jo ann manolis photography

Welcome to the blog of Jo Ann Manolis Photography! I’m a wedding, portrait, and fine art photographer based in Santa Cruz, CA. I’ve created this blog as a means of sharing my work and life with my clients, family, and friends. I’ll be updating it regularly with my latest work, thoughts and ideas regarding photography and art, and links to many fabulous artists and vendors. So, take a look around, enjoy, and leave me a message here if you’re inspired. I can also be reached directly by e-mail via my website:, or by phone at: (831)359-7948. Thanks for stopping by!

Carmel Valley Engagement Photography {Hillary & Mike’s engagement}

A month prior to their beautiful wedding, Pat and I met Hillary and Mike in Carmel Valley for their engagement session. We had so much fun wandering around the beautiful grounds of Bernardus Lodge. Of course we were delighted to get some of that soft and golden Carmel Valley light, my absolute favorite! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Hillary & Michael’s Carmel Valley Wedding


After almost a year of negligence (time flies when you’re busy, I guess), I’ve decided to resurrect my little blog this year. I thought that I’d start with a beautiful Carmel Valley Wedding from last moth. Hillary and Michael planned such a thoughtful and heartfelt wedding. They elected to have an intimate ceremony with close family members at Bernardus Lodge and a fun-filled celebration with extended family and friends at Georis Winery the following evening. Originally from Santa Fe, Hillary incorporated some inspiration from her hometown into the decor on both days. Thank you, Coastside Couture, both for the referral and for planning such a fantastic two days. You ladies are amazing! And once again, Amanda Seely of Laughin’ Gal Floral went all out with the florals. She blows me away every time. Be sure to check out the end of the post for a complete list of amazing vendors. Hillary and Michael, thank you for having us. Both Pat and I felt honored to be there to document such a meaningful and beautiful time in your lives. We wish you both the very, very best.

0001 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38  40 41 44 45 46 47 48 49 5051

Wedding coordination and planning:  Coastside Couture (Thanks Karissa, Heidi, & Kayla!)

Ceremony Venue: Bernardus Lodge

Florals: Laughin’ Gal Floral

Hair & Makeup: Spa Terre at Bernardus Lodge

Ceremony Hair & makeup: Katrina Christensen

Reception Hair & Makeup: Melissa Adams

Bride’s Dress: Anna Maier Ulla Maija Couture

Bride’s Shoes: Cole Haan

Reception Venue and catering: Georis Winery

Cupcakes: Freedom Bakery & Confections

Videography & DJ: the Fabulous Nick of Santa Cruz Live Music & D.J.


Home {Santa Cruz family portrait photographer}

As I was sorting through these photographs it occurred to me that this is the seventh year in a row that I’ve photographed these people. They are some of my very favorites for sure and man, do I feel lucky to call them dear friends. We’ve been all over… from home with a one year old to grandpa’s ranch, back home with a baby brother, to the redwoods, to the spot where mom and dad were married, to an apple orchard, and now back home with a beautiful new baby sister. Life really is incredible.

123458671011912Thank you for sharing your lives with me. I loved being there and I love you guys. xo, J

Kendra & Phil-engagement {Santa Cruz engagement photography, Aptos engagement photography}

Kendra and Phil chose Kendra’s grandfather’s property for their engagement session. A kind and beautiful couple, an incredibly special location, and gorgeous fall light made it such a perfect evening.















14   15


K & P, what can I say? I adore you both and am so incredibly glad that we met. This evening was such an honor and a pleasure for me. Thank you for entrusting me with these. I miss you both and send much love from my corner of the world to yours. xo, J

Chelsea & Brian {Pebble Beach wedding photographer}

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29jpg 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 4647

Chelsea and Brian, you are both such warm, kind, and loving people and it is no coincidence that you both were surrounded by so much warmth, kindness, and love on your wedding day. Thank you for having us there, we were overjoyed and honored to be able to capture it for you. Love, Jo & Pat

Thanks to the following amazingly talented and hardworking professionals who made this day perfect:

Wedding coordination: Coastside Couture (I have to give Karissa, Kayla, and Sonya a special shout out here, they did such an exceptional job! Thanks Ladies!)

Venue: Private home in Pebble Beach

Florals: Laughin’ Gal Floral

Catering: Paradise Catering

Rentals: Chic Events

Hair & Makeup: April Sanchez: & Danielle Kingsley:

Lighting: Carmel Plant Tenders

DJ: Belmont Entertainment

Transportation: Monterey Bay Experience

Videographer: Big Time Video

Tree Love

Two sweet parents, a loving big brother, the most beautiful baby sister, and a tree.




Thank you N, D, O, & O…I am so grateful to have been there. xo

Bliss {Santa Cruz Family Portrait Photographer}

A beautiful evening with a gorgeous family…











Thanks, guys for such a fun afternoon and for bringing me to this amazing spot. It was the perfect backdrop for your beautiful crew, full of sunshine, beauty, joy, and love! xo, J

The golden hour {Aptos, CA family portrait photographer}

I love this family. We met up at one of their favorite beaches on one of the most beautiful evenings of the year and I left feeling grateful to know them.

Thank you, beautiful people for sharing such a glorious evening with me. Love to you all! xxoo

Rollin’ {Santa Cruz family portrait photographer}

I got to tag along with this sweet family as they rolled around the West Side on a gorgeous November evening. It didn’t feel much like work.

Thank you E, G, G, & I for such a lovely time, it was an honor and a joy. West Cliff Drive was shining even more brightly than usual with your smiling faces rolling along. xo, J


It is so much fun watching a family grow. In age, in numbers, in love.

Thanks, guys. You made it an even more beautiful evening. All my love, always. xo


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.