OK, so you are going through the portfolios of various photographers but not able to decide which one to go for! I know it’s not that easy when we have so many photographers with different styles and products out there. I will try to break down your problem to help you decide “The best wedding photographer” for your big day.
Before we start, I would recommend you to start the process of hiring a photographer at least 4-6 months (Off season) and 8-10 months (Peak wedding season) before your wedding day.
OK.. Let’s start by following the below steps in sequence:

Best Candid Wedding PhotographerCandid Wedding PhotographerHow to hire best candid wedding photographer under your budget. 1.    Where to start? 
    -    Google.. your best friend
    -    Facebook.. the big daddy of all social media platforms
   -   Top wedding blogs like Weddingsutra, The Big Fat Indian Wedding, Indian Wedding Site, Weddingsonline, Shaadisaga & Canvera’s Photographer directory.     
    -    Word of mouth - Ask for recommendations but don’t follow them blindly: Get the reference from your friends & family but don’t shortlist them without seeing their work. Their work should appeal ‘you’.
        Expected Action from your side: Considering the above criteria, list down all the photographers whose photography styles are appealing to you, whose images you can connect to and can imagine being in one of those frames.

2.    Why not uncle BOB - 

Rohan Mishra Photography A ‘friend’ or a relative, for getting those candid wedding shots?
I understand that it's really difficult for the couple to decide whom to choose for their big day, and find someone who will fit into their budget. Often, the couple make mistake of relying on a ‘friend’ or 'a ‘relative' for getting those candid wedding shots. While this may sound like a good idea, you have to remember that shooting a wedding requires a lot of time and effort (Both before and after the wedding including the post processing work). Firstly, you’re expecting your friend to deprive himself/herself of the fun during your wedding because he or she will be stuck behind the camera, and secondly, you’re giving them a BIG responsibility of getting quality images from hours and hours of celebrations.

Always remember that there is no “TAKE 2” in weddings and a professional wedding photographer knows how to work in such randomly changing situations and has made the investment in skills and equipments to make sure all the wedding pictures are delivered at their best quality.
Candid PhotographyCandid PhotographyBest Candid wedding photography Wedding BaraatWedding BaraatMysore destination wedding Expected Action from your side: Choose a PROFESSIONAL!

3.    How much should I pay?
Well, this is a tough one and varies from person to person but can I ask you one simple question?
The dancing is over now… Haldi is done..Pheras are completed and you have stepped into one of the most beautiful phase of your life..What’s your take home once the Wedding is over.. ?
Did you got those priceless moments captured and preserved in the most beautiful way?

Bride getting readyBride getting readyBride getting ready through the window Haldi CeremonyHaldi CeremonyApplying haldi to the bride

VidaiVidaiBride crying during vidai We generally spend a decent percentage of our wedding budget on bridal wear / groom wear and accessories but we all know that it would be short-lived if it is not captured in the right way at the right time. These may seem insignificant at present but imagine a time twenty years from now, that is when it would matter the most. I am sure you would love to narrate some great stories and amusing incidents to your grandchildren.

Chirpy BrideChirpy BrideBride winking at the camera Haldi CeremonyHaldi CeremonyA candid moment during haldi ceremony Expected Action from your side: Fix your budget but be a little flexible on the pricing at the same time.

4.    List down top 15 photographers (Best one on the TOP)

5.    It’s also about the experience:
Contact the photographers… Don’t forget to talk to them or meet them in person before concluding anything. At the end of the day, they would be the people whom you will be spending most of your wedding day with.. They are just a call away!

      Expected Action from your side:

    -    Contact the photographer (one at a time as per the list prepared in Step 1) through an email listing down all the necessary details like:

  • Type of Wedding (Marwari, Punjabi, Tamil.. etc.)
  • Your contact number
  • Events to be covered (e.g. Haldi, Mehandi, Engagement, Wedding etc.)
  • Dates of the events
  • No. of Days and Hours of Photography service required
  • City in which the event is happening

    -    Get the package options and call/ Skype them to discuss their offerings. This is really crucial for the below reasons:

  • This will help you get to know your photographer and their style of working. You can make out if he/she suits your expected style.
  • Clarify your doubts about the execution and delivery process.
  • In case your favorite photographer sounds costly, talking to them might help you fit them into your budget by revising the number of hours/days of service needed & number of deliverables etc.

    -    In case things don’t work out, move to the next photographer on your list.

Important: The most important point to note is that Engage with one photographer at a time (As per your list) & move to the next one only if things didn’t work out after following the above steps. Now you must be thinking why so? You can shoot a single mail to multiple photographers, compare and choose one…right? Well ‘NO’..

Remember you created photographers list in Step 1 (Best on the top) only because you felt connected to their ART.. You loved those images and now, will it be a wise decision to compare them with other photographers on the basis of secondary factors like number of images/ albums etc?
So stick to the plan.. It’s about choosing the ARTIST whose work appeals you the MOST! 

I hope the above steps will help you hire the best possible ARTIST within your budget.

Additionally, here is a small guide to help you understand the various photography styles currently trending in the market:

Wedding Photojournalism:
Wedding Photojournalists have a “candid, documentary approach – a distinctly artistic vision towards wedding photography. ” – WPJA
A wedding photojournalist typically shoots images quickly using available lights or on-camera flash rather than using traditional, formal posing techniques and studio lights.
Destination wedding at mysoreDestination wedding at mysoreBride getting ready They normally deliver 150-200 pictures over 5-6 hours of photography coverage. 
You should not expect the Group/Party pictures/Posed stage pictures.

Candid Photographer:
Candid Photographer's approach is similar to ‘Wedding Photojournalists’ but they are a more flexible on the image counts and the coverage.
They normally deliver around 250-300 pictures over 5-6 hours of photography coverage.

Fishing the RingFishing the Ringfinding the ring, a traditional game in indian wedding You should not expect the posed stage pictures. They might take few Group/Party pictures of some closed ones.

Destination Wedding Photographer:
When planning a wedding in a city or country with which you are not familiar, asking a photographer you know from your area to travel to the wedding is a wise choice. 
‘Destination wedding photographers’ basically stay with the couple and their closed ones during the celebration at the same location. They make sure that they cover each and every moment you spend with your beloved and your closed ones in the most unobtrusive way.
  Destination wedding photographyDestination wedding photographyDestination wedding at Lalitha mahal palace, mysore Destination wedding at jaipurDestination wedding at Diggi palace JaipurDestination wedding at Diggi palace, Jaipur Destination wedding photographer mysoreDestination wedding photographer mysoreDestination wedding at laltha mahal palace mysore

The Studio: 
A studio generally consists of multiple photographers covering each and every aspect of your wedding in a candid and/or traditional style.

You can expect around 1000-1800 pictures over 5-6 hours of photography coverage. 
From images of people entering, eating, drinking, talking, looking at each other, meeting the bride and groom, posed, stage, and group shots.

You should not expect: The quality that you see from an individual photographer. Always keep in mind that by hiring a photography studio – you are not getting a creative individual, but a team, whose skills can range from below average to remarkable.

Now that you are well aware of the various photography styles, you just need to choose the RIGHT photographer based upon your liking.

I know it requires investing additional time and effort to find the “BEST PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR WEDDING” but it’s totally worth it!

- Rohan Mishra Photography