You are making decisions about all the people and companies to hire for the most special/important day of your life. You need to hire the hall, DJ, Photographer, Videographer, and limo service just to name a few. How do you choose? On what do you base your decisions? What should be the most important weighing factors? Since my specialty is photography, I may be able to help you in this area.
First of all, the photographer's style. Does his/her style fit the look/feel you like and would like for the story of your day? Ask to view more. A website is a great first impression but every photographer has sample albums. This not only gives you a better feel for how the photographer approaches the entire day but also allows you to see the many different styles of albums he/she has available for you to choose from. Photographers love to meet with clients for consultations to show you more of their work and to get a feel for the details of your day and ultimately what you are looking for in a photographer. It really opens the lines for communication. The more you communicate with your photographer, the happier you are going to be with the final photographs you receive from your wedding day.
For instance, how many hours of coverage are you going to need? Do you want photographs of you and your girls right after you put your dress on prior to leaving for the ceremony? Remember, this is when we get those gorgeous images of the dress before you put it on and all the little details you so carefully chose (shoes, jewelry, purse, flowers, etc.). Do you want shots of the groom before the ceremony? Do you want formal shots of you and your husband at the reception location or another favorite location? This would mean you need some extra time built in before your cocktail hour unless you don't mind missing part or all of the cocktail hour. And finally, do you want your photographer to stay until the very end of the reception?
Next, do you want an album (there really are too many options to go over them all here but this is an important topic to discuss with the photographer during the consultation.)? Or just a CD of images? Both a CD and an album?
If you choose just a CD of images, are you getting the end result you desire? Are the images edited and retouched? Are all of them edited or just a selection?
Finally and just as important, make sure you will get along with your photographer. Your personalities should mesh and you should be able to ask questions without hesitation.
It is not a good idea to simply rule out photographers based on their wedding package prices alone. Most of the time photographers can suggest alternatives and are willing to work with their clients. For this very reason, it really is essential to meet with photographers face-to-face and not rely on emails, etc. Since we live in a highly technology driven and fast-paced society, individuals are prone to doing a lot of their research on the internet. This is a good idea, for the preliminary research. Once you have found several photographers that seem to have the style you like, you should make an effort to have a face-to-face consultation with them. This would allow you to work out the details and discuss which package (especially if it is a "Create your own" package) works for your needs/budget. Once this is complete, you can review material from your chosen photographers and select the best one for you.