I have gotten a few emails like this one from Rupa:

Dear Shawna,

I am getting married next summer, and I need some help choosing a wedding photographer.  What types of questions should I ask, and what should I look for? I have heard stories of friends disliking their wedding photos, and I don’t want to be disappointed. Any advice?

Chicago, IL

So, I put together the essential characteristics for choosing a wedding photographer for your Indian wedding.

Wedding photographs are the most precious keepsake from your special day, so it is necessary to carefully choose your photographer.

Experience : Make sure that the photographer has done an Indian wedding before.  Guest count, multiple ceremonies, large numbers of family portraits all make Indian weddings a unique experience. So, you want to find someone who has experience handling the color, chaos, and cheer of an Indian wedding.

Evaluate : No one wants to hear this, but take a look at your budget and only look at photographers that fall within the range that you have allowed. It isn’t any fun to hit it off with a photographer that is out of your price range. Even though some photographers negotiate on price, most do not. So, don’t waste your time or their time.  The next thing that I would recommend you do is review 3-7 photographer’s portfolios.  You can do this online or in person, but it is imperative that you see a complete wedding and not just a few key shots.  Sample several weddings from each photographer, so you have a good idea of what the photographer’s work looks like.  This will help you decide if you want the traditional portraits, photo journalistic candid shots, or a combination of both. 

Interview : The next thing you should do is interview the photographers.  You can do this over the phone, but in person is always better.  I love going to photography studios and checking out the albums – it is a great place to get wedding ideas!  While you are at the studio, get to know the photographer’s personality, personal style, and see if this is someone you click with. The most important thing is to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable, so you can create beautiful memories of your special day. Always ask to speak with one of his/her former brides just to get some extra input.

Timing : Wedding photographers book up very quickly, so after you have a date and a venue, the photographer should be the next action item on your to-do list. As with most things, the earlier you start to look for photographers the more you will have to choose from.

Enjoy this part of the planning process and remember to have a glorious wedding day!