The importance of a fabulous photographer at a wedding is almost as important as making sure you are marrying your soul mate :) Check out what Donald Norris had to say about picking a wedding photographer and how to make sure you are relaxed on your wedding day!
Donald Norris on how to select a wedding photographer:
Step One: Ask around. If someone RAVES ENDLESSLY about their experience with their photographer, then put them on your list. If they thought they were just "good" or worse.. Keep looking.
Step Two: Find a photographer that really inspires you. You should see something that is truly beyond what you expect possible.
Step Three: Look for the emotion in the photos, if the photos have emotion as well as technical skills, it usually means the subjects are truly having fun and engaged in the experience. Seeing real emotion in a photo is just as important, if not more so, to framing and technical skill.
Step Four: After you see a few images that really wow you, the next step is to get a seance of their overall true skill. Anyone can get one really good image, but consistency is Everything. Ask to see full weddings. For 8 hours of coverage you should expect to see 800 to 1300 edited and corrected images. One photographer might be good at natural light, but really struggle with flash or might be really good at setup shots, but lack the energy when it comes to the reception. Since you never know what to expect, a really good photographer should be able to handle every situation flawlessly and have really balanced coverage in all areas of the event. At this point you should start going to see the photographers in person, look over their wedding albums and continue onto step five.
Step Five: The personality of the photographer should be a very big part of your decision. You want someone who you fell can help manage the crowd wrangling yet polite enough to not offend your family in the process.(Aka "Politely Agressive") A photographer you feel could be everywhere, yet at the same time, not so present that they impact the day in a negative manner. Look for a photographer that truly LOVES what they do and understands the importance of you enjoying your day. Also.. since they will be there the entire time on one of your most important days of your lives you have to "Click" with them. Figure out who's energy will add to your day. If you like a photographers work, but really can't see yourself choosing them as a friend if given different circumstances.... Pass. (but.. never choose a friend to photograph your wedding because it very well could destroy your friendship)
Step Six: Price. Its a hard reality that everyone has a budget to stick to, but be realistic. The wedding album is the only heirloom still passed down generation to generation. Spend $$ to get the photographer you really want. I can't even begin to tell you how many couples that have contacted me after not using us for their wedding with HUGE regret. The industry average for a really talented professional wedding photographer is $3500 to $6500+. If you can't afford it, consider asking about payment options or get married on a date other than Fri, Sat or Sunday. Keep in mind, the day will be a whirlwind and you wont remember as much as you'd like. So keep "price" as far away from your decision process as possible.
Tips to making sure you are relaxed on your wedding day:
First of all.. I highly recommend an engagement session. You'll really have a chance to get comfortable. You'll be used to the photographers shooting style and skill so you'll know what to do. Heaven forbid if the engagement photos don't wow you or you felt really uncomfortable, you can still find another vendor before the wedding. Keep in mind a really good "Wedding" photographer doesn't shoot models, we shoot everyday people and it's our job to help you feel comfortable. Think of it like a doctor's bedside manor. Everyone is different, so choose a photographer that you feel has a bedside manner that works for you and you fell can do the best possible job on the planet.