You simply can't place a value on an experienced professional on a wedding. Your photographer needs to know what will happen before it does, anticipate moments, be flexible on the spot, know how to help you schedule your day-of time-line, and be able to conquer any lighting condition. I would say that about 50-100 weddings is what it takes to acquire and perfect these skills and intuitions. Here are some questions to ask:
- Have you ever done a wedding like mine?
Note, it doesn't matter if they've done a wedding at your venue. Because of changing light and circumstantial situations, that's really irrelevant to an experienced photographer. But having them have experience in your type of wedding (Jewish, traditional, Ethnic, etc.) can mean the difference of them knowing what shots to get.
- What do you do when ________?
Fill in the blank with any crazy thing you think might happen on your wedding day and see if the photographer can think on their toes!
- Do you put together family photos?
Your photographer should discuss with you what family shots you want before the wedding and make suggestions as to what shots to get based on your family members and the amount of time you have for pictures. This shouldn't be your job the day of! I make sure to go over this with all of my brides well before the wedding.
- Do you have a videographer/cinematographer you work with regularly?
You'll want your visual artists to be in-sync the day of so that they don't get in each other's way, but instead better your final product by working together. I'd say my cinematographer husband and I have this down pat!