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No doubt that City Hall is one of the most magnificent venues to get married at. If you are planning an intimate San Francisco City Hall wedding photography session and need an experienced photographer who is capable of taking unique and meaningful photos, we have a number of City Hall photography packages tailored just for that. Please scroll down to see our portfolio and rates.
Fusion Photo and Video
The video above was created by combining photos and short video clips that were captured by a solo photographer (no assistant) during the duration of the coverage which was roughly 4 hours long. Clients who aren't sure about hiring a wedding videographer, may consider having the photographer taking short videos along with photos. And while it can't fully replace a videographer, a result is a unique combination of still photos and short videos.
frequently asked questions
A: For years City Hall didn't care much how many guests couples bring. However, in May of 2019 City Hall started to enforce the 6 guests limit and couples who bring a bigger party risk getting married in a small chamber located near the county clerk's office. Its a nice little room but no match for the Rotunda. If you have a larger group, I highly recommend renting a space at City Hall via this link.
A: Yes, you can book us before making a reservation with City Hall. All you need to do after that is to make sure to log-in into the City Hall's booking page exactly 90 days prior to guarantee your time slot. So far it worked 100% of the time.
A: Well, first of all, they are volunteers. Few judges are REALLY FANTASTIC, but some are not. Most will read a script with a smile. You should avoid the officiants with poor vocal skills and those who will chew through the script in less than 60 seconds (yes, it happens!). Some officiants (very few, though) are also painfully slow to process the paperwork which creates long lines and adds to the stress. Some judges won’t say “Now you may kiss the Bride!” – which may cause mild confusion. Once we see who you will be working with, we will provide you with instructions that will minimize the problems.
A: IQphoto Studio is a recognized vendor by the City Hall Event Department with current paperwork on-file including liability insurance requirements. We personally know the staff of both County Clerk Office and the Event Department which makes it easier to coordinate between our clients and the City Hall.
While there are many couples who’d rather stay in the building as it is really magnificent, others prefer to visit another spot. This can be decided upon when we meet.
A: Unfortunately most deputy marriage commissioners will not allow couples to read their own vows due to time constraints. However, sometimes they don't mind.
A: Unlike with hourly packages, this option is not entirely based on time. We will meet at the time of your registration and will wait for you until the ceremony. We will then photograph the ceremony and will also spend 10-20 minutes afterward taking formal posed shots at one or two additional spots. This package is oriented to provide basic posed shots and to cover the ceremony.
A: While the quantity of the photographs is less important than their quality, we typically deliver 120-150 images per hour of the coverage time. We delete only images that are obvious duplicates and/or images with bad facial expressions, eye blinks, exposure test shots, etc.,
A: On Fridays, City Hall is usually very crowded. If you want to enjoy empty City Hall and get the most out of your photo session, please schedule your Ceremony on Tuesday's or Wednesday's mornings. City Hall is fairly empty around lunch break as well (except Friday). There is a little trick to get completely empty City Hall on a weekday but it involves some level of creativity.
A: Our clients receive color corrected full-size digital images as a part of this package by default. Images will be ready for printing and will retain natural light and tonal range. We will color correct the images and adjust many of the parameters to achieve a uniform look for the entire gallery. Editing decisions will be based on many factors such as weather, lighting, skin tones, age, etc., Clients may also request a “special” editing of the entire wedding such as B&W conversion, however, this must be requested in advance and may require an additional fee. After the images delivered, clients may request retouching at a $60/Hr rate. Clients may also request unedited (Raw) files instead of jpeg images at no additional cost or receive both versions for $125.
Q: Can we share our story with you so you could learn about us?
A: Yes, please do. Here are some short stories, our couples shared with us and the world.
A: Unfortunately we don't offer consultations with our City Hall packages (due to their pricing structure) but will be happy to schedule a phone consultation instead.
A: We use professional Canon DSLR cameras and work with 18-21 Megapixels image size. This offers an ability for up to 16x24 inch size enlargements while maintaining a reasonable file size. Client's can request even higher resolution if needed.
09/04/2017 Update: The situation with marriage commissioners has dramatically improved. There currently no issues with the County Clerk commissioners.
03/18/2018 Update: The Friday 11AM-12PM couples should not book restaurant too close to their ceremony times. The current deputy marriage commissioner is running behind the schedule 90% of the time.
03/05/2019 Update: The Friday 11AM-12PM situation with county clerk office has improved but couples should still be aware of delays.
A: By default, you will be getting full resolution unmarked color corrected jpeg images. We will only delete obvious duplicates, blinkers, bad expression shots, etc., You can opt for unedited files (same exact images but in Raw format) instead, at no additional charge. Or you can upgrade the package (extra fee) and have two versions of the same image as well.
A: Our typical turnaround time is four to six weeks. You will have 30 days to download the images from a secure online gallery. You will be responsible for backing them up. We recommend making multiple copies on a DVDs and hard drives. We will not be responsible for storing the images after this period.
A: Since City Hall is not a controlled environment and often a very busy place, we can only try to get a specific shot but can not guarantee it. Those who really love City Hall architecture and interested in a larger number of posed photographs should consider two or even four hours packages.
A: Yes. You can split the time with a minimum of four hours of coverage (otherwise, there is a $100 split fee). Ex: Three hours during the day to cover the Ceremony and additional location for portraits and one hour to cover the reception.
A: You can drive with us although our car is packed with equipment so it might not be the most comfortable ride.
A: Yes, San Francisco City Hall will perform your ceremony as long as you have valid passports. Your marriage certificate will be shipped to you after 2 weeks (you must complete online form & postage fees apply).
A: In a case of heavy traffic we always try to add some extra time but generally coverage time includes driving.
A: All City Hall hourly packages include ALL high-resolution images at no additional cost. Standard price for the a-la-carte high-resolution image is $50.
A: San Francisco is a beautiful city with plenty of places to visit. Palace of Fine Arts, Legion of Honor, Crissy Field, Fort Mason, Golden Gate Bridge Overlook, Golden Gate Park, Baker’s Beach, Japanese Tea Gardens are just a few of them.
Q: Can you be our witness?
A: Yes. Just ask!
City Hall wedding planning is much simpler than planning a big wedding but there are still a few details that will make it a happy day run smoothly.
What Do You Do First?
You’ll need to make two reservations. One to obtain your marriage license and the second reservation is for your ceremony. You can make reservations up to 90 days in advance of your ceremony date. For popular days like holiday weekends, it’s a good idea to reserve as soon as your 90-day window opens.
And here is a dedicated page for 4th floor City Hall weddings .
City Hall locations
- Rotunda - 99% of the wedding couples will get this spot. It's a default location and unless City Hall has a private event and blocks it off, you will get this spot.
- County Clerk Office - Most couples will have to register there before the ceremony. Except those who are bringing their own wedding commissioner.
- 4th floor (and Mayor's balcony - not shown - located above the camera position) are the private areas that can be rented for a fee.
- Grand Staircase - Most couples would want to have a picture taken there.