This is a great question and one we get often. To be honest, the night Brandon and I sat down to official pick our wedding day (over 5 years ago now) we also starting looking into who we wanted to shoot our wedding. The photos of our wedding day were priceless then and even more so today.
We typically say, after the Wedding Venue is booked, invariably the next thing that should be on your list is the Wedding Photographer. However, we have had several couples book us before they have even booked their Wedding Venue. Many in-demand wedding photographers book weddings at over a year out. As it gets closer to your wedding date, it will be harder to book your first-choice photographer.
A huge advantage point to booking your photographer a year or more in advance is having the ability to plan your engagement session 8 months out which then leads to having your Save the Dates 6 months out and ready to send using your engagement photos. And… since we all know summer heat can be merciless, booking more then a year out will also allow you to plan your engagement session during the spring or fall when the weather is cooler.
Honestly, if you are passionate about your wedding photography and have a photographer in mind, then please please please contact them as soon as possible. We (Brandon + I) pesonaly always feel so bad when a couple is sadly disappointed that we are already booked on their date:(
Remember, there are a lot of amazing wedding photographers and sadly the opposite is also very true, so spend time researching your choices. Look at their work + style, does it fit your style + vision? Make sure, personality wise, the photographers fit with you too. A photograph is always so much better when the person taking your photo really connects with who you are. They can then capture your truest self.
And Remember : If your favorite photographer is unavailable on your date, don’t panic. Ask them for recommendations — they may know someone with a similar style and a lighter schedule.