As a couple planning your wedding, a key decision you need to make is selecting the photographer that will ensure you get the photographs that you want from your wedding day. Aside from making sure the photographer is available on the date of the wedding and their fees are in your price range, you need to consider multiple factors.
You have most likely chosen a theme for your wedding and have a preferred style or look your are working to achieve, so you most likely have a particular style in mind for your photographs. Casual, formal, photojournalistic, documentary? Do you like formal poses or candid photos? Black and white? Photographers tend to have a style that will be apparent from their portfolio. Make sure their style matches what you want. If it doesn’t, you are very likely to be unhappy with the final results you get.
Do you have an idea how many photographs you expect from the day and how they’ll be delivered? If you’re expecting a beautiful album and that photographer only posts to social media, you’re going to be very upset. Make sure your expectation matches what the photographer plans to deliver.
Once you have confirmed the photographer’s style is a good match, you need consider what photographs are “must get” for you, and maybe a second list of “should have” ones. Most photographers will have a photo list, but you should discuss and modify it to meet your wishes. Having settled the list you need to determine where specifically the various groups of photographs will be taken, such as the ‘getting ready’, ‘cut the cake’ and ‘dance with Daddy’ photos, and the remaining sets of photographs planned for the day.
If you want formal photos, where do you to take them? Do you have a favorite place? Is it close to or at the wedding venue? Are there specific moments you absolutely want to make sure are captured? Do you want to go to a different place for the couple, bridal party and family/group photos? Where is it? Can you fit it into the schedule? Make sure to discuss this if you want to do this. Some couples set up a 'first look' for the groom to see the bride in her dress, while others wait until the ceremony. In some cases the couple is not leaving the night of the wedding, and dress up the next day for a couple-only session at a special location. Decide what you want and make sure you share this with your photographer. There is no redo, so think about what moments you do not want to miss.
Are you following any specific traditions? Are there some you do not want? One thing to bear in mind, some places of worship have restrictions on what may be photographed, and a small number forbid all photography of the ceremony. Make sure you and photographer confirm what is allowed if your wedding is in such a location.
The photographer will most likely not know your family and bridal party members by name, so plan to have someone help with gathering the groups for the formal and group photos. Ideally this will be someone that knows the required people and can help get them together, such as a family member or the maid of honor - someone that knows the families and friends.
Consider doing an engagement session sometime before the wedding. This is more relaxed than the actual wedding and allows you to get more comfortable working with your photographer before the wedding day. In addition to getting some great portraits of you and your beloved, it can be a lot of fun!
There is a lot to cover to make sure you get the photographs you want. Invest the time with your photographer to make sure you get exactly what you expect.