You're not apt to be a very good wedding photographer the first time out.
What you can do is capture some of the photographs that the wedding photographer may miss.
He or she can't be everywhere, nor does the photographer know the family relationships as you do.
Read through the tips on the following websites.
Look through wedding and wedding photographer websites.
As you do so, make a list of what you want and your expectations.
Two prominent considerations are the style and B&W or color.
Photographers may bill themselves as following a traditional (posed) or documentary style (candids).
Most probably do a mixture of the two styles depending on your wishes.
The photographer, using digital cameras, will photograph the wedding in color.
The color files can always be converted to B&W later.
Will the photographer in front of you be the one photographing your wedding?
In addition to viewing the photographer's portfolio, ask to see the albums or slideshows of entire weddings.
As you look at the photographs, did the photographer capture the:
• Moods of the event
• Details, such as place settings, flowers, and other decorations
Look at the lighting.
Glare on people closer to the camera is unavoidable occasionally, but shouldn't be common.
The lighting will be better if the photographer or an assistant hold the flash off of the camera.
By doing so, wrinkles can be mitigated (hold flash closer to camera), and people without wrinkles can be lighted with some shadows, to make them look more three dimensional.
How will the photographer know that Aunts Tillie and Millie haven't spoken to each other in thirty years?
How will the photographer know to grab the young man hanging out with the others, and pair him with his fiance, who is elsewhere?
The photographer should ask you to assign someone from both families who can spend time with the photographer at the reception and other events to point out who to photograph, and who the people should be posed with.
You may also want to provide the photographer with a list of must-get photographs.
If your photographer uses a documentary style, inquire if the traditional posed photographs are doable, if you desire such.
Inquire about the stability of printing materials.
Photographic materials fade, and deteriorate in other ways, over time.
Dye-coupled prints (C-prints), are much more stable than they were years ago, and some inkjet prints are very stable.
The materials used to display your photographs should be stable, as well.
The term archival means the materials won't damage the photographs.
For example, mattes made from cardboard containing acid will discolor your prints.
If you'll receive a DVD of your photographs, backup the files to your hard drive.
Also backup to a different location in case of fire, flood, burglary, or other calamity.
As the technology changes, you must not postpone migrating the files to the current storage medium.
Ten years from now, many young people will not know what a DVD is, as the technology will have changed.
Today's DVD will be like a floppy disk.
Derek Baker has an extensive list of questions at How to Choose a Wedding Photographer.