city hall wedding photo

City Hall Wedding Photography

San Francisco, California

I love an intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding! While the entire venue can be rented out on Saturdays, most of my time spent here are for Civil Ceremonies. But either way, this will walk you through some of my go-to spots. Keep scrolling for some San Francisco City Hall Wedding photography inspo!


city hall wedding portrait of bride and groom

The Rotunda

The heart of City Hall is the rotunda. It features the grand staircase in the center, which can sometimes be used for portraits. When the space is rented out, the bottom of the rotunda is where the guests are seated and the couple & wedding party stand on the first landing. Most civil ceremonies are held just past the top of the grand staircase, making it a pretty highly trafficked spot during the week. City Hall typically restricts the number of guests that can be present to 6 people (including the photographer). Ceremonies tend to be quick, lasting only a few minutes. There’s usually a few minutes that can be used for a couple photos before the next couple arrives for their ceremony.

city hall rotunda wedding

city hall rotunda wedding

city hall civil ceremony

city hall rotunda wedding

city hall civil ceremony

city hall rotunda photo

city hall civil ceremony at christmas

Closer to the end of the day after the last appointment, there is typically more availability to use this as a photo spot. And obviously, when couples rent out the place, it makes for an excellent spot for an epic shot to showcase the architecture of City Hall.

city hall wedding photo

4th Floor Galleries

On the 4th floor galleries, you get the opportunity to work with the gorgeous window light coming in from the arched windows at the top of the building. You’ll probably recognize it from some of the more iconic imagery of City Hall weddings. I love using this space for group photos and couples portraits. The soft light from the north side is more ideal for group shots, while the south side sometimes gives you some interesting direct light to play with, though it varies depending on time of day and time of year. The 4th Floor North Gallery can also be reserved for ceremonies, but they tend to book up pretty quick in advance.

The 2nd and 3rd Floor Hallways

One of the best things about San Francisco City Hall is that there are so many spots available for portraits – especially since it can get pretty busy. So having some alternate locations to get some photos in is definitely an advantage. The second and third floor hallways that sit beneath the 4th floor balconies are great spots for dramatic light and the classic windows. Similar to the 4th floor balcony, depending on time of day and whether you’re on the north or south side, there are different lighting conditions that can be played with.

The Mayor's Balcony

Another spot for City Hall Weddings is the Mayor’s Balcony. The ceremonies here accommodate a similar sized wedding as the 4th Floor balcony and can also be reserved.

City Hall Wedding Stories

Follow the links below for some sample highlights from past clients.