In this age of technology where every moment, every real emotion and every memory can already be captured by video and photograph stills can be produced from the video footage itself, what is standard photography for? Search your soul. Do you really want your wedding party standing in a straight line like prim and proper elementary students and get the same tired shots as all the others have or would you opt to be adventurous and prefer an artistic interplay of composition, light, color, texture, tone contrast, elements and drama, mood, emotion, intimacy or intensity?
If you hire a professional photographer, that means you trust his creativity and have faith in his ability to capture, freeze and immortalize your memories. If you hand him a list of must-have pictures, it is almost like slapping an insult to his face. Any photographer worth his or her weight in lenses should be able to do better than rely on a list. Better still, he must be able to produce original and creative shots that are not an echo of a hundred weddings before yours.
A good photographer is not just one who knows how to tinker with his DSLRs to ISO 6400 or beyond, hit the shutter at the right time and orchestrate good formal poses - he must have an extraordinary artistic eye to see and capture special and candid moments. Furthermore, an excellent photographer should be able to produce different masterpieces for every contract and looks forward to creating more.
Not everyone can afford a good photographer and the most fatal mistake that most couple make for this (usually) once in a lifetime event is purchase inexpensive photography based solely on price tags. More often than not however, you often get exactly what you pay for.
The moment you realize that mistake, a whole, unique, memorable day of your life has drifted by in the blink of an eye. You don't place price tags on your memories, do you? Once you've lost the moment, you have forever lost the chance to have a true professional capture your life.
Don't get me wrong - high quality is not synonymous to exorbitant prices. The key is having the eye to spot a good one when you see one. So use your intuition and built-in savoir-faire when you browse through a photographer's portfolio. It's really simple. Go over lists of must-have wedding photos that you can find online. If you see the same dead-beat shots from one wedding to another without any variation, then it's time to look elsewhere. A good portfolio must include candid, compelling and aesthetically pleasing compositions.
A photographer who sticks to his list will never capture mementos such as those. I'm not saying that you have to do away with those formal shots, what I'm saying is that your choice of a photographer must transcend the ordinary to immortalize rare, precious moments that can never be reenacted.
Long after most of your wedding gifts are worn out and broken, these silent witnesses to your most memorable celebration of life and love will continue to hang on your walls and grace your foyers as family and guests look back to the laughter of yesteryears.