There won't be a chance to redo your wedding day photos, so give this decision plenty of time and research. When looking for a photographer, three things are very important.
First, you must find someone who makes your comfortable and relaxed. Even the most diva personality would grow weary of eight hours of flashbulbs snapping, shouted directions and constant posing. You want your photos to show how happy you are, not how long you can hold a plastic smile. Have a long conversation with a potential photographer to discuss your feelings about your wedding album and the photographs in general. Do you want the dramatic night time Seattle skyline to be a part of your shots? Do the miles of prairie grass surrounding your chapel speak to you? A professional will crave this information so he or she can produce the shots you want. What type of candid shots do you want and when do you want them taken? Posed pictures are great, but to make your album truly your own, you want candid shots of Aunt Bessie's admiration of your ring and your brother dancing with your niece.
Secondly, does this potential photographer have experience with wedding photography and with your type of location? A minimum of five years in the wedding photography business is a good qualification. As far as location is concerned, you don't want to find yourself with an experienced indoor photographer, who doesn't have outdoor experience, struggling with his or her tripods in the sand. Ask to see complete wedding albums and the proofs. You need to know if this photographer is talented with posed pictures as well as candid shots. The proofs will let you see if the photographer only got ten good pictures out of a thousand and the general style of all the pictures.
Lastly, if you have found someone you really like, book an hour photo session with them before the wedding. Have the photographer take family portraits or your engagement pictures. This one-on-one time will allow you to see how the process will work on the big day. If you are planning an outdoor wedding or a reception in your parent's backyard, have the photographer take candid and posed pictures in similar locations. This will give you the best idea of the type of pictures the photographer will produce and how you all work together.
Once you have found the perfect person, listen to them. An experienced professional wedding photographer will have plenty of advice on every aspect of your wedding. They will know of picturesque locations, good videographers, the best caterers and creative solutions to common wedding frustrations. While you don't want to hand over all the wedding choices, this person makes a living in the visual world. You might be surprised with what he or she has learned from attending all those weddings.
Plan to spend some quality time searching for your wedding photographer. A good photographer will capture the uniqueness of your ceremony and present you with a pictorial album to treasure for a lifetime.