Baker Beach Engagement Session: Jenny & Santos

Baker Beach is a favorite of Jim Vetter Photography with its iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and gorgeous coastline.  Lots of couples really want this location for their engagement session because it gives a strong sense of location (San Francisco) and its a very romantic spot.

Jenny and Santos were very sweet and we had a fantastic time capturing these images.

Thank you Jenny & Santos for making it easy to create these lovely images!

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Bridal “Sweet” at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, California

As a San Francisco Wedding Photographer, there are so many great locations to do engagements and weddings.  We have the most beautiful city in the world, wine country, the coast and so much more.  And speaking of so much more, I’ve recently discovered a real gem in Berkeley – The Hotel Shattuck Plaza.

Please enjoy this brief animated slideshow from the day.

We were treated so well by the Shattuck staff.  I highly recommend checking them out!

The presidential suite at the Shattuck is so awesome!  It has a large bedroom with french doors opening to a private balcony with incredible views and a large bathroom with lots of natural light.

The suite also has a very large living space plus a huge dining/meeting table.  A great place for the bridesmaids to hang out on the wedding day.  This side of the suite has its own entrance which is quite grande.  I loved it so much that I shot a series of images there that make use of the clasic styling of the tile and pillars.

The gowns featured in this shoot were designed by Amy-Jo Tatum Bridal Couture in San Anselmo, California.  Her gorgeous, timeless designs are a perfect match for the Shattuck interiors.

The ballroom of the Shattuck is so cool with its arched, mirrored walls.  This give a lot of dimension to the space and makes the most of the modern lighting accents provided by DJ Jason Mitchell.  This room was also a fantastic canvas for Tamiko at All Thing Simple who created the lovely sweetheart table and king’s table.

I was fortunate enough to have StyleByLana do the hair for this project.  She is as good as they come and has never let me down.  My makeup artist was Tracy Shelor from Los Gatos.  Her work speaks for itself – impeccable.

I’d like to thank my entire team for making this experience and these lovely images possible.  I look forward to creating more art with you again soon.

If you’re a bride and you’d like to have images like these from your wedding day, please reach out to Jim Vetter Photography today.  We’d love to hear from you!

For proper credit, here are the vendors who contributed to the project:

Photography: Jim Vetter Photography,, Fairfax, California

Videography: AVR Films,, San Jose, California

Photographer’s Assistant & 2nd Shooter: Brian MacStay

Venue: Hotel Shattuck Plaza,, Berkeley, California

Bridal Gowns and Accessories: Amy-Jo Tatum Bridal Couture,, San Anselmo, California

Hair Stylist: Lana Orca,, San Francisco, California

Makeup, Skin, Airbrush Artist: Tracy Shelor,, Los Gatos, California

Ballroom Lighting: DJ Jason Mitchell,, San Jose, California

Ballroom Design: All Things Simple,, Hercules California

Floral: Lidia at Grand Flowers,, Oakland, California

Ballroom Rentals: Hartmann Studios Rentals,, Richmond, California

Bride: Rosanna Salois, San Francisco, California

Groom: Greg Vogel, Walnut Creek, California

Jim Vetter Photography at A Soolip Wedding, San Francisco

Jim Vetter Photography Bay Area Weddings (that’s me!) is so excited to be exhibiting at the posh A Soolip Wedding event!

On Sunday, February 26th from 11am-3pm at San Francisco’s Bently Reserve, there will be an incredible wedding planning event.  I’ll be exhibiting along side a collection of California’s most respected bridal resources. including Bloomingdale’s and Williams-Sonoma as well as many wonderful local boutique businesses.

Come and enjoy the fashion show, food tastings, cake & champagne as well as panel discussions with the Experts.  Also, be sure to stay till the end for the luxury raffle and gift bag!

Please get your tickets today at or call 310-360-1055.

See you there!

Video highlights from 2011


Golden Gate Park Engagement

Golden Gate Park is such a great place for Engagement Sessions. As a Bay Area Wedding Photographer, I love to take couples to the Conservatory of Flowers and photograph all around that area.

There is a great little tunnel under JFK Drive right off of the big flower bed in front of the conservatory.  Gorgeous light falls into the tunnel and makes for dramatic, romantic photographs.

Also, just next to the gardens is a little grove of young trees that also make a great photo setting.

Here is a slideshow of Jennifer and Mark’s engagement session.   Thank you two so much for braving the San Francisco elements to make it happen!


2012 Bridal Show Season for Jim Vetter Photography

The 2012 bridal show season is about to kick off and I’ll be exhibiting at three shows over the next two months.  If you’re planning a wedding or if you’re just into this sort of thing, please come out and see me!

Here are the shows on my calendar:

Sunday, January 8, 11 am – 3:30 pm
The Bridal Extravaganza
Marriott Hotel, Santa Clara
2700 Mission College Blvd.


Sunday, January 22nd, 11 am – 4:00 pm
San Francisco Wedding Fair
The Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco
757 Market Street


Sunday, February 26th, 11 am – 3:00 pm
A Soolip Wedding
The Bently Reserve, San Francisco
301 Battery Street

Hope to see you there!

I Slept Alone in an Alcatraz Prison Cell Last Night

Last night was certainly a night to remember.  At 1:45pm, I joined a small group of friends at Pier 33 to embark on an overnight adventure on Alcatraz Island.  I had never been on the island before and had no real idea what to expect.  What I did know was that I’d be sleeping in cell block D – the isolation block on the outside wall of the out of service prison in the middle of the freezing cold San Francisco Bay.

We arrived to a sunny Alcatraz with a few tourists here and there.  The public is welcomed by Rangers from the National Park Service which now manages the island.  Our host and guide was Ranger George Durgerian – a passionate storyteller and lover of history.  He was fantastic.

After Ranger George put us to work clearing brush for an hour he took us to our cells where we go to select a tiny jail cell in the infamous D Block where Al Capone was held at Alcatraz.  I found it a little creepy until later that night at bed time – then I found it a LOT creepy.  More about that later.

Ranger George and Volunteer Jack took us all around the island and the prison, sharing stories of the checkered past of Alcatraz and its willing, as well as no-so-willing, inhabitants.  The image above left is the stairway down to the underground isolation chambers where prisoners were held during WW1 in complete sensory deprivation for extended periods of time.  They turned off the lights while we were down there and we all learned the real meaning of DARK.

As you can see from the images, there are some spectacular things to photograph on Alcatraz.  The dilapidated and crumbling buildings, the creepy cell blocks and the beautiful wildlife and amazing city views are all candy for this kid with a camera.

The weather couldn’t have been better for us.  It was clear, cool and calm with a FULL MOON as well!  The lighthouse in front of the Administration Building looked so cool against the moonlit sky over San Francisco.

Part of our tour was up in the old prison hospital which still has some of the gear used while the prison was still in operation.  There were no lights up there so we found our way with flashlights through the dank corridors of the upper level of the old building.

The views of San Francisco from Alcatraz are so great and last night afforded us the most spectacular scenes.  In the image below, it looks like the city is burning.

I finally crawled into cell #31 around 1:30am exhausted from a very exciting day.  However, sleep wouldn’t come for some time.  I laid down on the old cot and looked out through the bars and began to imagine what it may have been like for the inmates locked away in those tiny rooms day after day and night after night.  I tried to imagine the sounds that would have echoed through that cell block and then I realized I actually could hear it.  At first it was a low rumble and then it became this cacophony of snores booming through the building.  Our group included 32 men and one woman and the roar of the snore was deafening.  Why hadn’t I brought ear plugs??

So anyway, after a creepy night of very little sleep I got up 30 minutes before dawn and grabbed my camera and went outside to greed the rising sun as I began to light the city.

As the sun creeped up on the horizon, this is what I saw from the top of Alcatraz Island.  There was no wind whatsoever.  The flag in front of the building wasn’t moving at all.  The bay looked like glass.

As the sun peaked over the clouds on the horizon, the city began to sparkle and the air began to warm.  What an amazing sunrise this morning.

I walked around the back of the island and climbed a long crumbling staircase up to the back entrance to the old recreation field behind the prison.  This is where well behaved prisoners were treated to fresh air and exercise.  I learned that the game of bridge (played with dominoes instead of cards at Alcatraz) was very popular and many convicts played it for hours out in this cold rec field.  You can see it below right.

Just before we packed up to head back to the mainland, we all gathered for a group photo on the steps in front of the building ahead.  Here we are after our night in D Block.

Many thanks to Dave and Dick who make this trip happen and thanks to all of my cell mates who make this adventure that much more awesome!

Rack ’em!

Here is a link to a great book about the history of Alcatraz at Amazon. Thanks for visiting!

Beautiful Baby Gabriel

I really enjoy photographing everything from babies to weddings.  I love to be the family photographer my clients think of when they want photographs of maternity, baby, birthdays, graduations, engagements, weddings and more babies.

One of my clients recently brought a beautiful little boy into the world and asked me to create their newborn photographs.  I was honored to oblige, of course!

I asked Gabriel’s new mommy to get the house warmed up and to get Gabriel’s tummy full so that he’d be nice and sleepy.  He was about 21 days old in these photographs which is about 10 days past when he was sleeping 20 hours per day.  So, it took a little while to get all of these images but it was a wonderful experience all the same.

As you may have gathered, newborn babies are most easily photographed while they are in a deep sleep.  This allows the photographer to ease them into cute little poses that show off their tiny faces, hands and feet.  As you can see below, little Gabe chose a lot of his own poses and did a wonderful job.

Since Gabriel didn’t really want to sleep, I was able to photograph his big baby blues.  What a doll!

Then, as if on queue, Gabriel decided to totally zonk out just as I packed up my gear and this is how I left him at the end of his first photo shoot.

Thank you to Gabriel’s mommy and daddy for trusting Jim Vetter Photography to create their first family heirloom!

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Alie and Dave’s Napa Engagement

I was recently fortunate enough to spend the day in the Napa Valley photographing a very fun couple.  Alie and Dave are getting married next June and wanted to do their engagement session in a special place that they both really love.  Napa was their easy choice.

They are so cute together and are an amazing match.  You can tell by the images how connected they are.

Here is a short video slide show of some of my favorite images from the day.

We had a great day in Napa – the weather was perfect and as you can see, the leaves are turning and the colors were spectacular.  It made for such a beautiful setting.

I went up to Napa early that day and found the location on a country road.  There was this old vacant farm house next to a vineyard and I just had to use it.  Alie and Dave were up for anything and we had a great time.

We had the added bonus of an amazing moon rising just as the sun was setting.  Check that out!  What a day!

Congratulations, Alie and Dave!!

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5 Great Reasons to do an Engagement Photo Session

If you’ve recently gotten engaged and you have not yet planned an engagement photo session, then you should consider this…

  1. Your engagement photos are all about you and your fiance.  They are not about the flowers or the dress or the cake or any of the other things that wedding photography needs to capture.  Engagement photos are meant to feature your relationship with each other in a relaxed environment.  (and they are fun!)
  2. You can use the engagement photos for your Save-the-Date cards.  Your guests will love the card and will probably pin it up or hang it on the fridge.  Who doesn’t want to be on their friends’ fridge??
  3. Engagement photos are a fantastic way to fill your wedding guest sign-in book.  Every guest will sign it because they will just have to look at all of the photos!
  4. You will soon be married and your engagement days will live in your memories.  Your engagement photos will be a wonderful reminder of your courtship and the sweetness between you and your fiance.
  5. Engagement photos are the perfect way to get to know your wedding photographer so you’re more comfortable with them on your wedding day.  The better you know your photographer, the better your wedding photos will be!

The Knot did a little video piece on Engagement Photography that you might find interesting as well.  It has lots of ideas for how and where you might do the session and how to use the photos.

I consider the Engagement Session to be so important that I include it in all of my wedding photography packages.  Please visit Jim Vetter Photography to see my portfolio!

I hope to be shooting your engagement session soon 😀