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.

August 19, 2010

~ St Louis Shot Party 2010 ~

When I started a photography business 6 years ago, I wasn't exactly met with open arms. I wanted so desperately to make friends with others who shared my passion, but I was never quite "cool enough" for the cool crowd.

For one, I am not artsy fartsy, not even for a second. I have never owned a pair of birkenstocks, I don't drink coffee, and I don't have fancy "Gallery Openings".

I'm also not educated in photography, never taken a class, simply "self-taught" so since I haven't been dragging around a toy camera since I was a toddler I was shunned from the "educated" crowd as well.

And the big one, I'm a mom (Gasp!) For some reason there is this horrible stigma against moms who also have photography careers, they even have a name for us, it's called an "MWAC" (Mom with a Camera) I even got called one once in a nasty e-mail once.

When I first announced I was hosting the "St Louis Photographers Shot Party" I even had one photographer make fun of me publicly on facebook, Classy, huh? Seriously, I had junior high flashbacks.

But the haters? They are my fuel.

And last night? Well, I FINALLY fit in somewhere.... and I have 130 new friends to prove it.
I'm just a goofy girl from the armpit of the mid-west. I don't know why so many people care what I have to say. I don't think I'm any better at this job than anyone else, frankly I can name 10 photographers here in St Louis off the top of my head that blow me out of the water. All I wanted to do was bring everyone together for a night of fun, friendship, and photography.

I poured my heart, my guts, and my family's personal savings account into this project. It was the biggest risk I have ever taken in my life and it was worth all the blood sweat and tears. To see the ear to ear smiles I saw all night, the hugs I got from friends, the REAL ones, the tight hugs that say I love you and I am proud of you.
To my wonderful, wonderful team. Michelle, Tonya, Kelly, Jasmine, Clary, and Steve. You were the backbone of this whole operation you were the heart and the guts and the knowledge and openness you brought was felt like shock waves.

Jasmine, girl you brought the house down! What What? Whateeeeva!
To every single one of you who came - THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! With out you there I would have just been a dork hanging out with her Mom and Dad.Speaking of Mom and Dad, they were there too, with all my kids, and my husband. They are my "team" I don't do anything without my family because at the end of the day if I had fallen on my face and this whole thing been a flop they would have been the ones to pick me up.

I think I will be on cloud 9 for a few weeks at least. I am so blessed to do this for a living and I don't deserve all the love and admiration I've gotten lately, but honey I will take it! I will take it and hold it close to my heart and not take it for granted.
I will see you PARTY PEOPLE in 2011! Woot! Woot!

and I will end with my favorite quote from Jasmine...

Beyonce didn't need Destiny's Child. You don't need approval from your peers to validate your worth.


brit @ landlocked bride said...

I'm not going to sugar coat my jealousy that you all got to spend a few hours with Jasmine Star. I have admired her work long before I ever entered the wedding industry. And, kudos to you, Kelly, for putting this all together. I'm looking forward to everyone's recaps!

LeLe Photography said...

Can I get a Amen!!! :) Love you Kelly! Great job with everything and thank you!

Cindy Lee Photography said...

looks like a big success and i'm sad i wasn't able to make it. too many things going on.. but next year i will be there! congrats :)

Lisa Scherer said...

It was an awesome night and it was obvious how much of your heart and soul went into it. Thank you for being such an open book Kelly, you rock. Can't wait until Shot Party 2011.

Shefali Lindsey said...

Kelly, love love love you, girl! You rocked it and I am so so so excited to go next year! Without an awesome event like this, we would never have left feeling so inspired and ready to better ourselves! Thank you times one million!

Amy Meyerott Photography said...

I am actually really angry that people treated you like that. I think I can speak for all of "newbies" when I say THANK YOU SO MUCH for not treating us in the way you were treated. You have inspired me, advised me, encouraged me and shown me the way to finding my own path. I am so thankful for all that you have done and will continue to do. I love you Kelly Manno. You are a ROCKSTAR, a SPITFIRE and a BAMWAC (thats Bad Ass Mom With A Camera).

Lynsey T said...

You're amazing...really! Thank you so much for everything. I had a great time networking with everyone and I learned SO much. A lot of photography, business and myself. Thanks again for all of your hard work. It's definitely appreciated!!

Amanda Mann said...

What an awesome time the shot party was- and I missed half of it!!! I can't wait for the next one. Kelly- you sure know how to put on a show!!! xoxo a

Trisha said...

Thank you SOOOO much!! I had so much fun!!

You are such a great person! I really, honestly believe that you are honest and true. There is no fakeness about you, that is for sure!

I'm SO glad that you made one of your dreams come true. Here's to many many more! :)

Jasmine said...


Dallas said...

Wow, I wish I'd known about this! Will you ever do it again? If so, I'll be there! Congratulations on being courageous enough to take a risk and to have it turn out so wonderfully.

Laura said...

This is the second KM workshop I've attended, and it rocked! I have always been a late bloomer, and here I am in my early 40s finally having the confidence to believe -- I can do this! You have fortified my belief in myself by demonstrating what Jasmine was talking about when she said, "You have to differentiate yourself, and you do that by being YOU." Thanks, Kelly, for being you. That lightbulb moment for me was worth the price of admission. I also have to say, the blog on little Katie had me in tears, as I am trying to get out of the rat race of the corporate world and spend more time with my kids -- my healthy kids -- and photography is not just a creative outlet for me, but it's going to give me more time with my kids. What is more important than that?! From your fellow BAMWAC (thanks, Amy). Love ya!

Catie Ronquillo said...

Congrats Kelly!

Beth said...

You INspire me! Thank you.