Choosing the right photographer for your wedding can be a bit challenging for a bride and groom, especially if the bride and groom have never worked with a professional photographer in the past. Here are three major factors that you'll want to consider before signing a contract with a photographer.
Many factors contribute to a photographers price; experience, business overhead, market supply and demand, and the photographers unique creative vision, to name a few. A photographer with high business overhead, in a market where the demand is high, can charge a high fee and get away with it even when their product is less than stellar. In this case a high price does not always equal quality photography. A photographer just starting out, with little business overhead to cover, may be able to provide their services at a significantly lower price, they may even be a truly gifted artist that produces extraordinary photography, however their lack of experience may or may not yield the results you desire.
The old adage "you get what you pay for" does not always work out as simply as that. My advice is not to let the price determine what photographers you choose to interview, rather find a photographer based upon the images they consistently produce and how well you get along with the photographer during your interview. You can always discuss and / or negotiate price later. Remember that after the party is over, all you'll have left to remember your special day will be your memories and the photos and video created that day.
Professional photographers typically have a style that they are known for or that helps set them apart from their competition. Some professional photographers are able to mimic different styles based upon a clients needs. Many styles of photography exist however the most important thing for you is "how do you like the photographers images". Are the images in his or her portfolio pleasing to your eye? Can you picture yourself in some of those pictures? I've seen some weddings with a large team of photographers, each with their own assistants, running around all day and night with bight lights on poles surrounding the bride and groom, constantly snapping pictures in their faces. If you like that poparazzi effect, then that might be just what you are looking for. Some photographers are more laid back and take a less obtrusive approach, whereas some others fit somewhere in between. It is important to understand how your photographer works ahead of time, there is nothing worse than only discovering on the day of your wedding that the photographer you choose was not what you had in mind. Make sure you can speak directly with the photographer that will be shooting your wedding, better yet see if they will meet you in person, either at their studio or at your house. If you choose to hire an entertainment company that also provides photography and or video services, or a large photography studio that hires many photographers throughout the year, ask if you can see the portfolio of the specific photographer assigned to shoot your wedding. A generalized company portfolio will never be able to represent what an individual photographer's capabilities are, those are designed to only show off the best of their best, which may or may not still be working for them. No photographer shoots the same as another, from the compositions they choose, to the nuances in the emotions captured moment to moment, each photographer will capture it in their own way. Make sure you are happy with the way your photographer works and his or her body of work.
Compatibility between you and your photographer is a huge factor in how successful your wedding photography will be. Some people "click" right away while others it takes some time, while still others never seem to see eye to eye. It is very important that you feel comfortable with your photographer otherwise your photographs can feel stilted and you may not be representing your best side. Great photographers take time to listen to their clients, empathize with them and understand their needs. Many people don't always feel comfortable having their pictures taken, you need a photographer that can make you feel at ease, someone you feel comfortable joking with, someone you can trust. The best way to ensure this compatibility is with face to face interaction. Whether it is at a bridal show, the photographers studio, or your home, these face to face meetings are essential in discovering your compatibility with one another. Some photographers offer engagement photography sessions which only last an hour or two and are a great way to test out your compatibility. With an engagement photography session, not only will you have great photographs to share in your wedding invitations, you'll form a working relationship with your photographer so that when the big day comes there are no surprises.
I hope this information helps you while shopping for a photographer and ultimately help to ensure a successful wedding day with pictures you will cherish forever.