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A Guide to Photography at Pasadena City Hall


Roof of Pasadena City Hall with Meg Hudson Photography logo
Pasadena City Hall Photography by Meg Hudson

Where is Pasadena City Hall?


Pasadena City Hall

100 Garfield Ave

Pasadena, CA 91101


Can you take photos at Pasadena City Hall?


For most personal photos, the short answer is yes!

However, for professional photographers using the grounds for engagement or wedding photography you may require a permit, and commercial photography or videography definitely requires a permit.


As a local photographer in Pasadena, I am often asked "Can you take pictures at Pasadena City Hall?"

This question can be a grey area as different professional photographers have had different experiences, so I researched and put together some useful information on everything you might need to know about photography permits, parking, lighting tips, and weddings at Pasadena City Hall.


If you have any other questions, just drop me a message!



Why is Pasadena City Hall such a popular place for photos?


Pasadena City Hall is a historic city hall of Pasadena, California.

Completed in 1927, it features both Mediterranean and Spanish style architecture.


The beautiful architecture, archways, large courtyard, stone-carved water fountain and multiple stairways make excellent photo backdrops for your wedding or portrait session. The light walls bring a gorgeous, bright aesthetic to your photos, making it popular with many local photographers.



Do I need a permit to take photos at Pasadena City Hall?

Pasadena City Hall grounds are open to the public and you do not need a photography permit to take personal photos on your cell phones or personal cameras. However, the rules may be a little different for you if you are having a professional photography session.


As of 2023, you do not need a permit during weekends for non-commercial photography purposes.

From Monday to Friday a photography permit is recommended for professional photographs inside Pasadena City Hall, for access to some of the best photo locations including the water fountain, the stairwells, and beautiful archways.



The reason for this is that Pasadena City Hall is a government building with staff onsite during the week, so weekday photography sessions are discouraged without a permit.

If you are taking professional photos during Monday to Friday you may be stopped by a groundskeeper (just a heads up!). Photography is always allowed from the outside and in front of City Hall.


A permit for wedding photos or portrait sessions will cost around $60 for full grounds access, and I would strongly recommend this if you want a quieter midweek photoshoot, as the weekends tend to get quite busy due to the relaxed permit rules.


Please keep in mind, these rules are subject to change at any time and this applies to non-commercial photography only. Permits are required for commercial photography and videography at Pasadena City Hall. For the latest permit information, I always recommend reaching out to City Hall.

Meg Hudson Photography is a local Pasadena photographer and also happy to help you with this.


Can you get married at Pasadena City Hall?


If you are looking to have your wedding at Pasadena City Hall, a reservation is needed to have a ceremony on the property. A reservation can be made through Pasadena City Hall. This reservation fee is currently $700.


PLEASE NOTE: Pasadena City hall doesn't require the $700 fee if you'd just like to take wedding photos here. This is the fee for a wedding ceremony.



When is the best day to take photos at Pasadena City Hall?


It depends!

A permit is not required to take photos at Pasadena City Hall on the weekend.

However, this means Saturdays and Sundays at City Hall can be busy, sometimes with several wedding parties, quinceañera celebrations or engagement sessions using the location for photos.

But, you might just get lucky and find a quiet time! From experience, I have always found other professional photographers are respectful of sharing the space, giving everyone a chance to get their photos.

Mid-week photos tend to be much quieter at Pasadena City Hall - but a permit for full access of the grounds is recommended.



When is the best time of day to take photos at Pasadena City Hall?



For Great Lighting...

In my opinion, the best time to take photos at Pasadena City Hall has got to be the hour before sunset a.k.a golden hour!


Keep in mind that Pasadena City Hall is surrounded by buildings, so a lot of the light is blocked and can become shaded a little earlier. Make sure you allow enough time for your portraits!


For Less People...

There will be much fewer people and a beautiful morning light earlier in the day. For best results, I recommend taking photos before 9:30am at Pasadena City Hall.

After 10am the sun will be brighter across the grounds. By the middle of the day you can get much harsher shadows in some areas, and the sunshine can cause squinting when facing certain directions, giving you fewer options for the best photo spots.




Where can I park at Pasadena City Hall?


City Hall is easy to access from both sides of the building and there is plenty of street parking available. There are parking meters available or you can pay on the Passport Parking app using Zone 6273.

As of 2023, there is an hourly parking fee of $1.25/hr, for up to 2 hours.




How much is a photo session at Pasadena City Hall?


You can find a variety of photographers in different price ranges depending on your budget for your photography session at Pasadena City Hall.

I'm Meg, a local photographer in Pasadena, who offers an hourly or mini photo session. It is also possible to combine this location for a photoshoot into a wedding day package. You can find more details about the photo packages available on my Services Page.


For availability and more packages prices, you can shoot me a message below.



wedding couple holding hands withe Meg Hudson Photography logo
Meg Hudson Photography is a Professional Pasadena Wedding Photographer


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