1. "His/Her Portfolio is AHHH-MAZING"
Ok, full disclosure...this should be a factor in selecting a wedding photographer. BUT, don't fall in love with the portfolio and abandon your research process of finding the ONE wedding photographer that fits with you for your wedding day! After you're done drooling over all the Pinterest-worthy poses, email the photographer and set up a meeting. During your consult, you will want to request full wedding albums. This is crucial to finding the wedding photographer for you! Don't base your decision solely from the portfolio, but how the photographer approaches the entire day. Lastly, make sure your personalities are a match. You're going to spend more time on your wedding day with your photographer than with your own mother. The last thing you want is to be stuck with someone for 8-10 hours who is driving you nuts on your wedding day!
2. "The Wedding Venue Recommended Them"
Again, full disclosure on this one is that some wedding venues offer excellent recommendations on wedding photographers based on a photographers body of work. BUT, and this is a big one, some wedding venues sell spots to be a preferred wedding photographer with the venue. In this case, your motives for finding a photographer and theirs do not line up! My best advice would be to double check a venues recommendations with friends, family, wedding planners and their online reviews. Better safe than sorry on this one!
3. "They're my Friend (or Family)"
Gosh, I feel like this goes without saying, and I'm going to really try not to rant here. You've probably heard this a 1,000 times in your life....YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! Maybe it's a cousin who does a little photography on the side, or Nancy from church who has a camera and guess what...THEY'LL PHOTOGRAPH YOUR WEDDING FOR FREE!!! Weddings are expensive, so this might come as music to your frugal ears. Just don't! Weddings are a tough gig, with a lot of variables, and you absolutely, 100% need a professional to handle the in's and outs of your wedding day. Just because your friend takes nice photos of families and sleeping babies, it doesn't mean he/she can light your pitch black reception venue. What happens when your 'friend/family' photog misses that crucial shot because their yucking it up with other wedding guests they know, or they lose your photos because they don't have a file backup system. Bottom line, when you're choosing a wedding photographer, CHOOSE A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!
4. "They Shoot 200 Weddings a Year"
Make no mistake, experience is a must, and you don't want your wedding photographer using your wedding for practice, but BUSIER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. When it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, you're looking for someone who chooses quality over quantity. If you've found someone shooting over 100+ wedding per year, you've found someone who has sacrificed at least some degree of quality. Being that busy means they are shooting back to back weddings every single weekend and/or hiring associate photographers to fill their shoes. If you hire Jimmy Photog to be your wedding photographer, you should expect Jimmy Photog, not Jimmy Photog's Junior Varsity Squad. Make sure you know who's going to be holding the camera on your wedding day, and that they are committed to treating you like a VIP every step of the way!
5. "This Sale is the Deal of a Lifetime"
Here's the thing, the right photographer can make a budget dress look like it cost $5,000. The wrong photographer can make Vera Wang look tacky. Whether you are on a shoestring budget, or are planning a wedding fit for royalty, there are a lot of places to hunt for deals. Your wedding photographer isn't one of them. Ask anyone who's been burned by their wedding photographer...It is not a bargain if you hate your wedding photos. If your favorite photographer is running a discount, like a free engagement session, or 10% off, then heck-yeah, jump all over that. Just don't let a big discount be your deciding factor. Good wedding photographers invest in expensive equipment, pay taxes, and carry insurance. So before you cut corners with a dirt-cheap photographer, ask yourself where they cut corners to get you that price.