TunaCat29: These answers are definitely location based, but I can run through my experience with you, in hopes it helps!
We interviewed 3 different photographers, whose blog pics were aligned with what we envisioned (and/or the only thing we had to go off of). Our ultimate vision was we wanted an artisitc feel to our pics, not just the ‘run of the mill’ poses, and a lot of candids. I wanted to see the emotions from that day in pictures, and felt I would not get those in a ton of formals.
Ultimately, we settled with a photog, whom ended up being my favorite vendor!!!!
The ‘bigger’ reasons are as follows:
1) Personality. I think it outweighed many other things to a degree. We – non picture takers – felt immediately at ease with him, which was ideal because he would be in our faces all.day.long. Not to mention, my Darling Husband is sorta on the shy side socially, and I knew he needed to feel comfortable with a camera in his face. He LOVED our photog. He told us all the right things, wanted to get to know US as people, not clients, and compared to our other meetings, seemed more trust worthy.
2) His package was all or nothing. Some people may hate it, but we loved it. We did not have to decide if we wanted to add engagement photos, because they were included. With the other vendors, things like that were ‘add-on’s, and I believe we would have talked ourselves out of doing them to save money (because we are that kind of people :)). PS: the e-shots were an added benefit for us to do. I would recommend them to a) get used to their style/work, and b) to get used to being pictured for your wedding day!
3) As part of his package he had things that the others did not. One, his package was not based upon set hours. He started when we wanted him too, and ended when he felt the time was ready (Or, in his words, when the guests were too drunk to take pics at the reception). For us, he started at 830am, and walked out of our reception at 9:30pm. That is 11-hours of footage, no problem. Two, he was willing to drive to multiple locations, namely at the spots where I got ready, and where Darling Husband got ready. The other photogs we interviewed stated we needed to add an extra person/assistant (for another add-on cost), because it was not feasible for the one we were hiring to do that. I am pretty sure it was, because ours did it, and did it well.
4) Presentation: The proof were in his pictures he showed us. All different, but all captured the same things we wanted. When it came time to us deciding on the ‘where’ we wanted to go, I told him for our wedding shots I wanted a more urban feel. He chose the place, and it was perfect.
Did we spend a pretty penny on him? Yes. I know I could have gone ‘cheaper’, but not by much, once I added the extra coverage, the e-shots, the second shooter, etc. I guess people can go wrong in picking the photographer that ends up not meeting their needs, but I think if you pick based upon what I listed above, you will be very happy. I ADORE our pictures!!!