Good wedding photographers often book up a year in advance, so depending on the length of your engagement, you may want to start looking for references immediately upon saying “yes” and getting that ring on your finger. Once you’ve nailed down the day of your wedding, start searching in earnest for a wedding photographer.
Look at Albums With a Discerning Eye
Before your engagement, you might have casually flipped through your friends’ wedding albums. Now, though, ask your married friends if you can have another look, and this time, focus on the details: Make sure that lines are crisp and clear, that any posed shots are well-centered and feature everyone looking at the photographer at the same time, and that the photos aren’t too dark or washed out. If you find someone with an awesome wedding album, get the photographer’s contact info; conversely, if you see an photo collection with problems, get the professional’s name and cross them off of your list when you get home.
Ask About Personal Experiences
We’ve all heard of doctors who are excellent at practicing medicine, but terrible when it comes to bedside manner; the same goes for some professional photographers. The difference is that when it comes to your wedding, you can’t risk having a surly sourpuss ruining your day. Any photographer worth his or her salt is going to know how to make the bride and groom look their best, stay out of the way of the guests, and avoid being too disruptive during the major moments (while still managing to get great shots). Find out if anyone you’re considering is known for being exceptionally easy to work with or a big jerk.
Sit Down With Your Photographer
You’re not having a cookie-cutter wedding (or a cookie-cutter marriage), so there’s no reason that your wedding album should look the same as that of the photographer’s other clients. Talk about integrating candid shots, black and white or sepia photos, photos catching less-than-traditional poses or moments, and purposely grainy shots if you would like those types of special effects.
Don’t Be Afraid to Splurge
Remember, this are the only professional wedding pictures you’re going to have, and this is one of the most important days of your life. If you need to spend a little extra to make sure that your photos are exceptional, then cut back somewhere else, if necessary! While you don’t want to get ripped off, don’t shop for a budget photographer if possible.