Picasso said: Good artists copy; Great artists steal. In essence, all art is just stolen and modified. This is true of photography as well.
A truly skilled photographer is a master of discretion. They take in mass amounts of images and styles and curate their own style from the revolving buffet of imagery seen every day. Think about your instagram feed. How much of the same looking images do you see? There is a good reason. It’s because people like it, and the photographer has realized it and adopted this style! Everyone has their own taste in aesthetics, just like food, and some tastes are fairly universal; like vanilla.
Vanilla ice cream is good, I enjoy vanilla ice cream, but I also want to enjoy a fine meal on occasion. If I am going to spend lots of money on a special occasion, I might expect a more sophisticated dessert than soft serve ice-cream.
Then again, some people don’t want to stand out. If you think all photography is the same, if you can’t discern quality, then I suggest you go with the best deal or hire the least expensive photographer. This is the only way you will feel like you have received value.
Even if you aren’t trained in the critique of photography, you are likely an adept consumer of media. What is it about some photos that just make you stop? The photos that transport you to another place? The photos that make you FEEL something? When choosing a photographer, trust this above all. Your taste!
You are paying good money for your photos, make sure you are getting a tiramisu not soft serve ice-cream (Unless soft serve ice-cream is your favorite!)
I like this videos take on creativity.