Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your big day. Here are some tips to ensure you get the photographs of your dreams.

1. Start the selection process early. Some wedding photographers book 6 months to a year out, or longer.

2. Realize that you get what you pay for. It’s important to remember that this is an important day. You don’t want to sacrifice quality for saving money.

3. Choose someone reputable. Sure, there are a lot of photographers out there. In the age digital cameras, Photoshop and Facebook business pages, just about anyone can claim to be a professional photographer. Make sure you get to view multiple wedding galleries of the photographer and ask for references. Remember, professional photographers pay for insurance, taxes, advertising, shipping and studio expenses which make their prices may higher. Trust me, it’s worth it.

4. Tell the photographer exactly what you’re looking for. A good photographer will tell you what will look good and what won’t, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

5. A good photographer will use editing software to get rid of an unsightly blemish, remove stray hairs and make colors look vibrant. Be wary of photographers who over edit photographs. It’s important that, on your wedding day, you still resemble yourself!

6. Ask about wedding packages. Most photographers have wedding packages that include the bridal portraits, pre-wedding festivities, wedding ceremony and reception photographs.

7. Find out how many photos the photographer will provide you with from the wedding and how they will be delivered. As a general rule, a photographer will deliver 50-100 photographs from your wedding. Ask about the cost of prints vs. digital files.

8. Ask questions. Ask a LOT of questions. How many weddings has he/she photographed? What is his/her style of photography? Do they edit photographs? Do they bring an assistant to shoot as well?

9. Make a list of photographs and poses that you would like to make sure are shot. Give that list to the photographer to make sure he/she understands and feels comfortable with your requests. There are many resources online for wedding photography checklists. Print one out and use it.

10. Price! Price! Price! Make sure you completely understand the cost of your photography and what is included. There will be upfront deposits to reserve the photographer and a final payment. Make sure to make final payment arrangements before your big day.