Kissing in Front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
I am a rare breed, an actual San Francisco native. I was born in the city and lived there for many years with my family. Our neighborhood happened to be the famous Haight Ashbury District and I lived there in in the 1960’s during the Hippie era. I remember walking through the Pan Handle and literally stepping over Hippies lying in the streets as I walked with my classmates to school. It was quite an experience and a different time. We used to play outside by ourselves with no fear. I could walk home from school by myself and we didn’t think it was any big deal. As a young adult I attended the University of San Francisco, which was walking distance from where I lived as a child. So what does any of this have to do with wedding photography in San Francisco? Keep reading to find out….
San Francisco as Inspiration
The San Francisco community fancies itself as an art society. People here are very in touch with their “right brain”. What does this mean? Right brainers are focused on creative pursuits and art. San Francisco inspires artists to create. It’s hard to define, but I just know that many of the best San Francisco wedding photographers are concerned with providing their clients with more than just traditional images. They want to use San Francisco as a backdrop for amazing creative and historic images. It is easy to do here, because the city offers so much. Having grown up here, I find myself very much in tune with the beauty and history all around us. We love taking our clients to beautiful places like The Palace of Fine Arts and the Legion of Honor. We want to show our couples different aspects of living in San Francisco through wedding photography. When we take couples on a photo tour of the city, we talk about the lifestyle and also show examples. When it comes to San Francisco, it is more than just the beauty, it’s the culture and the history. I know it may be over reaching a little bit, I truly think that many of our brides and grooms like to feel the whole San Francisco persona.
Christmas at city hall in San Francisco
San Francisco Landmarks
The city has so many amazing landmarks and historical locations to take our couples. The Grand Staircase in the photo above is one of these San Francisco Landmarks. Tourists flock to see it and take pictures of it. It makes for a great wedding photography background as you can see. On any given day, you will find many San Francisco residents enjoying the beauty and elegance of these places not only in city hall but outside. This is part of the San Francisco lifestyle, a very easy going pace when compared to other large cities. Hanging out in Golden Gate park, spending time by the Painted Ladies or just walking on Baker Beach. These activities are all part of how people live in the City by the Bay. The fact that I grew up here makes me even more motivated to show visitors what a fun place it is to live. It certainly is a great place to be a wedding photographer.
Experiencing the San Francisco lifestyle
We look forward to sharing our vision of San Francisco with all of our clients, brides and grooms or engaged couples whether they live here or are visiting from other countries.
I am writing this blog post because we have had a number of brides at city hall show up without flowers. San Francisco city hall is an amazing place to have your wedding ceremony. The architecture alone is incredible but there is even more to this story. Because of the way the building is oriented, the natural light can pretty amazing at times. As a City Hall wedding photographer, you learn where to go at certain times of the day to capture this light. The windows are also incredible, not only because of the light they let in, but also the designs on the windows themselves. The only small problem with photographing weddings here is that the backgrounds are all very neutral. You have a mixture of white and gray and many shades in between. For this reason flowers make an incredible difference. Just adding that little splash of color can really enhance a wedding photo here.
As you can see from the above photo, the image is enhanced by the color added from the bride’s bouquet. Even the boutonniere worn by the groom makes a difference. We are able to produce wonderful images even without flowers, but we highly suggest you consider bringing even a small arrangement. I honestly think that some City Hall brides dont even think about the possibility of flowers because its a civil ceremony. But San Francisco city hall is so different because of the elegance of the building! Here is a link to a city hall florist that we have liked in the past just in case you need ideas.
Another fun thing about bringing a bouquet to your city hall wedding is that you can throw it! Its kind of obvious who was going to catch it this time, but still a fun shot. For more information about our SF City Hall Wedding Photography service check out our Yelp Reviews. We feel that it is more important to carefully read the reviews than to look at the rating. We always try to help our brides and grooms out with the process of getting married at City Hall and this is reflected in our Reviews. Providing advice on flowers is just one aspect of how we try to assist our Newlyweds. NOTE: We have discovered over time just how important it really is to add flowers at SF City Hall. We have now started to bring a very nice silk bouquet to the wedding just in case our couple shows up with flowers. Of course it is optional, but many of our clients take us up on our offer!
We love all of our brides and grooms and always make sure we work to get great images of all of them. However, every once in a while we are lucky enough to book a couple that are naturals. This particular couple included a groom who had taken Ball Room dancing lessons and a bride who was a Ballerina. We had a fantastic time with them at San Francisco City Hall with them booking our City Hall PLUS package which provided them with 2 hours of coverage including the ceremony and family photos.
To make things even more fun, the bride wore a unique wedding dress that you don’t normally see at City Hall. It was a totally fun dress and matched the personality of the woman wearing it. Here is what it looked like:
Once the ceremony took place in the Rotunda we photographed a few images of their family and friends. The family members were all amazing and absolutely supportive of us and our wedding photography efforts. We spent some time talking to them and discussing some of the finer points of City Hall weddings and then we took the bride and groom around the building for their photo tour. We visited every single floor of City Hall starting with the Grand Staircase and then up to the 2nd Floor to get some shots in the hallway. We knew we had to make sure we took them up to the 3rd floor to take advantage of the beautiful window light so we headed there next. Here is one of our window shots!
We finished up on the amazing 4th Floor North Gallery at city hall which is probably the most beautiful location in the building for natural light. It was here that we took advantage of our client’s posing talents and tried some dance related poses. The 2 of them pulled off all of our poses with relative ease. We took a number of bride and groom shots on this floor including this one:
We also needed to include some romantic wedding photos to show the close connection between the bride and groom. This kind of posing is quite easy when your couple has that type of bond.
We finished up our photo shoot in typical fashion by taking the couple to the Famous City Hall sign on the Polk Street entrance to the building.
Georgie and Keron traveled clear across the world to get married at San Francisco City Hall. They have no friends or relatives in town, nor have they ever been here before. They just noticed online what a beautiful wedding venue city hall is and decided to elope. They rented out the entire Mayor’s Balcony so they would have privacy and not have to worry about tourists wandering through their ceremony. It is rare that couples do this, but we have seen it before and it can be a great idea. Even at $1,000 (the cost to reserve the Mayor’s Balcony for 1 hour) having your wedding at City Hall is a bargain! Where else can you have access to this beautiful old building; choose from some of the best wedding photographers in the San Francisco area; and also have your own intimate wedding ceremony? Pretty tough to find, especially in the Bay Area.
After the ceremony we took Georgie and Keron throughout the city hall building to make sure we made their trip from Australia a memorable one. They booked our Golden Gate Package so we had plenty of time to tour around the building and take some great photos. One of our first stops was the 3rd floor on the north side of the building. The light there at mid day is amazing, it’s like having your own photo studio at city hall. Artists understand that northern light is preferable due to its softness and mild intensity. We took the photo below with minimal lighting, just mostly using window light.
After spending more time in the building, they wanted to go to the Golden Gate Bridge (who doesn’t?). We drove them there in our car and the weather was amazing. We chose Crissy Field on this particular day since the air was relatively clear and the bridge was in plain site with no fog getting in the way. We put them on top of one of the little mounds of grass and got this amazing shot below. Wedding Photography at Crissy Field