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Picking a photographer: 3 easy steps

So … he popped THE question.

Now, all you have are questions -- especially about your photographer.

How much should you spend? What kind of photographic "style" works for you? What are the top three criteria you should consider when making your decision?

Okay, let's take a step back. Deep breath. This doesn't have to be difficult.

Here are three things to make your decision -- a decision you'll live with for a

lifetime -- simpler.

First, you obviously want to know your photographer's style works for you. That's the easy part. You can do that by looking at his or her photographs. Oh, yes, you'll need to think through formal and posed vs. editorial and photojournalistic styles -- or a mix. But again, you're a smart cookie, right? You can figure that out.

Now what's next? Well, second, the photog's personal style is absolutely huge. You're going to be with this person -- your photographer -- more than anyone except your soon-to-be spouse most of the entire day. So, you'll want to interview them not only to discuss their photo style, but also how they deal with people. How long they'll want to keep you to get that amazing image.

Some lesser experienced shooters take more time to make "okay" pictures. You want someone who knows what they're doing so that they can produce outstanding images -- quickly.

Think of minutes as votes. For each hour, you get to vote sixty times. And, each of those votes of time with your photog is a vote against spending time with someone else -- your family, your best friend, your niece, that crazy uncle. Weddings are

about time, and that time is precious. Know that these votes of your minutes matter, and you'll want to "vote" as many minutes as possible with the people that matter most. (HINT: it's not your photographer.)

Third, of course price matters. And, pricing can get complicated. With today's technology, this can become extremely simple or unbelievably complex. Think through how simple you want the pricing and packages to be. Maybe you want 500 options. Or, maybe you just want to know that your photographer will do a great job, offer a few great options, maybe one or two album options and good service after the wedding. This stuff matters -- talk about it with your shooter.

So there you have it: three things to help you narrow down your search.

He popped the question. You said "I do." Now, you have to "do" again -- doing as in selecting a photographer (and other vendors). Thinking through these three points will help you make your decision.

Oh, and a final (and fourth -- a bonus) piece of advice is this: enjoy it. Enjoy the process. Yes, even enjoy working with vendors. Remember, you'll never do this again. You're not just selecting a photographer, you're making memories -- even in this process.

Make it fun. Take it all in. Breathe.

Picture that.

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