Having gone through the stress of planning a wedding, I thought I’d give some advice to other brides. The glory of this is that if you like the advice, use it. If not, then just ignore it :). This time around I’ll focus on finding and researching wedding photographers. I will try to be unbiased here as well (no guarantees though ;).
First you should decide how important photography is to you. For some people, they couldn’t care less. For others, it’s as important (or more than so) than anything else. If you don’t really care, by all means, leave it in the hands of a friend or Uncle Bob and save yourself some money. I must issue a warning with this though: friends/family photographers aren’t always well equipped to handle your big day (card failure, camera failure, not sure what to do in certain situations, etc). But like I said, if photography is not high on your list, then that might be the thing for you. Plus there are definitely exceptions, sometimes the friend or family member is amazing. In that case, more power to ya I say.
For those who have photography up there next to the dress, cake, and reception… what you need to do is look through various photographers’ work and decide what style you like. Do you like formal smiling shots or photojournalistic (by photojournalistic I mean candid, not posing for the camera at all), or a bit of both? I would also suggest setting up a meeting with the photographer, or at least calling them if you can. You may like the style but may not gel with the photographer as a person, so meeting with them or calling them is a way to sort of interview them. You may think that it won’t matter, but something I’ve noticed is that when couples are feeling awkward, unsure, or even unhappy, it shows in the photos. If a couple hasn’t met with me, but want an engagement shoot, they usually are a bit rigid at the beginning, but I talk to them, and as they relax, the photos become more real, more fun, and more beautiful.
Another thing, don’t be afraid to talk to your photographer. We really do want your photos to be awesome. If you have an idea, or want to shoot somewhere special, or have a certain thing or idea in mind, let us know. We may not always be able to recreate another image you’ve seen somewhere else (that’s just not always possible), but we may be able to give you something even better too.
One other thing to keep in mind is contracts. Contracts should be had to protect both you and the photographer.