When choosing photographers, my fiance and I compared different businesses based on criteria that we distilled from blogs, wedding planning books, and advice from friends. The criteria and analysis:
(1) PORTFOLIO -- after surfing web galleries...
and Facebook and Instagram, we knew what kinds of shots we admired... our tastes didn't fit neatly in a genre such as "fine art" or "photojournalism" but spanned across the trends and the creative and the spontaneous. For us, Glass Slipper Photography ("GSP") beat out other award-winning and Yelp-favorited photographers because of their open-mindedness as artists. Not all photographers are as comfortable with trying new things or taking too much direction. GSP has an out-dated website but won us over because of versatility. They tailor shots to each couple for looks that are honest and natural... not too staged, not too sappy. It was also persuasive to see that GSP has done lots of architectural work because my fiance and I value the backdrop as much as we do portraiture.
(2) TOTAL COST -- we had already chosen Mendocino as the wedding location, but we reached out to 20 photography businesses (based on portfolios) from LA County, SF Bay Area, Napa/Sonoma, and Mendocino/Fort Bragg. Still tough to shop around because weddings go big in all of these regions! Like most young couples, we are in a financially sensitive time of life - then add on student loans due and professional certifications still in progress - and our plight was not even just facing the huge wedding industry. GSP stood out to us here because of candor, kindness in our discussions as Baqi tailored a package for us. More flexible than even a la cart options from other businesses, GSP was less focused on numbers but prioritized making us feel like what we want was achievable. (How awesome is that, to turn a discussion of how to afford into a discussion of how to achieve our dream wedding!)
(3) PERSONALITY FIT -- Baqi has a can-do attitude and is motivated by love stories and celebration, so it really kept the wedding planning process grounded. It didn't feel like work ever. Baqi is very flexible mostly because he has the desire to try new things and make discoveries. We didn't met Natalia until later (she's every bit as genuine) but we were already persuaded by their being husband and wife... Who wouldn't want the sweet energy of a married couple who are good at being a team to set the tone for you and yours? Another couple with years since their wedding would be documenting ours assured that there would be some timeless quality of what we'd like to see when looking back on our big day.
(4) SKILL LEVEL -- For a wedding in Mendocino, coastal weather conditions and unique landscape often serve up overcast or inclement weather, so we were inclined to trust the job to local photographers. Then, we got to see Baqi & Natalia's range when asking them to do our engagement photos in San Francisco! Baqi was very professional and thorough in planning with us to maximize the length of our photoshoot. He studied my Pinterest boards, marked up maps, arrived early AND stayed late on every occasion, dared to climb for shots, and demonstrated amazing editing skills for random strangers in the background or unfortunate light reflections.
...It cannot be underscored how much all of these factors matter and how tirelessly perfectionist Baqi & Natalia are in each final shot!!