Choosing a wedding photographer
I've got the call a few times now. "Help! My photographer has left me with a mess of RAW files/unedited work! Would you be able to edit them for me?" I'm always happy to help, but this should have never been an issue in the first place.
Here's where the problem begins: Since the prices of high-end cameras started dropping and DSLR's became more and more affordable, the wedding photography industry has become saturated with photographers. I think that this has been a boon to wedding photographers in a way, since those of us who are serious about it have had to up our game to differentiate ourselves. Producing outstanding work and offering brides the best service as a by-product of too many amateurs in the market? Perfect stuff.
Unfortunately, this still leaves a lot of brides in the dark as to which photographers are are actually legit and which ones are going to leave you with a broken heart after the wedding. Hopefully this advice will help:
I don't resent social media - really I don't - but it can be a little frustrating at times. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, 500px..* It can be daunting to try to deliver unique, creative content to each platform. The flipside is that it's never been easier to check what your local photographers have been up to, their body of work both past and recent, what they offer, check feedback from their clients or even see what they've had for lunch. Use these resources to your advantage. If they have a solid body of work, it will show easily.
2. Meet with them
Most reputable photographers are more than happy to meet with prospective clients. Meet at their studio or over coffee. This way you'll be able to gauge chemistry with each other, and it gives the photographer a chance to get to know your personalities, and gives them history and insight into your relationship which helps immensely during the shoot.
3. Have a contract
Commit your agreed upon packages to a contract. This protects you in terms of what your photographer has agreed to provide, and the time frame in which they've agreed to provide it. Things to look out for are total price, what is included in terms of hours of photography and physical products (albums & prints), as well as the time needed post-wedding for the photographer to provide you with the final images and the album and prints.
4. Ask for a full wedding set
Seeing what they're able to produce at all aspects of the wedding is crucial. Being able to see how they handle low-lighting, the first dance, the ceremony (if lighting is allowed at all), getting ready etc is extremely important. A wedding photographer should be a jack-of-all-trades. Able to shoot whatever is called for at exactly the right moment. A full wedding set will tell you all you need to know in this regard.
These tips will help ensure that the only problem you'll have regarding photography post-wedding is choosing which amazing pictures you'll be sharing on Facebook.