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!

Monthly Archives: October 2008

Christmas Card Photos- A Portrait Session in Corralitos, CA

Now that I’ve been shooting family portraits for a couple of years, I have been blessed to be able to do multiple sessions with the same families. I did this beautiful family’s Christmas card images last year as well. I can’t wait to see which image they choose this year! We started out in the apple orchard, the light is so beautiful this time of year.

Meet the fabulous and VERY busy JH! He was convinced that there was a butterfly in my camera and hee kept running up to me and pointing at my lens and saying “Butterfly!” Here is what I saw in the viewfinder:

I brought some finger puppets along for entertainment. They were a big hit for about 30 seconds.

Shooting into the sun is better than Christmas.

My theory is that JH is the luckiest guy in the world…here is the evidence:

I think that this is my favorite family portrait of the day.

My very favorite thing about photographing kids is that they make the rules and I get to follow their lead. I wasn’t planning on lying down in the dirt, but how else would I have gotten this one?

After the Apple Orchard, we headed over to “The Ranch” and got some fun shots.

I just love this building.

JH is going to be a big brother in a few months…

And then we went for a walk and took advantage of some more amazing light.

My two favorite JH shots of the day, I think.

Dear C, J, & JH-You guys are amazing, thanks for the incredible afternoon. Thanks also for introducing me to “The Ranch” and all it’s charm and beauty! It has been my honor to call you friends and to watch your family grow.

With buckets of Love and Gratitude,

Jo Ann

My favorite things about camping


Trucks first thing in the morning

Reading Good Books

Staying Cozy

Kisses from friends

And last but not least, sunsets on the beach.

I’m not sure that life gets any better than this…

apples of peace

I feel October passing us by and I wonder where the summer went and why time has to move so quickly…but it’s now time to eat apples and bake pies and settle in.

We went to Swanton Pacific Ranch on Saturday to pick apples. It was the best day ever.

We were joined by the hop-hops. We call them the hop-hops because they used to entertain our little guy by hopping around like bunnies. They were his very first friends. He loves them more than ever. This is the only girl of the bunch, she led our guy around and helped him pick.

She even made up a really cool song entitled “Do Not Destroy the Apple of Peace”…not sure what that means, but I like it.

He ate so many apples…I lost count after 4.

Maybe not the intended use for the wheelbarrow, but it sure was fun.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by! Oh, I almost forgot…maybe “The Apple of Peace” could be our mantra this week, month, and maybe even year? What do you think?

A Recent Conversation

D: Mama?

Me: Yes?

D: I love worms, you know.

Me: Yes, I do know that about you.

D: I also love holding them in my hand and kissing them. They’re so sweet.

Me: They are sweet, aren’t they?

D: Yes they are…Mama?

Me: Yes?

D: When we get home can you take a picture of me with a worm in my hand?

Will somebody please pinch me?

Katharina Short is back! {Open Studios 2008}

Necklace by: Katharina Short

One of my very favorite things about fall in Santa Cruz is Open Studios! Open Studios, which is sponsored by the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County, is a self-guided art tour of 300 artist’s studios. This is an opportunity for the public to visit the studios of working artists of all mediums, to meet the artist personally, and to see and purchase their work. I love poking around the work spaces and getting to watch the artists in action. I’ve been to so many amazing studios over the years. My all-time favorite studio to visit, however, belongs to my dear friend Katharina Short. Katharina (Tina) is such an amazingly talented painter. Her work is honest, vibrant, and very much alive. She is an incredibly gracious host and loves answering questions and sharing her thoughts and passions with visitors. Tina took some time off since the birth of her twins, but is now back and has so many lovely pieces to show. I’ll be helping out at her studio all day on Saturday so come on by and say hello, hang out in her beautiful garden, and check out her gorgeous collection of paintings…you’ll be glad that you did!

Katharina Short’s studio is located at: 324 Stanford Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Open Studio Dates & Hours: Sat & Sun, Oct 11th & 12th from 11AM-6PM

For more information on Open Studios, CLICK HERE.

Breakfast by: Katharina Short

See you there!

Announcing Two New Workshops at Blue Apple Studios!

Polaroid Transfers for Kids!

Every Monday in November (Nov. 3rd, 10th, 17th, & 24th) 4:30-6:00 PM

In this four-part workshop young artists will transform a series of their own photographs into classic and timeless Polaroid Transfer images. Each artist will prepare his/her own piece of wood and affix the images onto it. The end result will be a series of your child’s original images presented in a unique and beautiful way. There will be a heavy emphasis on the artistic process, series development, and finding a unique perspective through the camera’s lens. Watch your little artist branch out into a new medium and create something really special. Start looking for a space on your wall because these masterpieces will come home ready to hang! A digital camera of any kind is needed in order to participate. This workshop is recommended for ages 7 and up.

Workshop Fee (includes all supplies): $135.00

Polaroid Transfers for Parents!

Saturday, Nov. 15th and Sat, Nov. 22th. 10 AM-12 PM

This two-part workshop is for any parent who wants to turn family memories into works of art. Your three or four favorite family photographs will be transformed into Polaroid Transfers and affixed onto wood. The end result will be your special images with a stylish look and a vintage feel, beautifully presented and ready to hang. These pieces make wonderful family heirlooms or holiday gifts. Treat yourself to a few hours of creative fun this fall! A digital camera of any kind is needed in order to participate.

Workshop Fee (includes all supplies): $110.00

Both workshops will be taught by local photographer Jo Ann Manolis. Jo Ann works mostly in the digital world these days, but has yet to lose her love for Polaroid Transfers and other quirky yet beautiful film based mediums. She loves sharing these treasures with others!

Please contact Jo Ann to register for a workshop.

mobile: (831) 359-7948

Blue Apple Studios is an art house for kids. It is located in Redwood Village in Aptos, a few doors down from Surf City Coffee and right behind Piggy’s Market.

**Spaces in both workshops are limited in order for artists to receive individual attention and assistance.  Both workshops will most likely fill up quickly, so please contact me if you’re interested and I’ll add you to the list!

55 Years. {Santa Cruz Portrait Photography}

I was so excited when my friend Sandra called and asked me to photograph her family. The session itself was a birthday gift for her mother. I honestly believe that there is no better gift that anyone can give than a portrait session (are you reading this, sweetie?) I know, I know…I’m a photographer and I’m supposed to say that. But believe me, I’ve done this enough times to know that something kind of amazing happens while I’m snapping away. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone slows down for long enough to realize what brought them to the session in the first place, or maybe it’s just dumb luck. Regardless, I almost always feel something unexplainable transpire during family sessions and this one was no exception.

Here are a few that caught my eye.

Sandra’s nephew and niece. I’m not sure how, but I always luck out and get to photograph the most beautiful children.

The whole gang (Sandra is in the back row, left hand side).

A sweet moment.

And another…

Sandra’s parents have been married for 55 years. I just love the way that they’re looking at each other in the next two images.

And I can’t possibly post these images without thanking Anthony. He was a fabulous assistant and was incredibly gracious and helpful. Here he is holding a patio umbrella for me, what a guy!

Sandra, I was not at all surprised to find your family to be warm, gracious, and so very welcoming, just like you! A huge thank you to ALL of you for a lovely afternoon. Joining you was a true privilege.


Jo Ann