Most couples planning for their wedding would have a long list of to-dos and needs and in the US Market, there can be hundreds, if not thousands, who can fill those needs and thus it becomes a hunt for the best that can meet their expectations.
Most vendors would provide the couples service that ends on their wedding day - the gown designer, the cake vendor, the suit provider, the ring designer and probably even the venue provider. There are wedding vendors though that rely on relationships to be really successful in providing the best service they can give...way before and way beyond your wedding day...one of them is your wedding photographer.
Your wedding photographer would need to capture emotions and put those in a 2 dimensional space..he would need to know your best angle, your facial expressions, your detailed schedule for the day, who are the people in your party and even anticipate your every move during the wedding so he can always be there when those most special moments happen. His service also does not end during the wedding day. He will need to design and create your album and he hopes that someday, when your family gets a little bit bigger - you would think of him again to capture those special moments as well.
How can the couple maximize the value of their photographer then?
1. Plan early. Start looking for your wedding photographer a year in advance so you get time to know him better as a person and as a professional. Look beyond the images as well - you can have the most technically correct images but a lousy experience working with the photographer. Remember that you are buying not only excellent images but the experience as well with the photographer.You need time to trust your photographer and the earlier you get to know him, the better.
2. Try to get a package with an engagement session included which can serve as a venue where you can see how your photographer can actually work with you and can also be your test bed (as well as the photographer's) where you can see the actual shots and suggest to the photographer tweaks for your actual wedding day.
3. Keep in touch with your photographer regularly (although I am sure he will do this anyway) especially when there are any changes in plans so he can plan with you. Communication is vital and critical.
Think of your photographer as being more than a vendor - he is your partner. He must know you as a couple really well to get those amazing, timeless shots and he needs your partnership to make the success of your wedding day visible for years to come.