Don't leave the choice of your wedding photographer up to chance. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well and this is certainly true of something as important as documenting the most special day you will ever have in your life. After you have gathered some names from family, friends, coworkers, and other reputable sources, you will want to pick out three or four in the Washington DC area and meet with them in person. Conduct this meeting like a job interview. There are some questions you absolutely must get the answers to in order to make an informed decision that you will be happy with. Below, we have provided some help on your list of questions.
The first and obvious question to ask your candidates is if they have your wedding date available on their calendar. If they don't and you are rock set on having your wedding on that date, there is no need to continue the conversation. If they have your date available, you can continue with your interview. In relation to your wedding date, you will want to know if they are shooting anyone else's wedding on your weekend. Are they a solo shooter or do they bring an assistant or two with them? Having a second or third shooter can really provide some nice perspective on many different angles of your wedding day.
In terms of their background, find out how long they have been shooting weddings. How many weddings do they shoot per month or year? Now, here is a question that could be very revealing. Ask them if they have ever shot a wedding that was similar to yours in size. Have they worked at your particular venues? Ask for a portfolio of recent weddings they have shot. Make sure they just don't give you the finished album but you want the entire shoot. You want to get a sense of how they work and how they think. Lastly ask for a list of references and call them and have a nice chat about the photographer's work and their personal style.
As each candidate to describe their style. Just for your information, you will hear about styles like traditional, photojournalistic, and artistic. We recommend you do a bit of reading up on these to educate yourself for the interview so you can talk about them intelligently. Also, ask to see a sample shot list and whether you can add to the list. This is an interesting question to ask: what separates your work from other photographers? Pay close attention to the answer. Have a talk about their operating style at a wedding. For example, do they like to be forceful and order people around or do they blend into the background and are more of the quiet type. Get a sense if their personality. Ask yourself if you would entrust your family and friends to this person.
We realize wedding photography is not usually cheap. You have to pay for quality usually. To get the best deal possible, ask if they offer package deals. If they do, can you mix and match or can you throw in an option that you are interested in but may not be a part of a particular package. Ask about post production services like retouching, color adjustment and various photoshop tricks. How much more do these cost? Make sure everything is in writing and signed by both you and the photographer. This will not be an easy search by any means, but if you give it the time and effort it deserves, you will be able live with your decision.