Great Spots for Wedding and Engagement Photography in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Wedding Photographer – Great Spots for an Engagement Portrait!

There is no doubt that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most beautiful and sought after places in the world to say I do! Brides and Grooms are ‘Spoilt for choice’ when it comes to selecting a perfect location for their Engagement Portrait! We have some of the most fabulous natural and man made beauty in the world here in the Bay. From the sweeping views of downtown San Francisco to the lush vineyards of Sonoma and Napa, the San Francisco Bay Area delivers a world class package when it comes to Wedding and Engagement Photography. One of the benefits of being a San Francisco Wedding Photographer, is that I get to photograph couples in a variety of locations with breathtaking natural beauty. I thought that this would be a good place to give you my take on all this, so here we go!

You’re Engaged!

Once you’re engaged, one of the things on your to-do list will probably be the hunt for a fabulous Wedding Photographer. One of the best, most exciting parts of Wedding Photography is shooting an Engagement Portrait! Its so much fun for the couple and the Wedding Photographer to spend an afternoon together in a relaxed atmosphere with no pressure or time constraint. One of the biggest benefits of having an engagement portrait is that it gives you the chance to get to know your Wedding Photographer – most couples that have taken an Engagement Portrait are more relaxed when taking photos on their Wedding Day as they already know how their photographer works and they feel more at ease. It’s tough having your picture taken by someone you have never met! Most of the great Wedding Photographers I know typically include an Engagement Session as part of their Wedding Packages.

So, you’re Engaged AND you’ve found that fabulous Wedding Photographer – but how to and where to take photos?! In my experience, i’ts important to head for locations that are meaningful to you, places that stir emotion and feeling between the two of you – maybe the site of that first stroll along the beach, or a first kiss, the proposal, the spot that ‘I love you’ was first uttered or a favorite place that you both go to be alone with each other. There are so many special places to take your engagement portrait! Here are a few of my favorites….

Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach

Some of the most spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge can be seen from Baker Beach. It’s like a postcard, the Marin Headlands visible to the east coupled with the rugged cliffs of Baker Beach, clean sands and the crystal blue and green Pacific Ocean surf. I love shooting here.

Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field

Photographing your Engagement Portrait from Crissy Field gives a different perspective from that of Baker Beach. Crissy Field is Bay side, south of the Golden Gate and offers sensational views of Marin County and some San Francisco landmarks, including the Palace of Fine Arts.

Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths provide a really great rustic look with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, the Farallon Islands and the famous Cliff House.

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is unique in that it offers both a refined and rustic appeal full of San Francisco character and artistic history. It really is a fabulous location – grand and glorious.

The Palace of the Legion of Honor

One of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, the Palace of the Legion of Honor offers staggering views of the city, the pacific ocean as well as offering a plethora of wonderful locations within the grounds of the palace for beautiful pictures. the Palace of the Legion of honor is among my favorite places to photograph an engagement portrait.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park has acres and acres – 1,017 acres of gorgeous, lush parkland to take world class engagement portraits! I have photographed many couples here. There are so many locations within the park that make for amazing pictures. Some of my favorite spots include the Botanical Gardens, The Japanese Tea Gardens, JFK Drive, The Conservatory of Flowers and Stowe Lake.

Potrero Hill

For those who love sweeping city views, Potrero hill is a fabulous location – especially on a clear day. Potrero Hill sits within one of the best micro-climates in San Francisco and the views of the City are usually unobstructed by the fog.

China Basin

On a clear, sunny day China Basin offers some of the most wonderful bayside photo opportunities. You can get close to the water with fabulous backdrops such as the world famous Giants Stadium and the Bay Bridge as backdrops. China Basin has undergone significant development in recent years. As a result, it’s a great spot for those seeking clean lines and a modern, sharp feel to their pictures

China Town

China Town is full of color and variety. I have found that this area works well for those who are looking to draw sharp contrasts between clean lines, vibrant asian colors and the bustle and grime of a working market that never sleeps. It’s a fabulous place to shoot!

University of California Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley is an absolutely wonderful location for an Engagement Portrait. With a plethora of buildings dating well over a hundred years old and all the character that comes with structures of this era the campus offers a wealth of gorgeous backdrops that are both romantic and striking.

Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Nestled in the Berkeley Hills high above Cal Berkeley, the Lawrence hall of Science offers some of the most breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay Area I have ever seen – pick a clear day and you’ll hardly believe the views. After photographing Fre and Al at Cal we drove up the hill to the Lawrence Hall of Science to capture the amazing view and incredible sunset. Gorgeous scenery and world class views make this a prime spot for a terrific engagement session!

The Japanese Tea Gardens – Golden Gate Park

The Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate park are a tropical paradise – a garden of Eden for Wedding Photographers!! Perhaps the most difficult part of photographing a couple in the gardens is working out exactly where to photograph them – everywhere you look there are amazing spots!!

Planning a Wedding on a Budget

Every bride needs a theme for her wedding; it is the biggest day of her life so far and deserves a premise that stands for something significant in the bride’s mind. Some of the most popular wedding plans for modern brides during 2009 have included beach, garden, winter wonderland, rustic, country, vintage glamour, and shimmering diamond themes. It probably comes as no surprise, but pulling a wedding together can be expensive. By selecting a theme early on in the wedding-planning-process, you can help alleviate some pre-wedding stress, come up with creative, inexpensive ideas and expedite the decision making process when it comes to choosing invitations, decorations, reception food and party favors. No matter your theme, there are always ways to trim down the wedding expenditures, particularly when it comes to the sending invitations, having a sign-in book, and a memorable wedding cake.

Selecting the wedding announcement can be, without a doubt, one of the most difficult decisions during the engagement period. One of the great things about living in the 21st century, however, is that we have access to the Internet. Use the Web and its resources to cut some of your costs. Before you mail your invitations, send a “Save the Date” e-vite. There are all sorts of sites online that offer free invitation services. You can customize your “Save the Date” e-vite to contain an engagement picture or make it match your wedding invitation. When it comes to the actual creation of your invitations, consider cutting costs by mailing out modern invitations as opposed to the more expensive, traditional, cardstock announcements with raised-ink, gold-foil envelopes, a 5X7 photo and vellum overlay. There are many companies and individuals today that specialize in custom wedding announcements at a fraction of the cost when compared to most paper supply companies. When you send your invitations, instead of including a pre-stamped envelope for the RSVP information, request the guests RSVP through a free Web site that you and your future spouse created together. There are many Web sites that offer free RSVP services.

A creative idea for a sign-in book at your wedding is to use a scrapbook of photos with lots of empty space for guests to sign. By leaving a lot of room on the pages, your guests can also leave words of wisdom. You and your honey can treasure this book for years because it will not only have your wedding attendee’s names, but also their most valuable pieces of advice for your new marriage. Specialized photo-books can either be made by you with some scrapbooking materials, or you can upload photos to an online photo store where you can create a scrapbook designed in whatever colors or theme you like. For less than $20, you can create a customized photo book that can be used as a guest sign-in book at the online Web site for the Walmart Photo Center.

Every bride loves to imagine her wedding cake as a huge display piece that everyone will remember her wedding by. Unfortunately, a beautiful cake made by a cakery or custom cake maker can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Most wedding cake costs are calculated on a per-serving basis, which means if you anticipate 300 people at your wedding, and the price per slice of cake is $2 each very conservative price you are looking at a $600 cake. For the financially conscious, a money-saving idea is to have a cupcake cake. Cupcake cake stands are available in stores for purchase or rent for a fairly decent price or can even be made at home. The cupcakes themselves cost less than $13 per 36 cupcakes at wholesale membership clubs, like Sams. These cupcakes taste great and you can select the type of cake (white or chocolate) as well as the color of butter cream frosting you want. The top of the cupcake cake can still be the traditional small wedding cake top, complete with the bride and groom figurine. This is a great way to appeal to the little children at the wedding and keeps the messes and necessity of plate purchases to a minimum.

Weddings are one of the most special occasions, but they do not have to cause you to go into debt! Make your wedding, or your son’s or daughter’s, into a fabulous event no one will soon forget by embracing creative, custom and contemporary wedding ideas that will save you money and make for a memorable day.

Why Are Wedding Guest Books Important and What Are the Different Types of Weddings Guest Books?

A wedding celebrates and commemorates the union of a husband and wife, in the presence of their family and friends. No other occasion can probably create the same enthusiasm and passion than tying the knot. Capturing all the memories associated with such an event therefore, is essential. This is where a wedding guest book plays a significant role. It is one of those special memoirs that you will cherish for years to come.

This book keeps a written and well-documented record of everyone who shared this special moment with the couple. Captured here are best wishes by the guests, words of advice and maybe even a quote or a few. An essential item for all weddings, it will prove very valuable when looking at it after all the celebrations have died down and you come back from your honeymoon. All you have left now are your memories of what was one, if not, the most important event of your life. There are various types on the market. Here is a quick glimpse of a few:

Specific Themes
If your wedding has a specific theme, then your wedding guest book can complement this. It is a fun and creative way to use guest books and can make a great impression on your guests. There are fairy tale wedding themed books, beach, whimsical, rustic, vintage, garden, and color-themed books amid many others.

Photo Book

Photo books are an excellent idea to create fun memories with a visual impact. The couple can choose their favourite photos of themselves, engagement shoot photos are increasingly popular, and then have them made into a personalized guest book. Their guests can then write their messages in the spaces around the selected photos.

Wedding Platter
A wedding platter is an option for those who want to move away from the conventional guest book. The best thing about this book is that it can be showcased, publicly afterwards.

Quilted
Quilt guest books, usually blankets or tapestries, are a fabulous way to engage wedding guests to form a quilted masterpiece. Using pieces of fabric and fabric pens, people can write their individual messages which then can be sewn into an entire piece later.

Monogrammed
This type of book is very personalized where you can have the book customized with the monogrammed initials of the bride and groom.

Puzzle
A puzzle guest book is another innovative guest book idea. Turn the favorite picture of the couple together or any relevant shape, made into a puzzle, where each guest can write on each piece.

These are the main types of wedding guest books on the market. You can also find them for birthdays, christenings, engagements and other life milestones. You can find them either on online stores, stationery stores and selected specialty stores.