First, figure out your spending limits. It's always good to have a budget when planning a wedding, but I strongly urge you NOT to skimp on your photography budget. Remember that no matter how beautiful your flowers are, or how delicious your cake may be, your wedding photos are your biggest investment because after all is said and done they are the only things you have to look back on. Your wedding photos will forever preserve your favorite moments from your big day!
Second, figure out what you like so you know what to look for. There are a TON of wedding photographers out there and each of them have a different style. Some are more traditional, some more modern and edgy. Some prefer the classic black and whites while others use more bold striking colors. Some use a lot of posing and others just shoot candids. So look through magazines, ask your friends who took their wedding photos and check out some wedding expos to get a feel for what's out there and what you like.
Third, schedule a consultation. Now that you know what you like and have found some photographers that you love, if you're having a hard time deciding, set up a time to meet with each of them to talk about your wedding and give the photographers a good idea of what you like and what you're looking for in a wedding photographer. Find out who's flexible on dates, prices, and packages. See if they offer the copyright release with your wedding photos. Some photographers do provide this, which gives you the ability to print and use the photos however and wherever you'd like, so it's a HUGE bonus. However, not all photographers give that up, so make sure you find out if the photographer you like, provides the copyright release. Also, don't be afraid to communicate with the photographers so they know exactly what you like and what you don't like! Any photographer that is not willing to cater to YOU and your style, is not worth working with. Some photographers out there have a certain style and certain "poses" they always use no matter who they are working with. So make sure the photographer you choose is willing to work with you, cause you don't want your photos to look like everyone else's.
Finally, and most important, now that you've found a photographer you like and have decided to go with them, MAKE SURE YOU SIGN A CONTRACT WITH THEM! I strongly recommend that you stay away from any photographers that do not require you sign a contract when you book them! Unfortunately there are a lot of scammers out there who are taking advantage of the wedding and photography industry and I've heard way too many horror stories from brides that did not protect themselves with a contract. So make sure they have one and read it over very carefully. You want to make sure that the contract not only protects the photographer, but that it also protects you!
Planning your wedding should be fun but it can get stressful. So hopefully this will help in at least one of your planning steps and take some of the stress out of it.
Please check out my website, StacyMariePhotography.com and see if I have what you're looking for! I offer preset and customizable wedding packages. I am very flexible and I work very hard with each of my clients to make sure that their photos truly bring out their own personality and style and make each photo shoot beautifully unique.
If you are interested in setting up a free consultation with me, please email me at Stacy@StacyMariePhotography.com.