1) Make sure he/she is a full time professional wedding photographer. This may seem obvious, but many people choose photographers who photograph houses and bowls of fruit during the week – or are even plumbers or bricklayers! It takes a special set of skills to photograph weddings. Not just the ability to use a camera but also the ability to ‘get on’ with large groups of people who are strangers and be able to organise them without intruding. Would you want the pilot of a aeroplane you were flying in to be a plumber during the week and only fly planes at the weekend? No. If the job is important then you should should always choose a full time professional.
2) Book early. Most top professionals are popular and get booked up 18 months – 2 years in advance. If you are getting married on a popular date (Saturdays during the summer or a bank-holiday Monday) then you are unlikely to get the photographer you want for a last minute wedding.
3) Don’t trust a photographers website. A great website can be written for just a few hundred pounds and can show off just a few dozen great pictures. But is this a fair representation of what you will get? Always ask to see ALL the pictures from a recent wedding (preferrably taken at the wedding you will be using) and ask to contact 3 clients of the photographer from the past couple of months to make sure that the photographers quality is consistent.
4) Dont be misled into believing that letters after a photographers name means they are good. There are no formal qualifications to become a wedding photographer. Letters (such as SWPP, BPPA, MRPS etc) can all be purchased for just £100 without a photographer ever having to prove competence. The same goes for ‘award winning’ photographers. It is best to judge for yourself by looking at actual pictures taken from recent weddings.
5) Make sure a backup photographer is available. What happens if your photographer is ill on the day of your wedding? Will he/she just not turn up? ‘One man band’ wedding photographers pose a risk that they might not be able to attend your wedding, so it is always best to use a company that has a back-up strategy to cover this (and ideally a company that has several photographers who can cover in case of illness)