It doesn't only come down to photos and price!
Sometimes when choosing a wedding photographer it's easy to get lost in trying to find the photographer with the best portfolio that you can afford. But it's very important to have an eye on other important things as well.
As an example, it's surprising how often a guest's strongest memory from a wedding is not how beautiful the bride looked or how amazing the venue was, but how obnoxious or annoying the official photographer was. Many guests can recount tales of photographers that were too loud or authoritarian, and of photographers that were unprofessional or aloof.
It's very important that your wedding photographer does his or her job without getting on anyone's nerves, especially yours!
A good wedding photographer should be commanding without being stifling. He or she should be able to work unobtrusively when necessary, but at the same time able to organise people assertively when necessary. That same photographer should be confident and articulate when dealing with guests, so that they blend in as part of the day rather than standing out like a sore thumb.
It can be difficult for clients to gauge a photographer's "bedside manner", in effect. Short of having seen the photographer at work, it's an area that's difficult to assess. This is not as aspect that can be displayed on a website or even communicated at a consultation, although if you are looking for it you can get some idea when meeting a photographer.
However, it is certainly one of the things that we pride ourselves on at Essence of the Moment, and we receive regular positive feedback not just from couples and guests but other wedding professionals that we work with.
On a personal level it's equally important that you are comfortable with your wedding photographer. You don't have to want to take them out for a meal or become best mates with them, but they should put you at ease for a variety of reasons.
Other than your other half, the wedding photographer is probably the person that you will spend the most time with on your wedding day. If that person is someone that you can only just about put up with, then it's not going to be a very good day! Ideally that photographer should be someone that you feel you can approach should you have any queries or concerns either before, during, or after your wedding day, and someone that can put you at ease if you have any nervous moments on the day itself.
Another reason to find a photographer that you are comfortable with is photographic - if you're not feeling particularly easy in the company of the photographer then this will tend to betray itself in the resultant photographs. Part of a good wedding photographer's job is to relax the couple - even (or especially!) those who are uncomfortable being in front of the camera. If you're uncomfortable when your photos are being taken, this frequently translates to your looking uncomfortable in the finished photographs.
Finding a photographer that you can relate to, who maybe has a bit of a sense of humour, is a great start to having wedding portraits that look a lot more natural and spontaneous, and everyone has a better time while they're being taken!
This is thankfully something that wedding couples can get a good idea of during the consultation, as you can get a good feel of how you get along with the photographer.
Again, this is an area that we feel strongly about at Essence of the Moment. It's not always possible to get along swimmingly well with everyone - but we can certainly try!