~ St. Louis Shot Party 2011 ~

I guess you could call me a driven person.  I got detention in 5th grade for catching furry caterpillars in the field behind my house and bringing them to school and selling them.  I even made a chart and priced them by color.  Orange ones were cheap- they were common, 25 cents per willy worm...white ones were a little more expensive and would cost you 50 cents.  Then there were the coveted blue one, which I may or may not have colored with a marker.  They were $1.00.

I'm enthralled by successful people.  Specifically by successful people who started with nothing.  The Steve Jobs of the world, college drops outs who go on to become the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.  

I'm fascinated by branding and marketing.  The fascinated that women buy thousand-dollar purses because they have the Louis Vuitton logo on the side, when they can find one at Target to serve the exact same function for $30.  Or, why they drive through Starbucks in the way to work when they can brew their own coffee at home.  I want to crawl inside the minds of these braniacs who develops these ideas and dissect them piece by piece.  I want to make sure my brain is on the same path as theirs.

Let me back up a bit.  I don't ever plan on running a Fortune 500 company.  However, I do want to know that I could if I wanted to.   I want to know that if tomorrow I decided to join NASA and travel into space that I could do it.  It might take me 10 or 20 years, but I could do it.  Right?  I mean what's stopping me?  Okay, so I'm not going to be an astronaut, but I can't promise I will still be a photographer in 10 years either.  

I have so many big plans for my business and my career and my family.  Sometimes my brain can't keep up with, or compute, all the ideas I have swirling.  

But right now I am a photographer, and as a photographer I want to kick some serious ass.  I want to be the best.  That may come across as pompous, because I work in a creative field, but it's not.  Don't confuse arrogance with drive.  If I was a firefighter, I would want to be the best in my engine.  If I was a teacher, I would want to win "Teacher of the Year."  If I was a marathon runner, I would want to be the fastest.  

Because my kids are my priority, and I don't have extra time to travel (which kind of ruins by astronaut plans), I don't get a chance to attend big photography conferences.  So since I can't go to them, I brought them to me.

Just because my business is successful doesn't mean I am going to kick my feet up and ride the wave into shore.  I will always want to learn more.  The further out you swim the bigger the waves right?  Because here is the deal: I want to meet really great photographers...I want to pick their brain.  I want to know why they are paid $10,000 to shoot weddings.  I want to know why they have 15,000 Facebook fans. I want to know why they are asked to shoot celebrity weddings and high-end events.   I'm also hoping some of their mojo rubs off on me while they are here. 

I can't afford to fly these great folks in by myself, so I throw a big party and invite all my friends.  It's called the "St Louis Shot Party," and while I've been throwing them on small scales for years this is my second really big one....and it was freaking awesome.

I wasn't sure if I could top myself last year with Jasmine Star.  But let me say that Becker and Bobbi + Mike rocked my socks.  They brought the house down.  I came home with 7 pages of notes and I've been studying them and implementing them already.

Thank you Becker, Bobbi + Mike, and all of my other great speakers and vendors.  Thank you St. Louis, for having so many cool and bitchin' photographers who are willing to share their passion with others.

And I will end this post with my favorite quote of the day, which came from Becker:

"Your goal every week should be to make the stuff you shot last week look like shit."

I have a TON more photos to share and a video coming soon!

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