Being a photographer myself I understand the difficulty that every bride goes through. There is large number of photographers everywhere! You go through the stages of looking at a large variety of websites, portfolios, and prices. You might have also heard about the horror stories of other brides regretting the photographer they chose. So who should you pick? Let me give you my top 8 tips in picking the photographer that is right for you :)
Tip #1 Do they have a website/portfolio
Every photographer's portfolio should be published for everyone to see. They should have a clean website that displays their work. A photographer that has a good website shows the effort they put into their career. If they don't have anything to show I would not recommend booking them. Also make sure they can show you full galleries from previous brides. They should have a good range of photos both indoor and outdoor. They should be able to show you candids, details, and environment shots too. Some photographers only display what they want you to see. It's best to know what specialties are so you know what you are getting.
Tip #2 DO NOT use a family member
Weddings can be expensive as we all know. Everyone wants to cut the costs down where they can and that's completely understandable. You might be thinking... oh they are just pictures. I can just have a family/friend to do it. Please don't!
After all is said and done, the pictures are the only thing you will have to look back on for memories. Family and friends are not professionals and don't put in the same effort and quality that would get from a professional. You have no idea how many brides I have spoken to that regret not hiring someone. Even if you have family/friends that are professional wedding photographers... odds are they won't be 100% committed to the job because they want to enjoy their time with you at your wedding. Just make sure you have a photographer that is completely sure of their job and is completely committed.
Tip #3 Do they show pricing/packages?
I'm not really sure why, but photographers like to hide their pricing on their websites a lot of the time. Personally this is a HUGE waste of time for both the photographer and their clients. The photographer should be completely transparent with their packages so that you know exactly what you are getting. Hidden prices present an opportunity for them to change their rates and charge you more. Also you will have to message multiple photographers about prices, negotiate, and set up multiple meetings. Save your time and look for photographers that display their prices from the get go.