There are many different kinds of photographers in the Dallas area. Keep in mind that the photography arena is not regulated in any meaningful way. Anyone can but some equipment and hang out a shingle saying they will provide photographic services. Just because someone holds a shiny new camera does not make them a professional. Remember what you are hiring someone for. This is biggest day of your life, do you want to trust an amateur with something so valuable? You need to find the right person for your specific job. Below are the things that you must know in order to make that happen.
Once you find out if the photographer you are interested in has your wedding date available on their calendar, you will want to gather some information with some well placed questions during one on one interviews with your candidates. At your meeting, make sure that the person you are across the table from is the actual photographer who would be shooting your wedding. Don't just talk to a studio manager or a liaison, you want face time with the real deal. That way you can get a feel for their personality, yes, you want to actually like your photographer. Also, by meeting with the actual photographer, there will be no miscommunication.
Have a talk about their experience. How did they get started in the business? How many weddings do they do per month. Make sure that the number that they give you is as lead photographer. You need to know if they are a professional who is pursuing this full-time or are they someone who just does this on the side. You want a professional. If they are pursuing a career, they are much more likely to be on top of everything you want. Every wedding is different and by making sure that they have plenty of experience, you will be hiring someone who can adapt to changing situations.
Ask them about their equipment. We realize that much of this will sound like French to you, but you want to get a sense if they understand what they have in their bag and know how to use it. Ask them what they consider to be their style of photography. As they talk about this, make sure you are evaluating if this style meshes with what you are looking for at your wedding.
What kind of packages do they offer? Go over each one and determine which one is close to what you are looking for. If there is anything you are interested in that is not part of a package, see if they are willing to throw it in or if it would cost extra. There is no harm in asking. Something that many couples want is the ability to retouch photographs. Find out about their level of expertise in this arena. Do they offer the option of an assistant or second shooter. If it doesn't cost too much more, this can provide you with some amazing results in terms of picture angles and reaction shots. Here is a big question to ask. What is their backup plan if they should be sick or or not able to make it to your wedding for whatever reason.
When discussing cost and booking, find out how much of a deposit you need to put down and then how the payment schedule works after that. Have them give you a sample contract and take it home to read it in detail to make sure there is nothing hidden that you will not be happy with. Asking all of these questions before you book a photographer will help you make the right choice for your special day.