In choosing a wedding photographer, you are making one of the biggest decisions in the whole planning process. It’s probably one of the things you should think about first, especially if you think you might want your photographer to do your engagement shoot too.
It seems like a great idea to save money, but don’t choose a friend or a relative, because friends and relatives will want to enjoy the day and may get distracted, and you won’t get the images you want. It could cause huge issues between friends if there is a problem afterwards. What if you don’t like the images you get?
If a friend or relative is a professional photographer, don't pressure them to shoot your wedding for free. They may feel uncomfortable saying no to you, but it may be that they simply cannot afford to work for free. You wouldn’t ask a friend who works in the catering business to cater the wedding for free. Some friends may offer to be your photographer for free, or for less than their usual fee, and if you are happy for them to do this, then that is absolutely fine. Conversely, if they do offer, but you aren't comfortable using them, tell them you'd rather they just enjoyed the day instead.
Don’t hire a photographer without seeing some of their printed portfolio too, particularly if their portfolio is not extensive or consistent. If you are not happy with the level of portrait retouching that they do, then you should express this, or hire someone whose work you do like. It’s important to be confident that what you see is what you will get. Be cautious about hiring someone entirely over the internet.
Don't give the photographer too little time to do their job. It's easy to think that you'll get all of the shots you need outside of the church before and during the group shots, but getting the perfect, romantic shot takes a little time and patience. Consider setting aside a block of time between the ceremony and the reception for you to be alone with the photographer.
Otherwise, if you have a ceremony slightly later in the day, consider doing a ‘First Look’ shoot. This is where the Bride and Groom get to meet just before the ceremony, and it can help them both get over their initial nerves, before the big event. It can save some time, and means that after the ceremony and the official bit, the couple has more time to enjoy with their family and friends.
It is your day, but you shouldn’t be too prescriptive with what it is that you want. It’s ok to tell the photographer the few key shots that you must have. But do remember that the photographer has a great deal of experience in shooting weddings, (or they will have if you picked the right one!).
You should be prepared to trust the photographer’s judgement, and take a little bit of direction on what shots they know will always work. You should also trust the photographer to do just the right amount of portrait editing to suit each person. If they have PortraitPro, you can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that they have full control over the photo editing process.