My 2c as a photographer (and a bride to be!)…
Tip #1: Do a photo shoot in advance, even if you are not doing an engagement photo. Yes absolutely yes! I love doing engagement photos and it gives me a chance to get to know the couple in a way that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Tip #2: Talk with the photographer about how he or she will ensure you get at least one great photo of you two together, looking at each other. I would say more generally that you should make sure to talk to the photographer about any photo that you know you will be disappointed not to see in your results. That being said, for any shoot I always make sure I have at least a few photos where both are looking at the camera. I also would say it’s a no brainer and wonder how it’s possible to miss this.
Tip #3: Ask the photographer if he or she checks some photos on their camera as they take them so they know they’re getting good shots of you both. Not something you have to worry about with a true pro. I certainly do it. It’s not difficult. And even if the shot is almost perfect, there’s occasionally something that can be improved. I’d agree that if this is a concern, you hired the wrong photographer.
Tip #4: Encourage friends to bring their cameras and take pictures. Ask them to do this in advance.
I am very much on the fence about this… as a photographer, I do not like having to deal with with guests getting in the way (especially not when they act like the photo they take on their iPhone is more important than the one I’m taking with my professional camera!!) And if they are using a flash, it can definitely mess up my pictures and usually does. At most events this isn’t a huge problem though… most guests are very respectful of me, but all it takes is one to ruin a perfect shot.
However, as a bride…. I still haven’t decided what to do about this at all. 🙁 We hired a high end pro with great reviews to be our photographer… and yet I’ve still read too many horror stories on here about corrupted cards, missed shots, unprofessional “pros,” etc (even for people that spent a ton of money!) This makes me so leary of trusting my precious photos to just one person. I don’t want our guests ruining the photographer’s shots but no more do I want to be told “oops, our card got corrupted… hope you didn’t want those cake cutting photos” and then not even have any guest photos to rely on.
So I would add to this… ask your photographer if their camera has two memory card slots or not (to record photos to both memory cards at once in case one gets corrupted). I’ve seen that brought up on here before and the pros are very much divided on whether this is necessary… but I’m in the “since the technology is available, a wedding photographer absolutely must have it!” camp. It was one of the main factors in my decision to spend a bit more when I bought my pro camera. I feel great about being able to tell brides that I have this. Not saying it’s 100% fail-proof either because nothing is, but it certainly can’t hurt!
Tip #5: This should probably be #1 — find out how good he or she is with photoshop and if they charge more to fix photos. I agree with this – find out how much retouching they will do and if they will charge a ridiculous amount extra! I personally include light retouching so a bruise on the arm (which is very easy to fix) would be no problem, definitely wouldn’t have to ask.