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!

Annie & Jonathan! {Los Angeles engagement session}

It’s a funny story, actually…

A few years ago I was considering wedding photography as a new career and was looking for some volunteers to practice on. We were headed to L.A. for the weekend to visit family and at the last minute, I grabbed my wedding dress and shoes before heading out the door. I was feeling optimistic.

I gave my beautiful, fabulous, and incredibly photogenic friend Annie a call. “I need you to dress up like a bride so that I can practice, I even have my dress and shoes with me, are you game?” I tried not to sound desperate. True to form, she happily volunteered not only herself, but her boyfriend of three months, Jonathan to be my couple for the day.

“You’d better ask him.” I suggested, feeling uneasy about this complete stranger donning a suit for my ridiculous whim. “Oh, I will, but I know he’ll say yes. He’s a lot like me.”, she replied. He’s a lot like you or he likes you a lot? I was curious about this guy.

I showed up to Annie’s place the next afternoon to find both she and Jonathan ready for action. “I’ve got a few different suits that could work, which one would you like me to wear?” He politely asked me. I already loved this man and it wasn’t because he brought multiple suits to his fake wedding.

Real-life foreshadowing is always a strange thing.

The “bride and groom” seemed eerily at home in their roles. I remember thinking how well matched these two were and how crushed I’d be if they never really got married someday.

So, you can probably guess where this is going…

Fast forward a few years and here I am with many real weddings under my belt. As for Annie and Jonathan…well, I’ll just let the photos tell their story.

We started at the Fern Dell entrance of Griffith Park and strolled up the path along the creek. I couldn’t believe that we were in L.A! (Thank you, Jonathan for this awesome location!)

The late afternoon sun was peeking through the trees, offering such an amazing glow.

Annie is so lucky, this amazingly hot little sun dress was made by her mother!

I try to keep engagement sessions (you did guess that they’re getting married for real, didn’t you?) as candid as possible, but I saw this bench and got a silly little idea. Thanks for indulging me, guys. These two make me smile:

I love the look on Annie’s face here. Obviously, Jonathan’s got it goin’ on!

I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but there is something that I just love about the next two.

Happiness captured.

Of course, this post would not be complete without a photograph from their “first” wedding…ha! Although I feel that I’ve improved tremendously since, I do love the spirit and excitement that this shot captures.

I cannot wait to photograph Annie and Jonathan’s real destination wedding this August in the gorgeous mountains of Western Pennsylvania. They have so many amazing things planned for the entire weekend and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Annie and Jonathan, thank you! Obviously, being your wedding photographer is a dream come true for me. Your fun, spirited, and respectful partnership is an inspiration. i.simply.cannot.wait!

With much love and many colorful warm fuzzies,



2 responses to “Annie & Jonathan! {Los Angeles engagement session}

  1. Annie O June 15, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    My mother still takes photos from our fake wedding around in our wallet. It’s confused more than one person.

    And if our real wedding is as much fun as these other sessions have been… Jo, we’re so honored to be able to share it all with you!

  2. zuzu August 7, 2008 at 9:30 am


    Holy cow it has been a long time! Jo, great pictures. Looks like life in Caly is treating you both well. Best of luck!


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