You've just signed your wedding photography contract, put your trust in someone you possibly just met, and are spending thousands of dollars on a product you have little control over. That is a lot of commitment! How do you know you're getting the most value out of your hired photographer?
Use your photographer as a resource
Your photographer knows others that do great work in the industry. If you're in need of vendor recommendations, just ask them! They will happily refer you to people they trust, which takes away stress from your decision making.
If you want a second opinion on an idea, or the timing of events, ask away! Since your photographer has been to many more weddings than the average person they know what's a for sure hit, and what generally flops.
Limit your shooting locations
If your photographer has to spend time traveling between locations such as a hair salon, wedding venue, first look location, then back to the venue on your wedding day, you're paying them to travel during that time, not photograph. Weddings that have the portraits, ceremony, and reception all in one place will get you the most bang for you buck.
No need for you to stress about where to take portraits, either. Your photographer will be sure to scout out your venue on the day of your wedding for their preferred lighting and backgrounds. A great photographer can make any location look awesome since beautiful images are 90% about lighting.
Hire a wedding planner
A wedding planner takes care of the schedule, timing, wrangling family, and so on. They do it ALL which allows your photographer to focus on giving you their full creativity. Plus it makes the day run smoother and allows them to capture more! Hiring a wedding planner is a win all around!
Do an engagment session
By purchasing an engagement session with your wedding package you get to experience what taking photos with your photographer will be like on your wedding day. Think of it as a test run. You'll get to see how you and your photographer work together, you get a chance to practice modeling, see how your hair holds up after a bit of shooting, and as a bonus — you now have guestbook and save the date material! All of this works together to reduce the amount of stress you'll have about being in photos on your wedding day.
Purchase a wedding album
Yes, it's possible to make a wedding album yourself, but this is not the time for a DIY project. You just spent thousands on these photograph and thousands more on the wedding. Buy an album that accurately reflects the beauty of your day. Photographers have tons of practice making albums, so they know the best designs, flow and products. They also have access to top of the line products that will last for generations. If you're spending money on wedding photography make sure you have something to show for it afterwards!
Take advantage of this advice and you'll definitely be getting all the value you can from you photographer!