With everything you have to do as a bride- or groom-to-be, the last thing you want to worry about is how good of a job your photographer will do when you're walking down the aisle.
Like your other vendors, it's important to do some due diligence to make sure the photographer you're considering hiring is the right person to capture your big day.
As with most things, it all comes down to research, suggests Karah Couch, a wedding photographer in Tampa, Florida. Here are six tips from her and other photographers around the country:
1. Let the work speak for itself. When you're looking for a photographer, use Google to search for names but also take a look at photographer directories like WeddingWire and The Knot, Couch says. "Sometimes the photographers who are listed on the first page of Google aren't the best in your area and really great photographers can be missed by just looking there."
2. Book an "engagement session." During this meeting you can see if your personalities mesh. "You'll also learn if this photographer you're considering is as talented as his or her portfolio makes them look," Couch says. "Some people have been known to steal photos from other photographers' websites in order to make themselves look more experienced than they are."
3. Look at photos of the entire wedding. Be sure to ask a potential photographer to show you images from a whole wedding, not just posed photos. "Remember, their portfolio is only the best of the best and has probably been built over years," Couch says. "Looking at a single wedding from start to finish is a much better way of seeing what they can really do."
4. Be clear on budget. With photography you often get what you pay for, Couch says. "Yes weddings are expensive and photography can be one of the most expensive parts, so it can be tempting to cut corners on it," she says. "But, if you get a subpar photographer, it's something you'll really end up regretting."
5. Make sure your photographer gets you. "As a wedding lifestyle photographer, I am there for a couple's most intimate moments," says Christine Waller, owner of Christine Waller Photography in Chicago. "Whether someone is holding back tears because they see their little girl in their wedding dress for the first time, or you're jumping for joy on the dance floor, it's critical to be on the same page with your photographer."
6. Be sure the photographer is good with people. "Nothing could be worse than bringing in a person who's insensitive to your loved ones or guests or even to the other professionals you have working at your wedding, says G.E. Masana, a New York City-area wedding photographer for over 30 years. "The photographer should be courteous, respectful and gracious to all, and consider everyone they meet at your wedding as significant — and treat them as such."