Bride and groom in natural light at a City Hall window
Wedding Photographer San Francisco City Hall - Window Light Bride
San Francisco Presidio Woodline Wedding photo
Wedding Photographer San Francisco City Hall - Presidio Image
Wedding Photographer San Francisco City Hall - Second Floor Railing
City Hall Wedding Photographer - Woodline Wedding Photo
Nuptials on Grand Staircase at San Francisco City Hall
Walking Photo at the City Hall Rotunda in San Francisco
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Sarah and Toby

City Hall - San Francisco Presidio Wedding

Sara and Toby decided to have their wedding at San Francisco City Hall because they wanted beautiful photos of the building architecture coupled with the convenience and inexpensive pricing. SF City Hall allows a couple the chance to have their wedding at one of the West Coast's truly amazing venues at a reasonable cost. SF city hall was recently rated as a top 5 wedding venue in the area. I think it rates even higher. Sara's gorgeous wedding dress worked so perfectly with the background textures and colors at City Hall. We purposely used more natural light than normal in order to capture the detail of the dress yet keep the lighting soft and warm. As is evident from the photos above, the window shots really worked and we see a nice contrast between the colors of the dress and the background. Professional off-camera lighting is still essential to obtaining the best quality in wedding photography, but in this particular case we were able to use some amazing window light.

Grand Staircase at City Hall

It can be difficult to photograph the Bride and Groom on the Grand Staircase without other people wandering around, but we often get lucky. One way we "make our own luck" is to keep our eye on the Staircase throughout our Town Hall photo tour so we can pounce on it when there are less people present. This system has worked well for us over the years and requires some vigilance, but is well worth it. To me, it beats just waiting and not doing anything. It also depends upon what time it is and the day of the week. We have found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays give us the best chance to get this type of shot. Mondays are good too! It's easy to see why so many of our clients want photos on the Grand Staircase. Even on a Thursday or Friday it is possible if you are patient enough. I figure it is always possible to get photo in this famous location if you just are willing to wait. It seems to clear up eventually, even on Fridays at peak time. As long as you have the time in your schedule, I have no problem waiting also. So to answer many of your questions in advance. Yes, we are able to take pictures of you and your spouse on the Grand Staircase without strangers in your photos! You may have to be willing to wait, but it is worth it. Even if there are a few people still wandering around, we can choose the best angles to minimize their impact on your final photos. This is normally our final resort.

Evening Bride at San Francisco City Hall

Creative Wedding Photography

We took Sara and Toby on a walk around the second floor of City Hall and took some candid shots of them. The photograph below-left was actually taken from the 3rd floor looking down. We then took the romantic photo on the right using the south facing window light on the second floor of San Francisco City Hall. Some of the best photos are unplanned and just happen. We try to put our couples in the best possible position to make this occur and then get ready with our cameras. We want to be creative, but at the same time make it fun for the couple without over posing them. Taking too much time setting up each photo can take away from the spontaneity of the event and resulting images. Creativity is not just about composing a great and unique image. It actually has just as much to do with the unique way a wedding photographer handles the couple. You get the most out of the bride and groom by keeping the photo session upbeat! A little laughter doesn't hurt either. I really feel that the photographer's approach to the photos session has everything to do with the final result. We can talk about posing, lighting and backgrounds forever and of course it is all very important. However, if the couple is unhappy or not fully engaged during the city hall photo shoot, the results will suffer. To me, the most important thing a SF city hall wedding photographer can do is to make this happen through encouragement and humor. Taking a positive approach works best. Whatever it takes!

Leaving San Francisco City Hall

Sara and Toby booked us for a total of 2.5 hours which included the signing of the marriage license by the witness, ceremony shots, family shots, and a photo tour around San Francisco City Hall. Once this was all completed it was time to leave city hall to go out into San Francisco. Our first stop was the Presidio for some romantic wedding photography at a place called Woodline. They wanted an intimate non-touristy setting and Woodline was just the place to take them! Our Golden Gate Package offers 1 additional SF location (like Woodline). We spent about 20 minutes there and got some beautiful photos. Woodline is beautiful but it doesn't really say San Francisco, so you need to decide if you want related landmarks or just beautiful backgrounds. Woodline in the Presidio definitely has the beauty and will look different than anything else you might get in San Francisco. People more familiar with the City understand that the Presidio is also somewhat of a local landmark as well, it is just not as recognizable as some of the more famous destinations. UPDATE: We are no longer allowed to take pictures of the license signing in the County Clerk's office due Covid-19 concerns. We can re-enact it if you would like after the ceremony is complete!

Wedding Photographer City hall Gold Railing

Sara and Toby romantic wedding photography at the San Francisco Presidio

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