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Next weekend we are shooting the wedding of Chloe & Hayden which is being held in a small church in Pauatahanui and in planning for it I met with the bride & groom and carried out a small pre-shoot with them starting at the church and then moving onto some of the locations that i have planned to use for the formals.

Now some photographers refer to this as an engagement shoot but personally I clearly state that it is a pre-shoot, because I believe that they are fundamentally different.

To me an engagement shoot  happens as soon as the contract to do the wedding has been signed which may many months before the wedding. The purpose is solely to allow the photographer and couple to get comfortable with each other. as such the location is irrelevant.

A pre-shoot has a similar goal to enable a rapport to be established between the couple and the photographer plus to plan for the actual shots on the day. When I book a pre-shoot I try to arrange it for a location close to the where we will be shooting on the day and if possible shoot at the same time. That lets me determine where the light is coming from and what issues I am likely to run into.

It is also a good opportunity to try out poses with the couple, and to see whether they like the locations your are thinking about. It is also a great opportunity to sort out transport issues on the day, rather than when you have a large wedding party in tow.

The shots below are a selection from the pre-shoot and in captions I have outlined what the situation I was looking for.

While the B&G do not want a photo of all the people at the wedding, the largest family group shot will have 25 people. We determine that this lawn area in front of the church will be fine for that. While it is in front of the graveyard the people will cover those.

While the B&G do not want a photo of all the people at the wedding, the largest family group shot will have 25 people. We determine that this lawn area in front of the church will be fine for that. While it is in front of the graveyard the people will cover those.

The day of the pre-shoot had little cloud and that enabled me to determine that the bride's eyes are very susceptible to light. We will have to watch shot taken facing the afternoon sun.

The day of the pre-shoot had little cloud and that enabled me to determine that the bride’s eyes are very susceptible to light. We will have to watch shot taken facing the afternoon sun.

Same location but this time the couple are being shaded with a diffusion panel.

Same location but this time the couple are being shaded with a diffusion panel.

This walkway will be used in the formals. The couple loved it. The road beside it can be quite busy and those timing will be needed to ensure no cars in the shots. There is also a real estate sign on the fence that needs to be eliminated.

This walkway will be used in the formals. The couple loved it. The road beside it can be quite busy and those timing will be needed to ensure no cars in the shots. There is also a real estate sign on the fence that needs to be eliminated.

Finally a macro shot of the ring. Chloe wanted to see whether a clean would be in order to get the best sparkle out of it

Finally a macro shot of the ring. Chloe wanted to see whether a clean would be in order to get the best sparkle out of it