1.) Find out from your Photographer if he/she has ever done an Engagement Session and Wedding Session with the same couple. Chances are if they have and allow you to see the images, this will give you a fantastic all around opportunity to find out if the photographers style is right for you.
2.) How do you find out what style suits you best?
This is a hard one to explain and pin down, but lets start with this.
Who you are as a couple greatly affects the form or style of photography that best suits you both.
For example, if the groom hates his picture taken, but the Bride wants all those lovable images she found on Pinterest; It may come to pass that heading towards one end of the spectrum in terms of what the couple want to see might inflame the photo session with unintended frowns, eye rolls, and ill fated gestures. Another words, pleasing just 1 half of the bridal couple doesn't always work.
From here, it is always best to compromise, and strike a harmonic balance between a fun, subtle, candid session and a session filled with creative, artistic expressionism.
Once you figure out that balance choosing your style is easy.
Will you be more Candid, Artistic (staged, posed), Experimental, or Photojournalistic or perhaps... a melting pot of all 4 styles?
3.) Ok. Now you know your style. Does your style fit your photographer.
I'll admit. Any great photographer can fit most styles or forms of photography, but most photographers revert to what I'd like to call "the comfort zone." Let's face it, most photographers are human (so far as I know). And... because of that we all revert to our comfort zone or our personal form of visual creativity.
So take a minute and find out exactly how your photographer shoots or captures the day. Actually ask them (even if you have no understanding of what he/she might say next) exactly how they shoot a wedding. They might divulge some great tips into what they like to shoot, perhaps even what they don't.
4.) In today's digitally photographic and ever changing world, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to ask the photographer what type of gear they use. 99% of the time, if the images look great in a large print format (which you should ask about, always ask about prints), then there is little chance they are using inferior equipment. If you are still curious about a photographer's gear then makes sure they have specifically 3 major things that will improve overall digital image quality. First off, they must have great lens that are "fast" meaning, lens that have a wide 1.4- 2.8 aperture, believe me its important especially for indoor photography. Secondly the combination of the lens they use and the camera should have great low light performance. Once the night rolls around for your wedding day, low light performance of their equipment is crucial.
Most importantly the photographer should have a masterful hand with the equipment they are using. No matter how high end the equipment may be, no "miracle" equipment can save an image that wasn't properly captured by the photographer.... in the end it is still the photographer you are hiring, not their gear.
So finally.... you know what to expect from your photographer. Now lets get personal.
What does a photographer expect from you, the soon-to-be married couple?
Well... I can't speak for every photographer, but I can give you a few tidbits. little secrets into what I would love to see in couples I photograph.
Its very simple.
"Cooperation, Participation, being Personally Invested and being Socially Interactive or having Great Communication."
These are the building blocks I use to help to create and capture your wedding day.
These are, in part, what can make images go from good to great to awesome!
It is so important to be "personally invested" and communicate with your photographer before, during, and after the wedding day. As a couple you most likely are personally invested in the work we do, and that is important because after all photographic services in general are not cheap. We are just as personally and financially invested in your wedding day as you are. That means allot.
Participation. No matter how much you dislike getting your picture taken, Your wedding day is still all about you; both of you! The more you are involved in wanting to be apart of your day in creating something extraordinary, the more incredible your images will be. In the end it will be those images you will see and share with others for the rest of your life.
Finally cooperation, the work we do is always a two way street. We are (after-all) human beings and agreeing on everything between you and I (your photographer) is just a dream we all would love to never wake up from. We will never agree on everything, that is just human nature.
In the end, cooperation, compromising and creating a solution together is the best alternative.
I always have couples willing to get those amazing shots, but still want to enjoy their day; a balance is struck and an understanding that I am there to capture, create as best as I can with the amount of time given to me. With these thoughts in mind, I can create some pretty awesome moments. At the same time, as long as I know you guys are behind me and believe in me and my work; I know I will always have a couple that appreciates my time and efforts from the very first shot until the very end.
This is my expectation of every couple I photograph.