San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer

About Ken

My name is Ken Mendoza and I am a photographer based in San Francisco, California and the founder of San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographers and Cofounder of Duendephoto (San Francisco Bay Area & Destination Weddings).

As long as I can remember, I've been inspired to create. Ever since I discovered my passion for photography it's been my obsession. As a client, you will feel the love for what I do and the enthusiasm for making each image perfect.

Photography is my lifestyle and my channel through which I capture and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me every day. The beauty in People. The Beauty of the Bay Area. And yes, the beauty of light.

There are three key elements that I use to make a truly memorable photos. One being the emotion. As a professional photographer I tap into the emotion by knowing my clients and listening and observing. By being an intimate, focused observer, I can capture the moment and reveal in an image the essence of the couple and their special day. Another being light. Light is magic. It's here one second and gone the next. Although I am an accomplished landscape photographer and love natural light, however, I almost never rely only on natural light when photographing weddings. Even for simple San Francisco City Hall weddings, ambience can be improved with a tasteful use of professional lighting. I'm always equipped with a full range of studio lighting gear to shape, control, color, bring your images to life.

I believe a great photograph isn't just taken, it's created. Even photographs taken with $6,000 cameras can just be snapshots. Professional lighting is what transforms an ordinary photo into one that is truly unforgettable. Controlling light is an art form and I take very seriously on even the smallest shoots. Further, I am student of optics. I am constantly trying new and different lens combinations to add dimensionality and a lovely out of focus look, to my photos. In a typical photoshoot, I will use modern Canon L lenses mixed with outstanding Nikon, Zeiss, or Leica lenses that give a look that is unique and distinctive.

Yes, your photo delivery may include photos taken with both the latest pro lenses and classic rare lenses from the 70s & 80s, all adapted to digital. In any case, I will use the best light and lens combination to articulate my vision. 

Lastly, there's my personal style. Whether it's composition or post-processing, it is something that takes years to develop and is something that I'm refining with every photo I take. I would characterize my style as dramatic yet intimate & painterly. I am not shy, in my reliance on concepts and strong influences from my artistic heroes: Richard Avedon & Annie Leibowitz (intimate portraiture), Ansel Adams (outdoor lighting & composition), Diego Velasquez (composition) & The Dutch School of painting (Indoor Lighting).

These are the thoughts that run through my mind every time I look through the viewfinder.

I am based in the San Francisco Bay Area and often travel to Wine Country, Vancouver, & Yosemite. In that last year, I photographed a wedding in India of a couple that had their American wedding at City Hall. I also photographed a full wedding on top of Half Dome, in Yosemite. Yes,  I'll go anywhere in the world to capture that special moment of yours. After all, it only happens once.