I think it all comes down to storytelling. Each photographer has a personal take on the best way to tell a story through photos. The way a photographer perceives storytelling is going to inform what they take photos of, how they take them, where they are when the important events happen, and everything else in between. And there are a few variables that photographers manipulate that will make all the difference from one portfolio to the next:
On here, you listed there will be a “part two” that “will have recommendations for those on a tight budget” and for those using a Canon. Personally, I’m just wondering when you might be posting the info on a tight budget? My dad used to be a photographer and can probably recommend a lower end camera that still works great, but I would like to see what you recommend. (:
You've put an incredible amount of time and energy into planning your wedding—naturally, you want the resulting photographs to reflect that. Ensuring that your big day is masterfully documented begins with choosing the photographer that's right for you in terms of media type, general aesthetic, and experience. That last point is key: A veteran wedding photographer ultimately knows how to manipulate light, work a crowd, and keep you comfortable in front of the camera. Ideally, you shouldn't worry about the photos they're taking or how they're taking them—the bond between the couple and their photographer should always come down to trust.
Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.
There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.