Choosing A Photographer

Choosing a photographer today can be quite a challenge.  Shortly after the digital camera came of age, photographers started popping up everywhere.  It's very easy to find someone that's ready to "shoot" your wedding or provide some other photographic service.  However, most of these photographers, quite frankly, don't know what they're doing.   They may mean well but they're flying by the seat of their pants and their work usually shows it.  Shooting great photos isn't as easy as "point and shoot".  This is especially true at weddings where lighting and background conditions are constantly changing.  Remember, the bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten!  That being said, it doesn't mean that their aren't some good deals to be had out there!  Here are a few things to consider:
1.  HOW LONG have they been in business and can that length of time be verified?   Experience makes a HUGE difference.
2.  Do they have proof of current liability insurance that will cover the date(s) of your event?
3.  Do they have verifiable references?
4.  Do they have a WEBSITE that lends legitimacy to their business?
5.  BEWARE of photographers that say they only shoot in natural or existing light.  It could very well mean that they have no idea how to use external strobes (Flash).  Imagine trying to take a picture of your first dance on a dimly lit dance floor without flash.
6.  LAB PRINTS or INK JET?  If they offer prints, find out if they print their own or if they use a lab.  If they print their own, they are most likely using Ink jet printers.  Ink jets have come a long way but they still can't  compare with the genuine photo paper that professional labs use.
7.  BEWARE if most of the samples that you see look "artistic".  All too often, artistic renditions are used to "doctor" bad photos.  Artistic renditions are great, but what if you want a good old fashioned, properly exposed color photo of that image?  Unless it was properly shot in the first place, all you're going to get is an artistic rendition.
8.  ALWAYS visit the photographer to look at their work first hand.  A competent photographer will have lots of samples for you to look at including albums of ENTIRE weddings that they've shot.  Not just an album showing the best of the best.  What you see IS what you'll get!
9.  Last, and definitely not least, how comfortable do you  feel when talking to the photographer?  Good vibes are a good thing! 
Happy Hunting.....................Michael