Chicago couple Amelia and David first met in law school, and as young lawyers tend to be, they’re pretty focused on their careers right now. So, when they were batting around themes for their engagement photos, David joked that they should do them in a courtroom. Photographer Michael Novo knew how to turn that joke into something rather glamorous.
“This is not exactly a dream shoot for a photographer,” Novo tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “You look at places in Chicago, and you’ve got thousands of amazing locations that you can shoot at. Now, you’re just in a room with chairs.”
Novo did try to persuade the couple to do something a little less confined, with a whole storyline showing a day in the life of two attorneys who had to battle it out in court before the judge ordered them to get married. Amelia and David nixed that idea.
“We’re silly and cheesy all the time, so I wanted photos that were classic and beautiful and sweet,” Amelia tells Yahoo.
That’s when Novo came up with what he calls a Mad Men style of shoot. And no, that doesn’t mean they were dressed in ’60s costumes and playing ad exec and secretary among mid-century modern furniture. It’s a subtler take on the aesthetic of the series.
“I think [it’s about] the angles, the sharpness, the color palette that’s used in the show, which is not very vibrant colors,” Novo explained. “It’s very much in an office space.”
David worked his connections to get the use of a courtroom.
“I had actually tried a case before the judge whose courtroom we used earlier in the year,” he said. Since her courtroom was going to be closed for renovations, she gave them the green light. (For security and professional reasons, the couple asked that we not use their last name, nor those of the courthouse or the judge in question.)
To get the right vibe for this shoot, Novo asked the couple questions about their jobs and then asked them to flirt with each other. He managed to make the photos glamorous while still retaining their individual personalities.
“I rarely say something like smile,” he said. “I give actions to get emotions out of people.”
Without following any particular “story,” they played all different roles of judge, witness, and attorney for their pictures.
“We’re both on the defense side of cases, so I don’t think we would actually ever run into each other in court,” David said. “I don’t know if that would be good for marital relations. But it was fun to play around with it a little bit while we were there that day.”
In one photo just outside of the courtroom, Amelia wound up looking on at her fiancé in a way that, well, let’s just say HR wouldn’t approve of.
“I think that’s my weird attempt at a smirk,” she said. Tell that to the jury!
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