Hi! I'm Kelly Manno, a photographer based out of St. Louis Missouri. I started this blog back in 2006 to document my weekly photography adventures and before I knew it...people were actually reading it. Check back often for a peek at recent sessions or a funny story about my kids. If you would like to learn more about my photography services, visit my Kelly Manno Photography website.

June 3, 2015

~ Nicole and Grant ~ Married! Kelly Manno Photography

Question: "Are you related to Mike Manno?"  - Me: Which one? There are 3 of them :) 
Question: "Are you related to Paul Manno?" - Me: Yes, like all 10 of them :)

I married into a large Italian family and sometimes I feel like I am related to half of Missouri. But I know for SURE that this beautiful bride is my husband's cousin, Nicole Manno, now Nicole Reed.  And yes, her Dad is one of the many Mike Mannos. 


Everything was pretty rushed at the hotel and I had about 2 minutes and literally 5 square feet of space to shoot some bridal beauty shots of Nicole. 

Lucky for her, I work great under pressure. 
Lucky for me, she was stunning. 

The Groom wasn't too bad himself. They look like the Ken & Barbie bride and groom you buy at the store, right?
Grant and Nicole had 2 Best Men and 2 Maids of Honor so we had plenty of 
heartwarming and hysterical toasts to get us through the evening. 
I just love this picture. 
Congratulations Nicole and Grant, I have so many more beautiful photos to share with you!


May 17, 2015

~ There is a last time for everything ~

Remember, in parenting, there is a last time for everything. There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time. They will fall asleep on you after a long day and it will be the last time you hold them sleeping. One day you will carry them on your hip, or over your shoulder, then set them down and never pick them up again. The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time until there are no more times, and even then, it will take you a while to realize. So while you are living in these times remember there are only so many of them ahead, and when they are gone you will yearn for just one more day of them.  For one last time.  - Author Unknown






It was our first year of marriage when I walked into our living room and found my new husband crying on the couch. I started to feel numb when I asked him what was wrong, just dreading whatever terrible news he was about to deliver. He pointed to the television where Entertainment Tonight was doing a reunion special on "The Golden Girls"...insert a few minutes of genuine confusion until I accepted that my new husband was indeed crying over a Goldens Girls reunion.  I think I threw a pillow at him for scaring the hell out of me and then instantly started making fun of him.  

In his defense, it was a special on the oldest Golden Girl who was battling dementia, so it was indeed sad, but still, who the hell cries over a Golden Girls reunion? Apparently my new husband.

From then on out we've always declared him the more emotional one in the marriage.  He wears it proudly, clearly outcrying me when all 3 babies were born, and when we buried our family dog. 

It's not like I have a heart of stone, I do cry once in a while, but my brain is wired wrong and I cry when I'm mad instead of sad. 

So imagine my suprise last week at Libby Lu's pre-school graduation when I lost my sh*t.  Like, really lost it.  And just like the beautiful words above said...I didn't even see it coming...  

"The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time until there are no more times, and even then, it will take you a while to realize"

My baby graduated from pre-school and it snuck up on me like a snake in the grass. Maybe because I've been so busy celebrating...gloating even, that I'm this close to having all 3 kids in school...all day.   

I've been invisioning my days ahead...lying on the couch, still in my pajamas, reading a book, watching Wendy Williams in peace and quiet while eating Cheetos that I don't have to share. My house is clean because there isn't anyone home to mess it up. Maybe I'll go to the grocery store by myself, paint my nails and actually let them dry, take a shower that lasts longer than 3 minutes, hopefully I remember how to shave my legs?
(Peace Sign & Duck face from the stage is the universal sign in our family for "I see you mom")

But when last Wednesday rolled around the only thing that was on my mind was getting her to the graduation ceremony on time, and not on "Manno time."  We were in a hurry, as always, put away the dogs, lock up the house...we had to take separate cars because we were going separate places afterwards, had to find Rocky a ride to baseball, and oh crap we need to make a pit stop to get her some flowers. 

We made it right on time- I rushed her into the back room of the church where her awesome teachers were waiting with her cap and gown.  I started getting her dressed, which wasn't an easy feat. The gown was white and not ours to keep, and she was wearing lipgloss and mascara so we had to be gentle, but her gigantic Manno-size head wouldn't fit in the freaking neck hole and the zipper was stuck.  It eventually gave way.  But then I had to squeeze her big melon into a cap that said "one size fits all," which might as well say "This will not fit a Manno-size head."  It was so tight it pushed her eyebrows down like Bert from sesame street.  But who cares! She was dressed! Success! Time to join my family in the sanctuary and enjoy the program.  

I stepped back to see her head-to-toe and admire my hard work.

It didn't really hit me until that moment what she would look like in her little cap and gown. Of course she struck a pose, tilting her head so those curls just billowed down her shoulder and a big smile crept across her face. She took my breath away. Literally. And with zero warnings, the floodgates opened. Like a tsunami from my stomach straight to stinging in the back of my eyes as I nearly bit a hole in my lip trying to stop the ugly cry from coming. 
I thought I composed myself enough to join my family in the sanctuary, but judging from the looks on their faces I didn't do it well. I tried to talk but only baby dinosaur noises came out. 

All I could think about was how ridiculous I looked to the other parents, they were emotional too but I was the only one nearly dry heaving in the pew. a

Even my mom was like, "Kelly pull yourself together!" and I vaguely remember Aunt Patti taking a picture of me crying with her phone-LOL

Luckily I remembered I had gotten a spray tan a few hours earlier and didn't want to streak it, so that helped me suck it up.  The kids started singing.  At some point in between songs I caught my husband's attention and mouthed the words "I want more babies," and he mouthed back, "No I just bought you a pig."
I don't really have a pretty bow to tie on the end of this post.  My babies are growing up, it's really hard, and I just wanted to say it out loud. Thanks for letting me share. 

But I'll end with a cute moment from her ceremony.  Enjoy the shaky cell phone video. Sure, it's cute that she answers "A bear," but I'm more proud of the Beavis and Butthead moment she has once she sits down with her friends... "Huh, huh...I said Bear!"


May 11, 2015

~ Luci's talent show ~

When the flyer came home for the school talent show, I knew she would want to do it.  I suggested a duet with her Dad and she agreed.  Somewhere along the way Rocky got added in too.  But then her ideas started to grow...and grow...and before I knew it I was asking a Vietnamese tailor - who spoke very little english - to cut a dress completley in half, and ordering confetti cannons on Amazon.
As I moused over "add to cart" and clicked, I was fairly certain I'd be the only parent bringing confetti cannons to the school talent show and I was okay with that.

A little much? Yes.  Over the top? Yes.  

But I make no apologies for my parenting, or encouraging her shenanigans. 

Look, truth be told, she asked for fireworks, people.  I talked her down to confetti.  And I only talked her down to confetti because pyrotechnics are a fire hazard.  If I thought the fire marshall would have allowed it I would have lit up that gym like the 4th of July...but I digress. 

Kids are born with wings to fly, just like the birds in the sky, and the last person who is going to clip her little wings will be me. 

You should have seen her eyes light up as she brainstormed the songs she wanted to use, practiced her choreography in the mirror, and kicked in her own money from the family garage sale to buy the dress.  Sometimes I have to remind myself she is only 7 years old, because she has more ambition than half the grown ups I know. 

This is the same kid that asked for her own rap video for her birthday last summer, and if I could make that happen with my white, non-rapping family members I was pretty sure I could help her pull this off. 


There are 2 things you should know before you watch the video. 

1. Her microphone stopped working halfway into her song...I know it's nature to want to squirm for her, but I promise she had it handled the whole time. Luci is a pro and it takes much more than microphone malfunction to throw her off. 

2. The video is terrible. You can't even see Rocky, who plays both the snare drum AND saxophone plus acted as her hype-man.  So you'll have to just listen for him because he is very talented. You can't see my husband do his outfit change alongside her, which I heard included a hairy belly flash to the audience. You also can't see the 12 other streamer cannons that went off at the end.  I tried to hire someone to film this for me and it didn't work out. The lenses I have for shooting weddings (primes) are not conducive to shooting stuff with my kids and I'm making changes to that as we speak.  I feel terrible that I didn't do a better job for her, but without further ado, here is my girl: 
She was absolutely adorable.  All the kids were adorable.  The courage those kiddos had up on stage was nothing short of amazing. I smiled and cheered through every act. Even the teachers got in on the action with a funny skit; it was probably my favorite night of the entire school year. 

She ended up winning 2nd place.  Her prize was $10 cash and a huge bag of M&M's, she also earned herself a pitstop at Dairy Queen on the way home to get a cookie dough blizzard with extra cookie dough.

Last year she signed with a talent agency.  She is learning so much, not just about the commercial and print world, but about life.  For every job she books there are at least 6 or 7 she was turned down for, but she never lets it get her down, she just keeps going. 
Beautiful headshots by Elizabeth Wiseman   
Part of me wants her to stay little forever, and part of me can't wait to see the fun things God has up His sleeve for her.  Sometimes I swear the sun gets a little brighter anywhere she is, or maybe that's just because she's mine. 

May 4, 2015

~ Kelly and David ~ Baby on the way...

To the rest of St. Louis he's the hunky captain of our hockey team. But to her, he's something different.  He's the boy who sat across the room from her in kindergarten, the guy who asked her to the high school prom, and the man who asked her to be his wife, and soon the father of their baby.  And yes, their love is just as adorable as it sounds. 
High school sweethearts doing this journey called life together.  She's a free spirit, earth loving, hippie-at-heart beauty, and he beats the crap out of people for a living. But they make it work in the most adorable fashion you've ever seen. 

Just when you thought you couldn't like them any more... you learn of their heart for animal welfare.  You may remember Kelly famously bringing home stray dogs from the Olympics in Sochi. They have 4 rescue dogs themselves and run an incredible organization Athletes for Animals.  You will be hearing more from me about their organization in the coming year. These two move mountains together for animal welfare and I want to be there to help them.  
They're waiting until the birth to find out if it's a boy or a girl, but they both have the same hunch.  If this baby is anything like it's parents I can promise you he/she will have 3 things.  Great height, beautiful blue eyes, and a heart of gold.  Thank you Kelly and David, not just for your business, but mainly for making me look so dang cool in front of my sons hockey buddies :)  Can't wait to meet the baby!