by SF City Hall Photo

Andrea and Kevin are getting married in Aruba in 2019, but wanted to do a session at the City Hall as they were getting their license.  They came in on Friday afternoon and although City Hall got filled up with occasional tour groups, it was relatively quiet as the last ceremonies were finished at 3.30.  That allowed us room to maneuver around the City Hall and actually achieve a "clean", crowd-less shot of the Grand Stairwell.  I have to admit it's quite a rare occasion and even then i had to polite ask a few people to move for just a split second.  

It was a gorgeous day and i wanted to take advantage of the outdoors and the sun creating glares and fun shadows.   The end result is quite a good collection of photos done within a very short period of time. 

Aislinn & Philip by SF City Hall Photo

Ailsinn and Philip came all the way from Chicago to get married in the City Hall. No guests, no large parties... just the 2 of them. I served as their witness, photographer and guide around the City Hall for about an hour.  Aislinn mentioned to me earlier that her parents got married in the City Hall, so it was a special location for her. She even showed me a photo of her parents on the steps of the City Hall and asked if we could do a similar photo. We did, minus the pigeons that seemed to have made their habitat on the steps years back. Nowdays you don't get to see that. All though it would make for some good photos.  

Anh & Paul 1 year later

Anh and Paul married in June 2017 and one of the first weddings i did when i took over SF City Hall Photo.  The was lots of natural chemistry and they were a fun and easy couple to work with for a few hours we had together.   I approached them a few weeks ago and offered to go for a walk in San Antonio Rancho around the sunset and take some photos.   They agreed and let me tell them what to do once again.  As a result we got a nice collection of photos ourdoors.  

Tati & Brian

Couples come from all over the world to get married in San Francisco City Hall.  Over the years I've met people who flew from different states and different countries to tie the knot in beautiful City Hall.  

In this case the groom is local Californian, while his bride came all the way from Brazil.  Only Brian's family attended, but we made sure to capture the ceremony and plenty of family and portrait photos for the family in Brazil.  As a side bonus we recorded a video of the ceremony just because we could.  They were a real pleasure to work with.  These are the moments i wish we had the whole day to photograph the couple.  But oh well.. after about an hour we had to let them go to enjoy the rest of their lovely day. 

Akiyo & Ryota
Kenzi and Chris
Katie & Martin
Elizabeth & Jon
Melissa & Alvin
Hannah and Martin
Sharvari and Abhiram
Monday morning with Anh-Thu and Paul