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!

Bahia Resort San Diego Destination Wedding Photography {Meghan & Seth}

This was an incredibly special wedding for us because it involved one of our favorite families ever. We photographed Meghan’s brother’s wedding five years ago and were so honored to return to San Diego and see these beautiful people once again. Meghan and Seth brought their lively, loving, and fun filled community from Arizona to San Diego’s Bahia Resort, where they were married on a beautiful October day. 01 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 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 Meghan and Seth, you are both so very kind, genuine, and gracious. You fit together perfectly. Thank you so much for having us and treating us like part of your family. We loved joining your adoring community and celebrating such a sweet and good love story. We wish you the best always and we can’t wait to see you both again…hopefully sometime soon. Please know that there is always room for you here in Santa Cruz! Much Love, Jo & Pat

La Playa Hotel Destination Wedding Photography {Rachel & John}

Carmel has always been special to John as he vacationed here every summer as a child with his family. When he brought Rachel to Carmel for the first time, he packed an engagement ring. They returned this autumn to exchange vows in front of friends and family, most of whom traveled from Texas for the celebration. And indeed, it was certainly a celebration. We loved being there. 01 02 03 04  07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 IMG_0711 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 Thank you, Rachel and John for your warm welcome and kindness. We loved being a part of your day and felt honored to join your families and friends in celebrating two beautiful and loving people. We both wish you the very best always!

Much Love,

Jo & Pat

Thank you to the following vendors who made this day a fantastic one:

Venue and Food: La Playa Hotel (Many thanks to La Playa’s awesome Karen for such a great day and for all of her hard work!)

Wedding Cake: Freedom Bakery and Confections

Wedding Coordination: Amy Stadelman

Florals: Kate Healey Floral

Makeup:  Adrea Simmons

DJ: Belmont Entertainment

Photography: Jo Ann Manolis Photography

Jessica & Eric’s Perry House Wedding {Monterey Wedding Photographer}

Jessica and Eric’s smiles lit up the Perry House on their wedding day. Their joy and love were reflected everywhere, in every friend and family member’s face. I’m pretty sure that this is how it always is with these two, though. They just make everything better.

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Thank you J & E for having us at your wedding. It was such an incredible honor to join your wonderful community in celebrating your marriage. You started out as wedding clients and now we feel lucky to consider you friends. We also feel grateful to you both for reminding us what weddings are really all about. We all (even photographers) sometimes lose sight of why we’re really there. It’s just about love, and you showed us so much of just that! We adore you both, Pat & Jo

Thanks also to the following awesome vendors who helped make this such an incredible day:

Wedding design & coordination: Coastside Couture (Thank you so much, Karissa & Kayla!)

Venue and Catering: Perry House

Florals: Fleurish Floral Designs

Rentals: Chic Event Rentals

Cake & Cupcakes: Freedom Bakery and Confections

DJ: Anthony at DNA Entertainment

Hair: Kayla Kyles-

Makeup: Nicole Sunshine Kinder

Videography: Gilbert Perez-

Photography: Jo Ann Manolis Photography


Santa Lucia Preserve Wedding Photographer

This sweet couple joined hands at the beautiful Santa Lucia Preserve a few weeks ago. Friends and family traveled across the country and even the globe to celebrate their union. Pat and I felt so honored to be a part of it.




















































Huge thanks to these amazing vendors:

Wedding Planning: Coastside Couture (thank you Karissa, Heidi, and Kayla!)
Venue/Catering: Santa Lucia Preserve
Florals: Amanda of Laughin’ Gal Floral
Cake: Freedom Bakery Confections
Hair: Beautification by Alyssa
Makeup: Amy Amaral
Event Rentals: Chic Event Renals
Shuttle Service: Main Event Transportation
Guitar during ceremony/cocktail hour: Matt Bacon
Videography: Mitch of Anchor Cinema
Officiant: Reverend Irv Spivak                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photographer: Jo Ann Manolis Photography


T&B, We can’t thank you enough for having us. Your wedding day was simply incredible. We loved meeting you both as well as your wonderful family and friends. We wish you a lifetime of the infectious warmth and joy that you both share so beautifully with everyone around you.
With so much gratitude and love, Jo Ann & Pat

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.

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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.















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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}

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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