{Photography} how's a girl to choose?

I will say that checking the venue off my list has been a HUGE relief.  Thanks to this weekly blog keeping me focused and on track, I feel organized and relaxed.  I truly feel like the fun has begun! So when I say beginning this photographer search is difficult, I mean that it's an enjoyable challenge. There are SO many fantastic photographers out there, and every recommendation my friends have given me looks awesome! So..... how's a girl to choose? In a nut shell (or bullet list), here is what I am looking for in a photographer(s):

  • Someone who's cool, fun, easy to work with, yet still diligent enough to make sure they get all of the important shots. (The last thing I want to worry about on our special day is the photography. I feel like that should be a gimme. slamdunk. no prob. right ladies?) On that note, I think it is MAJORLY important to hire someone who has shot a wedding before. Sure you may have a friend who's a great photographer, but taking photos of a wedding is a different animal. What are your thoughts on this?
  • Detail shots
  • candid special moments
  • fun group shots
  • photos of everyone having a blast, not just me and my hubby.... I mean, how many pictures do we actually need of us?
  • I think I need 2 photographers (minimum) to get multiple points of view, and to ensure we don't miss anything major.
  • I like a vintage inspired look (ala mid-century). A little black and white would be nice mixed in with some soft colored shots. I don't like anything too photo journalistic.
  • When I envision our pictures I see them as soft, romantic and candid.... not bold, crisp, and posed.
  • Someone "affordable." Photos are VERY important to me, and I'm standing my ground on spending money on a quality photographer, but I don't want to go overboard with our budget.
My bestie, Shana, is getting married in Maui this June, and said that this task was kind of easy for her because her planner gave her a list of 5 to call. Being that her wedding is in Maui, her options are simple. Try living in the land of lights, camera, action. Although my planner is giving me a list too, searching for a photographer in LA gives one major sensory overload.
My other bestie, Kaci, got married in Seattle a few years ago and gave me a good pointer. She suggested that I meet with the potential photographer to make sure we like him or her, and that our personalities mesh well. This is a great point, because like many brides will tell you, you spend a lot of time with your photographer and I can only imagine how that would be if they were super annoying, or rude, or even worse- boring. Because of my acting/TV background, I can tell you that chemistry with your photographer is imperative. The more comfortable you are with your photographer, the more natural and organic your photos will look.
I like to compare this hunt for a good photog to looking for a new toothpaste. You go to the toothpaste isle at the grocery store and there are tons of fancy looking boxes, all with pretty bright colors and the promise of making your teeth look and feel fabulous. Most of them will probably work great for you. But how do you choose "the one?" Most likely off of a friend's recommendation, right? .... Ok, so maybe pictures at your wedding are a little more important than toothpaste, but you catch my drift ;-)
I have mentioned before that I am a very decisive person. I find something I like, then I go for it without reservation. I'm sure once I narrow it down to 3 I'll be able to make a solid choice. Here are some inspiring photos from photographers that close friends of mine have recommended.


How did you find your wedding photographer? Did you meet with them before? Were they experienced with shooting weddings? Please feel free to share your advice!