There is something truly romantic in a setting with bags of history. Tucked up beside the commanding Hatfield House, and behind a smaller but beautifully manicured sculptural garden, is The Old Palace. It is here where I spent some time with this wonderful couple, and captured a little of their infectious chemistry.
Pre-wedding shoots are always a brilliant idea. They help the photographer to get to know how the couple work in front of the camera, and the couple to get used to the photographer and their camera. Being camera shy is more common than you'd expect, and these more informal shoots have always been a great way to calm those nerves. But in this particular case, we killed two birds with one stone, by shooting at the wedding venue where we had just walked out a full recce.
This location is genuinely beautiful, with it's stunning red medieval brickwork, and the historical buildings which huddle in around The Old Palace. Just being near the buildings, gives one a sense of immense history. It doesn't take long before an enthusiastic guide or an excited tourist will point to particular oak tree and say
"That's where the young Queen Elizabeth I was told she was to be Queen". Pretty impressive.
But the true charisma of the place came alive as the sun got closer to the horizon, and the venue emptied of it's ambling tourists and excited children.
I deliberately waited for the quiet. It was only then, that I actually felt the presence of the buildings really speak out. The red bricked walls stretched up and away from Andrew and Zelena, and wherever I left them to chat and giggle together, the buildings and their wealth of detail, moved in and out of focus around them.
There was something quite filmic about the lightness of their chemistry, whispering and skipping across the architecture so dense and heavy with history.
The main house borders on imposing, but here at The Old Palace, there is something more approachable in it's scale (only the main hall survives); it feels like a history you can touch and move through. The texture of the brickwork soaked up the light, where Zelena's white jacket bounced and reflected it.
It's not as easy to photograph a couple out of the wedding context, as it can feel more staged and awkward for the couple. But with some good banter, jokes and fun, these two totally trusted me. If your photographer offers you a pre-wed shoot, snap it up. You will always be thankful for recording your chemistry together, before married life, and before the final manic build up and intensity of the big day.
During this shoot I felt a brilliant dialogue begin between myself, Andrew and Zelena, and the setting manifest. And as I worked, the following quote from 20th Century Sculptor Fernando Botero, rung very true..
"...When you start a painting, it is somewhat outside of you. At the conclusion, you seem to move inside the painting..."