Photo from Mike and Caroline's wedding, my first solo wedding!
Being a wedding photographer now for over 5 years I can say that I have a pretty good insight as to how to choose a good wedding photographer. Here are some tips on what to ask and what to check out.
1) Make sure you ask to see a complete wedding, not just 5 or 6 photos from each wedding. Even the worst wedding photographer can find 5 or 6 good photos out of 1500 shots. How do the other shots look like, take a browse. See what the family portraits look like, is he good at posing large groups of people, etc... These might be the boring shots but in a few years it might be the only shot you'll have of uncle Tim and yourself, and it would be a shame if his head was cut off. So make sure you look at a complete wedding for only then will you know his true style.
2) Ask for references to his last 3 weddings. You don't have to call them or email, just see there reaction. You see allot of new photographers don't have a portfolio of their own and just steal samples of the internet and put them on their website an call them their own. How would you know if what was on his site was his work or the work of someone else a few states or provinces away. The internet makes it so easy to steal other peoples work.. be diligent.
3) Equipment. This one is a bit difficult, most couples getting married wouldn't now the difference between a 5D, 6D, 9D or an ZY200. (Last 2 I just made up). Any one can go to best buy and pick up a camera and call themselves a wedding photographer. Camera range from $500 all the way up to $5,000. A camera does not make a photographer, a photographer makes the camera. Ideally you want to make sure they are using a full frame camera versus a crop. (size of the sensor) full frame is bigger, therefore better in low light and also gives you a more dreamy look when combines with the right lens. The key thing to remember to ask is if the have backup gear and if the back up gear is as good is his standard gear. What happens if one camera breaks, or a lens breaks? how does he deal with it?
4) how long does it take to deliver the photos? I've heard of couples waiting for months....
These are just a few items you should be checking when looking into a wedding photographer.