A good wedding photographer:
1. Will work on the wedding day timeline closely with the couple and planner, making sure everyone knows the timing and allows enough time for what the photographer needs.
They should provide a rough timeline for you as well as family list to guide you
2. Will organize groups for photos quickly, including family photos so you can get back to enjoying the party
3. Will help style details where needed and even works on the overall aesthetic with the couple throughout the wedding planning process
This includes helping the couple know where the best lighting is to place themselves (aka the ceremony) and decor
A good photographer will even move details around on the wedding as they see fit to give you the best photos
4. Will keep things on time and flowing throughout the day
This doesn't mean being pushy, but it means being assertive and reminding the couple of times of the events throughout the day.
It also means weaving in extra time into the day so if things run late, the photographer still has plenty of time.
5. Isn't cheap! Years of experience + being really good at their craft + running a full time business (meaning clients are 100% the priority) = a higher price tag. But at the end of the day, you walk away with your memories and your photos (and video!) so don't skimp on the final wedding day product, your photos.
Think of photography (and videography) as an investment, and if you need to, find cheaper ways to make other parts of your day happen. The less you spend on wedding photography, the less you're going to get out of it and you may not feel like a priority to that photographer as they most likely have another job. The more you spend, the more the photographer prioritizes YOU and wants your day to be just as good as you do.
Clients need to understand that being a full time wedding photographer (and videographer) in California means that we aren't cheap. If you want us to have good quality equipment and also live a normal life which includes owning a house, having a reliable car to get to your wedding, etc., it comes with us earning a salary equivalent to those who work any other full time job.
I always say a good wedding photographer can make a cheaper wedding look grand, but a cheap wedding photographer will make an expensive wedding look cheap.