You hire a professional photographer for their experience. What does that mean? Their ability to use the camera? Their years of running a business? It's really so much more.
The most important thing you can look for is Variety! How many different poses, lighting scenarios, formal vs candid, color vs black-and-white, dramatic vs light and airy. The majority of photographers are good at one or two, better photographers have picked up a few more but a true professional has mastered all.
In a quick, easy and efficient way a photographer should be able to walk you through a session that includes as many varieties of shots as possible. Sometimes in the same pose the settings on the camera and flash can be changed in a couple seconds to create a totally different look.
So, when researching photographers actually look at the galleries. Don't just look at a few nice shots from several different clients - look at one clients gallery and see just how different the shots are in that one clients gallery. If they're all natural light only - run. If they're all the same light recipe - run. If they're all the same pose - run. If they look like they could have been taken with a phone - run.
Learn to identify what makes a good picture. Then reach out to us. :)