The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a professional photographer, I will definitely have to say that I don't completely agree with this saying.
In today's world, all pictures are not worth a penny with a hole in it. Let alone a thousand words. Maybe 20 words, if that, and that's me being nice. What happens when you pay a significant amount of money for professional photography services and your photo says "nothing"?
Here are a few tips on making sure you get your money's worth:
Style: All photographers have specific shooting style. There is a look that all of these have. Decide if you like.
Samples: If they sell it, you should see it. Always ask to see their sample or portfolios. You want to make sure they can reproduce the style and that they're consistent. You want to make sure you're getting your money's worth.
Communication: If you aren't the one asking questions, your photographer should. They should ask questions pertaining to the photo shoot ie style or dress, inside or outside, individual or family portraits, what is the photo needed for, digitals or physical prints.
Reviews: Reviews are like referrals or testimonies. You want to see testimonies from previous clients. You want to make sure that person is good at what they say they're good at.
Comfort: Make sure whomever is involved is comfortable with the photographer. It's always best to make sure you and the photographer vibe well.
Flexibility: You want a photographer who's willing and able to work under any conditions and who works well under pressure. It would be amazing to have a photographer who has lots of patience.
All in all, as I mentioned above, you want your photographer to possess all of these qualities. You're photos should be created, and not taken. In the end, you should be left with a photograph of legacy.