The first thing to do is to agree what you are both looking for at the end of the process. If one of you is expecting complete coverage of the day with all the details recorded but the other is just expecting a few group shots, then you need to do some talking before you start looking! Some couples want a professional, reliable record of the day but they do not want to spend too much time being photographed. For others, the photography is crucially important and an integral part of the day. Are you expecting a stunning set of portraits of the two of you (you’ll need to allocate time out of your day for this), or is that less important than one or two nice shots as long as the emotions of the day are captured? Or, do you want both?
Once you are agreed on this, viewing photographers’ on line portfolios for quality and style is the next stage. However, galleries represent the photographer’s best work, so it is important to see whole weddings to see how their style is transferred across the different requirements of the day. Do this when you meet or ask to be sent a Portfolio CD if whole weddings aren’t available to view on line. Wedding couples and guests are not on a photo shoot, but there to celebrate the day and party, so if you’re looking for a photo journalistic style of coverage then you should check out the photographers’ ability to capture those fleeting moments and your guests enjoying themselves.
Got your short list? Talk to them on the phone and meet if possible. You will be spending a lot of time with your photographer on your wedding day and so you should ensure you like them. Are they professional in their approach to you? Do you feel they will put you first or are you just another gig?
Finally you will need to think about your album, and of course your budget. The price of wedding photography often surprises prospective wedding clients, but wedding photography is a skill and the best can command high prices. Ultimately you and your fiance have to decide on the importance of high quality wedding photography to you, and consider whether it is a price worth paying.