When you decide to look for a wedding photographer, do you want someone “portfolio building” your big day? Do you want someone who’s never photographed a wedding to make you their “first”? Simply to save some money?
Find someone with experience. I’ve been shooting weddings for over 10 years across this country and in other countries. It’s a lot of work and you need to know how to use a camera before you get out there. You want someone with gear. I can’t tell you how many times a camera or card has failed and if you don’t have backup, you’re day is gone un-captured.
Ask what is included in your package (make sure your contract states it as well) and how long it takes to get your images. Will they be edited? My personal turnaround rule is 2-3 weeks when I’m slammed but I really try to get them to my client within 1-2 weeks. If you are fighting with a photographer over your images (I’ve heard stories from people saying it’s taken over 6 months and some still haven’t gotten delivery), you will have some resentment towards the images when you see them. I shoot families, babies, etc., so for me, I want to be your family photographer and keeping you happy is first and foremost on my list, not just collecting money.
Sadly, there are photographers out there who will steal (“borrow”) images from other photographers to represent as their own work when they weren’t even near the wedding. Look at the prospective photographers images (is the style fairly consistent?) and get referrals (people they’ve shot weddings of). Ask the person referred if they posted any of the images so you can see them. Ask what the turnaround time was.
Lastly – you want someone FUN. Our energy is what comes out in the photos. If you have a boring photographer, your images will be boring.
Whenever possible, do the ‘Engagement Session’ with the photographer. This gives you ample opportunity to see if you’re a fit. If you don’t mesh at the engagement shoot, you won’t mesh during your wedding. It’s better to find out before your wedding if you like them or not.
Your photos are likely the one thing you’ll be referring to about the happiest day of your life. You’re investing in something you’ll look at for many many years to come. You won’t get your wedding day back, so make sure you pick the best person for the job, not the cheapest.