Tips for Finding a Wedding Photographer
Photography is one of the most important expenditures of your wedding day, in that it will be the one thing you will receive and cherish for years to come. Budgeting is always important, but if photo memories are important to you, don't put photography budget and decisions at the end of your wedding planning.
Interview many photographers over the phone or email, then meet with at least 2 or 3 photographers in person to learn about your options.
Don't feel pressured into signing a contract or making a decision. You shouldn't be pushed into a quick contract by a salesperson. I often refer brides to other photographers when I am already booked for their date.
Don't worry so much about what style label the photographer has chosen (traditional, photojournalistic, contemporary, artistic, freestyle, etc.) Many photographers today shoot various styles. If you like their portfolio, then it shouldn't matter what the style name is.
Make sure that the photographer that you are meeting with is the one that will actually photograph your wedding (bigger companies have many photographers on staff.) Weddings are so personal, you want to know the person who will attend!
Make sure that all of the portfolio images that you are viewing were taken by the photographer that you are considering. Especially with bigger companies; they often mix portfolios. You may be being impressed by the work of someone that won't even be at your wedding.
View at least two full weddings from beginning to end. Did it seem to tell a full story to you? Were you impressed with the images from start to finish? Make sure that you see various weddings throughout the photographer's portfolio--this will show that they are talented and have ability to do a great job all the time, not just for some weddings.
Your photographer candidate should have samples of images shot in various lighting conditions, with and without flash. A wedding has forever changing and variable, sometimes difficult lighting. Can this photographer handle that with ease? Are some images too bright or too dark to where details in cake, flowers, dresses are lost?
Often, photographers are flexible with packages. Just ask, and they may be able to work with you to find exactly what will be best for your day and needs.
Don't be afraid of digital photography! If it is done with quality equipment, knowledge of the equipment, and computer skills/talent, it can be as good if not better than film photography.
Most important thing about choosing a photographer is finding one that you actually like as a person! Photographers are usually at your wedding from way before ceremony and through most of the reception-- you should spend that day with someone that you feel comfortable with and that you feel friendly with! The best photographs come when you are so comfortable that you forget the photographer is photographing away. They should get teary eyed with you, laugh with you, and feel the day, so that the photographs have the same feelings in them.
On a personal note, when I go to a wedding with my camera bag on my back, I am going to work. I have a job to do and I will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Most wedding days are long and tiring, running around with my camera for 6 hours, but I always enter the Church with a smile and leave after a full day with great pictures and lots of good stories.