Spotlight | Kate Marchetto

Our first Spotlight goes to Kate Marchetto with MKM Photography. A Spotlight image is one that evokes thought, curiosity, which is well composed and tells a story. The image is selected out The Wedding & Portrait Society’s monthly image competition. Each month the Spotlight image will help up us all learn and grow by breaking it down and finding out how it was created.

WPS: Kate thank you so much for participating in this. So, tell us the backstory of this image (directly below) and how did it come to be?

Kate: This couple, Kate and Tim, initially started talking and fell in love through their mutual love of cars, Camaros specifically. I don’t know Tim’s car-lovin’ history, but Kate’s started when she was a little girl. Her dad had a 1969 Camaro SS that he fixed and maintained, and he got Kate involved with the car’s upkeep. He died when she was young, and, shortly thereafter, Kate’s mom unfortunately had to sell the car. Kate kept the sweet memories she shared with her dad in her heart, and kept up a love for Camaros until the present day–she and Tim bought a new Camaro last year.

About a week before their engagement session, Tim called me to let me in on a surprise he was planning for Kate. Knowing how much the car meant to her, Tim had tracked down the current owner of Kate’s dad Camaro and arranged for her to bring the car out to his family’s farm property in McLeansville on the day of our session.

Long story short, Kate was stunned. Everyone present was overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment, myself included. Kate cried for probably a full ten minutes, both flooded with memories and overcome by Tim’s kindness and love in doing something so sweet and meaningful for her. The particular moment represented in this image occurred after Kate had finally sat down inside her dad’s old car–the current owner handed Kate a little packet of papers which included a card that Kate had made for her dad when she was little

© MKM Photography 2015,
© MKM Photography

WPS: I understand you were aware of the concept prior to the shoot. What was your expectation going into it?

Kate: Although I’m bad at it, I do try to keep a lock on my expectations in order to fully experience a moment however it happens to unfold. (It’s why First Looks can be so charged for me–if the couple has a lukewarm reaction to seeing each other, it bums me out!) I definitely expected shock and awe, but I was caught off guard by the depth of everyone else’s emotions. Tim was in tears leading Kate up to the car and unveiling his surprise; Tim’s mom was in tears filming the moment on her cell phone; Kate’s friend, who had done Kate’s hair and makeup for the session, was in tears taking video on Kate’s cell phone. It was really a testament to how important these memories are to Kate and Tim’s community as a whole.

© MKM Photography 2015
© MKM Photography

WPS: Let’s get to the touching image. Why, out of all the images, did you select this one?

Kate: Of all the images I have surrounding this moment, this one is the most raw. You can see the tears–and mascara–streaming down Kate’s face. Tim is still emotional himself and is trying to pass some sweetness on to her–he knows he did an important thing for her, but it’s still difficult knowing that you caused your loved one to weep so much. With the papers and the letters and Kate in the car, this was, to me, the most emotionally charged image, and it captures the intensity of the whole occurrence.

© MKM Photography 2015,
© MKM Photography

WPS: What did you learn about yourself with this session?

Kate: I could say that I learned I’m bad at waiting, but I already knew that. I was so impatient for the car to arrive on site so we could have this amazing moment! I learned that I am not great at using a car as a prop / backdrop, so that’s an opportunity for me going forward. Oddly, though, I also learned that I might be slower to emotionally invest in my clients than I thought. Like most of us, connecting with my clients and getting to know them is extremely important to me, and it usually leads to me crying at all the big moments on their wedding days: first look with Dad, moment alone with BFF, toast by normally aloof sibling, etc. If this had happened on Kate & Tim’s wedding day–in other words, after an additional year of relationship building–I probably would have sobbed along with the rest of the crowd. Of course, I could chalk up my feeling of emotional distance to being five weeks pregnant and simultaneously hungry and queasy throughout our entire session…

WPS: What would you do differently and advice you would give other photographers if they ever experience this?

Kate: My first inclination is always to encourage solitude and separation–keep people away and allow the moment to be about the couple and their connection in such a charged moment. But sometimes I have to quash that impulse, like in this case: I’m sure Kate and Tim are extremely pleased to have two video records of this event–me wishing people weren’t over my shoulder is not the same thing as wanting what my couple wants out of a moment. In other words, I need to work on adjusting my mindset when shooting in situations like this. (But really: people need to not be over my shoulder. Come on, y’all.)
As for advice, as with most situations, communication is key. I am so, so glad that Tim called me and told me what he was planning–he asked for my advice about when in the session it would make the most sense to reveal his surprise, how we could best work it out, etc. I love that I have the kinds of relationships with my clients that encourage them to be open with me and bring me into their loops. Even more, I love that it fosters the kind of trust that allows them to feel comfortable bawling their eyes out in front of me! Emotional investment is a difficult burden to bear–when you love hard, you risk getting burned hard–but the more emotionally connected you are to a client, and thus to their experiences, the more honestly you’re able to represent moments like this one when they come along.

© MKM Photography 2015,
Kate is a wedding and portrait photographer in the Raleigh / Durham area.


Click on the images below to view the images in detail