How do I choose the best wedding photographer?

Look no further. Oprah praised us as "fabulous photographers capturing every moment." But seriously, you should choose a wedding photographer whose work stops you and makes an emotional impact. Here are some tips on how to choose a great wedding photographer:

1) Ask around for referrals: A personal referral from friends or family can be a great place to start.

2) Browse websites and portfolios: Review the online portfolios for photographers you're considering and think about how their images make you feel. Wedding photos are all about light, composition, and emotion.

3) Look beyond the bride and groom: Keep in mind that you're looking for a photographer who can do more than just make the bride and groom look fantastic. It takes an intuitive, experienced photographer with photojournalistic skills to capture the feel of the event, take beautiful, candid shots of family and guests, and orchestrate all the necessary details and logistics. Some photographers might be great with posed shots, and not necessarily with candid shots.

4) Go for experience: If a photographer's portfolio looks like it all came from the same wedding, that might indicate inexperience. To ensure you get the best possible photographs and that your event goes smoothly, look for experienced photographers with broad, varied portfolios. Also, look beyond your venue's "preferred" list of photographers. A talented photographer will be able to work in any location, and you might also avoid getting the same old "canned" shots that a photographer who frequently works a particular venue might offer.

5) Make sure your styles match: Call or schedule an in-person meeting to get a feel for the person behind the camera. Once you know the photographer's availability, ask questions about their work. How would they describe their style? How long have they been photographing events professionally? Is this a full-time business for them? You'll want to choose a photographer who makes you feel comfortable, because you'll be working with that person on one of the most important days of your life. Choose someone who puts you at ease and with whom you connect personally.

6) Meet face-to-face: Once you've narrowed your list to a few candidates, schedule an in-person meeting before you make a final decision. If meeting in person isn't a possibility, consider meeting via FaceTime or Skype. At the very least, schedule some quality phone time to get to know each photographer. Don't be shy about asking questions. The more dialogue you have in advance with your photographer, the more relaxed you're likely to be on the day of your wedding or event.

7) Book 'em early: When you've found "the one," book your photographer as soon as possible. Remember, good photographers get booked well in advance. In our case, we're often booked for large events a year in advance. But we've also accepted mid-week bookings as little as two days before an event. So never hesitate to call and ask.