JRecently, I came across another photographers well written point on what you may receive when hiring a wedding photographer, so rather than rewrite it, I'm simply posting his comments for your consideration. The only thing I would add to this is that pricing also has to be comparable to your location. A small town wedding photographer simply cannot compete if they are charging the big city (Toronto, eg) price points, so you need to look and compare photographers from the same locale.
A note to add: my images provided on CD / DVD are all completely edited. You will not receive the unedited version from myself ever!
"When searching for a wedding photographer you will be presented with a complete range of prices and services. So here’s the question...Are the prices of some wedding photographers too good to be true?Or, are the rest of us seen as being over priced?Because the majority of wedding photographers these days operate with digital cameras what has come about is the phenomenon many have termed "shoot and burn". It's the situation where a photographer shoots your wedding for what’s seen as a bargain deal, burns a CD with all of the images and hands it over at half the price of their competitors. So that’s got to be a great deal, right? Well so it seems, until you decide to get some really nice prints made and you then find out that the files need to be corrected, color balanced or worse still the exposures are too far off to produce a decent quality print. As a buyer of wedding photography, you should know that after the wedding, most professional photographers spend many hours, in front of a calibrated monitor, editing and adjusting the digital files before they go off to the lab or album company for printing. All this work is done to ensure that you get a great quality product celebrating your day. Some photographers claim they can do it in a couple of hours or so, which I know to be true with a few, but only after developing a lot of skill through experience and I might add accurate exposures. But for the majority this just is not true. The idea that you can just send those little files pretty much right off the card, to any old lab and expect to get beautiful results is based on unreality. It’s important to know that making proper exposures with the digital camera is also much more demanding. In the making of a properly exposed image (that will print beautifully) there is much less latitude than in the days of film. In other words, your exposures have to be right on. It's a fact! Ask any other pro photographer who also has experience with both film and digital and they'll tell you the same thing. So while some photographers will spend the hours working on your files (naturally at a cost) those offering cheap services simply won't be, resulting in a poor product.So, when you are searching for your wedding photographer, sometimes a "Great Deal" may not be so great after all. If the price seems too good to be true, the fact is it probably is. As a smart buyer you should ask a lot of questions and look at a lot of prints and not just the price and take a look at the results. I can't tell you how many recently married couples I've talked with, that come up to me while I'm working and tell me how disappointed they were with their own wedding photos. And, it's usually because some photographer pulled the bargain "shoot and burn".Another problem that I hear about is that many couples who go for a “shoot and burn” package is that they receive their disk, they copy the images to their computer and that’s where they remain. The reason being is that when couples get married these days there are just so many details in starting a life together that getting prints developed goes to the back burner.So if you really want quality memories of your wedding day look for the services of a real professional photographer who provide a full wedding package complete with prints and albums. A pro that will spend time following your wedding day to ensure that the final prints and albums you receive really will be cherished by you for years to come." ...Jeff Turnbull