Today I found some great advice to help people choose a wedding photographer. If you're not in the industry, or do not know someone, it can be a hard decision. I recommend going through this process with at least 3 photographers.
This is probably the #1 best way to find a photographer. You can do your homework easily by taking a look at photos they have taken for someone else. You get first-hand knowledge.
2. Visit the Photographer's Website
These days, every photographer should have a website. If they don't, I wouldn't consider them. This may seem harsh but the fact that they do not have a website would make me feel like they are not up with today's trends. Their website will give you insight as to the style and quality that they provide. You can easily judge a photographer by their website. Is it organized and clean or is it cluttered and messy?
3. Call for Availability (ie: phone interview)
By making this call, you are able to first see if the date is available, but you can also get to know the photographer's personality. Are they fun and charismatic or are they awkward and dull? You can't always judge with this method, but you can get a small idea. You can ask some questions about their work, but most of the questions should be answered at the appointment.
4. Schedule an Appointment
Everyone who is making monetary contributions should be at this meeting. Ask the photographer to bring some work. These days, everything is digtal. Ask them to bring in a slideshow or some other photos besides what is on their website. Generally the website will have the best work on it, so you want to see some of the "not best" work.
5. Ask Questions!!
Wedding photography is not cheap. These are photos you have to live with your whole life. You only get married once. Make sure you ask all the right questions.
Here are some suggestions:
How will you show me pictures for selection (e.g., electronic, proofs, contact sheets, online gallery, etc.)?
Will you help me choose the final pictures?
How will you make it easy for friends and family to order reprints?
What are the costs of the various levels of coverage?
Are there different degrees of coverage?
What is your photography style?
How much for the duplicate prints, albums, folios, enlargements, thank you cards, etc.,?
What’s your time frame for preparing the pictures for my selection?
How about engagement session?
How long do I have to make up my mind as to which pictures I want and how many?
How long have you been in business?
What kind of guarantee comes with my hiring you?
What’s your philosophy to photographing weddings?
Will you have an assistant?
Do you have travel fees?
How much is your overtime fee?
What do you plan to do at my wedding to make my wedding photographs unique and personal to me?
Do you have a backup?
Will you be shooting my pictures personally?
Who will I be dealing with after the wedding?
What's your payment policy?
Do you give any guarantees on your services and photographs?
Here are some tips to help YOU prepare for the meeting with your photographer:
1. Focus on the relationship first, not the money
2. Know your budget to avoid sticker shock.
3. All-inclusive packages can save you money.
4. Be honest if you can’t afford the price: If the photographer’s price is still too high, lay out your budget for them and ask how they can help. Most photographers are flexible, especially if they click with you or think your wedding might be something special. Finally, if you can’t afford the photographer and there isn’t any chance to make it work, ask for a referral. Odds are good they know a photographer with a similar approach that you can afford. It may be the other photographer is not as established, but if you have good rapport and their pictures are good, this may be the right choice for you. (Taken directly from http://rising.blackstar.com)