*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
When it comes to photography, you need different things in different situations. If you’re having a big weekend wedding, it’s possible you want to hire a photographer who’s a bit of a head-in-the-clouds-artist, who will give you dreamy portraits, but might not make sure that you get places on time (I hired photographers like this myself, and loved them). But if you’re hiring a photographer for your out-of-town elopement, you really want someone who’s organized and knowledgeable. In an ideal world, you want a photographer meets mini-wedding-planner—someone who will take care of all the logistics, so that you can float on the cloud of getting married. If you’re eloping to San Francisco, that magical unicorn exists, and she’s Emily, of Emily Takes Photos. Also? That magical unicorn is also one of APW’s first ever advertisers (crazy old school, right?), and now our advertising manager, which means she’s extra good stuff.
Emily has built her business working with APW couples, and she loves you guys more than anything. Or, almost anything, because recently Emily has decided that the only thing she loves as much as APW couples is San Francisco Elopements. She told me, “The thing I love about elopements is that they remind me of the efficient simplicity of the weddings from our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations. Plus, there’s something wildly romantic about wanting to be married as soon as possible and jetting off together to get hitched.”
Emily loves elopements so much, that she recently re-focused her entire business on City Hall weddings. She takes a few big weddings a year (and if you want Emily Takes Photos for a weekend wedding in 2014, book her now, because she only has a handful of days left). But mostly, Emily does San Francisco City Hall weddings. That means she knows city hall better than anyone around. She wrote our post last week on How To Get Married at San Francisco City Hall, which has literally everything you need to know (plus tons of Emily’s pretty pictures). She loves elopements so much that she’s even researching and writing a whole series for APW on the best tips and tricks for eloping at various city halls around the country.
Not only does Emily have three thoughtful elopement packages, from the 30 minute quickie to the three hour mini-wedding (or extended portrait session), she also has the best elopement-focused customer service out there. Emily takes care of her clients to a level that regularly shocks and impresses all of us that know her. Once you’re Emily’s client she’ll help you with logistics, oooh and ahhhh over your dress, and mail you little presents. She does everything she can think of to make you feel as special as possible (something that can be extra important when you’re eloping without all your loved ones around you). For out-of-state elopers, Emily has done everything imaginable to help make their day happen. I asked her for a short list of ways she’s helped her couples out, and here it is:
The unofficial list of things Emily has done to make her out-of-state couples’ days super awesome:
- Help them find beauty and floral vendors
- Made bouquets herself
- Found the officiant
- Found restaurants
- Explained any and all of city hall’s policies
- Figured out where to get the license (when things were booked up)
- Gave a mini-city tour during portraits
- Told jokes
- Known every secret spot in city hall for amazing photos
- Taken the best pictures ever
But don’t take my word for it. Emily’s couples will tell you why you should hire her tomorrow:
One of the unexpected surprises about eloping has been hearing everyone’s comments once they have seen the pictures. Our family and friends LOVE the photos. And, viewing the album helped them feel like a part of our day. My best friend commented that you captured me so well, which is my favorite compliment, and a testament to your skill and expertise. —Brook & Shawn
From start to finish, we were blown away by Emily’s generosity, passion, and hospitality. She replied to our emails within hours, scheduled phone calls to iron out the time/money details, and arrived early at City Hall just to photograph the venue. Also, on top of all that, she stayed over the allotted time, just to make sure we were photographed to our hearts’ content. On a more technical note, Emily’s knowledge of City Hall and photography is astounding. She knew every nook and cranny in City Hall that would make for a beautiful wedding (or any, really) portrait, politely scooted us from spot to spot to maximize the variation of our photos, and provided a very light-hearted and friendly sense of humor to help ease our pre-wedding nerves. More than that, Emily has a gifted eye. The two of us are overly self-critical, but there was not a single photo in her collection that we didn’t absolutely adore; there was a balanced blend of candids and staged images that really captured the emotions and overall atmosphere of the day. All in all, we couldn’t be happier and more grateful that Emily agreed to photograph our wedding. To anyone seeking a wedding/engagement/baby/party/just-because photographer, we recommend EmilyTakes Photos whole-heartedly! We promise—you’ll be amazed by her work and adorably bubbly personality. —Bonnie & Pauline
And finally, on a personal note: I think Emily takes some of the best portraits out there. She does it in a really non-posed non-stagey way, and they blow me out of the water. She’s also amazingly good at capturing tiny moments, and details that would otherwise slip by. Add this to the fact that Emily is one of the most organized and punctual people I know, and you have the perfect City Hall photographer. If you’re eloping to San Francisco, email Emily today. Not surprisingly, given how awesome she is, she’s sold out for 2013, and only has a handful of slots left for 2014. And if you’re getting married at San Francisco City Hall? You want one of those slots. Trust me, and hop on it.