Be an Educated Shopper; receive a recommendation from someone you trust. The more recommendations the better you will feel. Next, in your telephone conversation find out the availability of the photographer and a rough estimate of the price of the event.
You should make arrangements to meet the photographer and see some of his/her work from different events and examine his or her style. If at all, possible the bride and groom should be at the consultation along with any principal parties.
When you meet the photographer make an assessment if you feel comfortable with this person, do you really want to spend a good portion of your wedding with this person. Ask to see some photographs and while you are examining the pictures ask if he or she, is the one who actually took the pictures.
Ask, do you have any goals for approaching each wedding? How long do you expect to be with us on the day of the wedding? When is there an extra charge if the wedding runs a little overtime.
Ask who will be in the photographs, and where and when would the pictures be taken? At this point you may interject your ideals and see if the photographer is willing to work with you.
Ask the photographer how did you get qualified to take professional wedding pictures? What is your education, background and/or experience?
Ask what is the selection proses of the final portraits? What is the cost of various styles? How much are duplicates? Does he/she sell the negatives or disk, and if so how much are they? What kind of time frame are you looking at for preparing the pictures for selection? How much time do I have to make up my mind as to which pictures I want?
The Final Conversation Topics that/should help you make your decision; Do you have any particular philosophy about your approach to photographing weddings? What are you planning to do at my wedding that would make my wedding photographs unique and personal to me?
Can I tell you who I want in my pictures?
Whom will I be dealing with after the wedding?
The final question is what is your payment policy?
His/Her time is money, the same as yours. Realize that in the long run someone has to pay for the hours each photographer spends as a consultant. Keep his (and your) expenses to a minimum by going to the meeting with the photographer prepared to leave a deposit to confirm the date.
Find out the photographer's policy if the date of your wedding is changed and he/she's not available on the alternate date. Everyone knows that the pictures are the only thing you have after the moment has passed, some people still feel they have to put the money "where it shows."
Later, in the privacy of their own hearts, many of these people are often disappointed with photographic memories that give them nothing but heartache, and there's no remedy! Lets face it! You're going to remember the wedding day through the eye's, heart, and talent of your photographer.
When making the decision as to whom that photographer is going to be, realize that often times you're talking a relative difference of pennies! On the other hand, if you're unhappy, regardless of the "good deal" you're getting, you could lose everything! The bottom line, as you know, is not necessarily how much you end up spending on photographs.
Instead, it's how much pleasure you get from them over the years. Wouldn't you agree, that at a time as important as your wedding day, it's better to invest a little more money for photography than you had planned . . . instead of a little less than you should?
Why risk your memories of a once-in-a-lifetime event on a gamble? Besides, if you should spend $2000. For your wedding pictures, that's only an investment of ten cents a day if you make it to your 50th Anniversary! Only twenty-seven cents a day on an investment of $5000! If the photographer IS for you, if the photographer IS available, and if you're convinced that it's worth the price . . . then make the commitment and rest assured that this is undoubtedly one of the best and most intelligent decisions you've made in planning your wedding!
Thank you, Mechelle