When you are looking for wedding professionals, one of the first things you will want to do is look for referrals from brides that have already navigated the path to the aisle. They can tell you the positives and negatives of their big day. Hopefully, they can refer folks to you that they had a great time working with. Also, ask the wedding directors and coordinators at the aces you are booking. Do keep in mind however that they may push a preferred vendor your way because there is an added benefit in doing so to them such as a finder’s fee. However, most of the time, the referrals are very sincere and honest.
The next thing you want to consider once you have a few referrals is the homework process. I call this homework because this is the point where you begin looking at online portfolios and web galleries to find a style of photography that you like. You can also begin reading biographies of the photographers, reading their blogs and getting a good idea of their style and thought process.
Next and probably the most important is personality. The person that you basically entrust to one of the most important days of your life has to be someone you are comfortable with. If you’re tense and nervous with them it will show in your images. You will look stiff and uncomfortable.
Another important consideration is a storefront location. Be wary of photographers that ask to meet you at a coffee shop. An established professional will have an office that you can go to and see sample albums, portraits hanging on the wall and a variety of products. They take their craft seriously and have made an enormous investment in their craft and imagery. A storefront tells you they are professionals and they are there to stay. You also know where to find them when you need something.
A photographer that meets you at a coffee shop is either new in the business, and probably a part-time photographer or someone that is trying to run a business from their basement and would rather you not know that. Do you want to write a check and hand it to someone when all you have is their cell phone number?
Lastly, the factor no one likes to consider is the budget. Is the photographer that you want in your budget? If not, can your budget be adjusted in another area? Maybe you need to prioritize the wedding list and find out what things are closest to your heart and direct the money accordingly. Talk with the photographer that you would like and if they are not in the budget ask them if they can offer an off-season rate. I once had a bride that scheduled her wedding on a Monday in July to get an off-season rate with our studio. Since she and her husband-to-be were school teachers and so were most of their friends, a Monday in July was perfect.