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 2009

Peek Aren’t You Curious: In-store event

I’m so excited about this Sunday’s event at the Peek Aren’t You Curious store in Corte Madera! I will be photographing kids during a really fun in-store event. If you live in the area, please stop by and say hello…I’d love to meet you!

Uh-oh! Can’t see images? To see a web version click here.

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Spend $150 more between 10/24 – 10/31
and get a free mini photo session
in our Corte Madera store on 11/1.

Peek... Aren't You Curious - In-Store Event...

Holiday Photos at Peek
November 1st, 9 am – 4 pm

Join us and photographer Jo Ann Manolis on November 1st from 9 – 4 at Peek… Aren’t You Curious for a “mini” photo session.

Spend $150 or more at our Corte Madera store between October 24th – 31st and your sitting is free. Following the event, photos will be available for viewing and can be purchased from Jo’s website (

STORE HOURS:M-F: 10am – 8pm
Sat: 10am – 7pm
Sun: 11am – 6pmPHONE: (415) 945-0100

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Pumpkins and Twitter…

A story in 4 parts:

Part 1.p1

Part 2.p2

Part 3.p3

Part 4. (Well, I have no photos of part 4, but you can guess what happened…pumpkin cookies are dee-lish!)

Rodini Farms on Hwy 1 is the best pumpkin patch around here, hands down.

By the way…I just joined Twitter! To follow and be followed, go here:

And of course, I am on Facebook…I’m the only Jo Ann Manolis in Santa Cruz, CA. That, and my profile pic has a goat in it!

Happy Halloween, everyone! We are busy here constructing a costume, and of course one last trip to the pumpkin patch is in order.



apples and pink cowboy boots…

I’m having one of those days, I’m afraid….too much work, not enough play, and definitely not nearly enough time to do it all.

So, I am escaping…transporting myself back to last week’s trip to the best apple orchard ever, Swanton Pacific Ranch in Davenport. I love that the trees are tiny, perfect for the wee ones to pick themselves. We caught the tail end of the crop, and the golden leaves sparkled as we filled our bags. It was warm, sweet, and wonderful. I didn’t want to leave. I love the last glimpses of warmth that October brings…I miss her already.

Plus…with pink cowboy boots, how could we go wrong?







I wish you a happy escape today, even if it is simply the memory of a warm day.

xo, j

Santa Cruz Family Portrait Photography: 3 sweet girls

Here in Santa Cruz, October gives us the most amazing weather and this year has been no exception. The last few weekends have been gorgeous, and lucky me-I got to hang out on the beach and take pictures…

This sweet girl just turned one.


Both big sisters have the best personalities…13



I love these images of Mom with her girls. Check out Mom’s awesome business HERE!




And the images with Dad aren’t so bad either…




I love photographing families at Natural Bridges State Beach. I still can’t believe that we actually get to live here…1


Thank you, beautiful family. I had a lovely evening with you! More beach sessions coming soon…

Santa Cruz Family Portrait Photography: home

Q: When you have an 8.5 month old and an almost 3 year old, where do you go to have your family portrait taken?













A: nowhere.

Dear Cayce, Jer, JH, & C,

Thank you for having me over. I loved every single minute of it. Especially the timeout in the guitar case, the cookies, and sharing my Holga with the budding photographer.  You guys are amazing. There is, indeed, no place like home.

With Much, Much LOVE,


**If you want to read more about this amazing family and their many talents, click HERE or HERE.

A First Birthday Portrait

I’ve been terrible about blogging lately, and I’m skipping a lot, but I just had to post this portrait session because Mom is one of my most faithful blog followers…that, and I love this family!

I was so honored that Nicole and her family came all the way from the Sacramento area for their family portrait session! Nicole and I “met” online earlier this year and have struck up one of those cyber-friendships. It has been an honor watching her grow as a photographer and reading her fabulously smart and entertaining blog. Well, I finally got to really meet Nicole, her hilarious husband Gary, and their two little angels. Their littlest turned one on the day after the portrait session, so I made sure that I got some special shots of the birthday girl…




Check out this amazing sweater ! Nicole knitted it and Gary’s mom sewed the beads on. Nicole, I am blown away by your mad skills!02blog

And here is the beautiful mom. Congratulations, Nicole and Gary…she is precious.07blog

And the adorable and equally precious big sis…01blog

Ready to walk.03blog

We met up at Wilder Ranch, which is always such an amazing place to photograph. The light there is pretty unbelievable.08blog

One of my faves…09blog


Another favorite.

I wish that I could take credit for this idea, but my friend Kendra once captured an image of my son in one of these barn windows and I have always loved it so much (Thanks, Kendra!). I know, I’m a total copycat, but it was so worth it for these smiles.12blog

And here is Dad with the birthday girl checking out the goats. Nicole and Gary are both veterinarians, and were quite interested in all of the animals at Wilder. In fact, I’m not sure who was more excited about the animals, the kids or the parents. Seriously though, I learned quite a bit from our short time together…these two seriously know their stuff!


By the end of the session, the wind was howling…but they were all still smiling.17blog


I love this one. One thing I’ve learned is that happiness can never be faked in photographs. If you look with your heart, you can always feel if it is there. 15blog


Nicole and Gary, thank you for making the trek and for sharing your amazing family with me. I left Wilder Ranch feeling inspired by the joy and ease that you posses as a family. Nicole, I am so glad that we’ve gotten to know one another. Your photographs are beautiful. Keep doing what you do and keep doing it from your heart. With big, big love, Jo

Erin & Trevor {Coronado Island wedding photography}

I’ve been such a terrible blogger…will you ever forgive me?

Maybe these images of a gorgeous destination wedding on Coronado Island will help me to redeem myself…

Congratulations to Erin and Trevor, who tied the knot on the beach a few weeks ago. It was indeed a perfect day.



The bride got ready at the El Cordova Hotel on Coronado Island, which was also the reception location. There were so many unbelievable spots for photos at the El Cordova.3


I see you Erin…5

Q: What is the coolest thing that you’ve ever heard a bride say on her wedding day?

A: “I’m starting to feel nervous, can someone put on some Led Zeppelin?”

Erin, the fact that you uttered these words on any day, let alone on your wedding day makes you the epitome of cool. I mean that.




From the florals to every last gorgeous detail, super-talented wedding coordinator Kelly Nicoletto (559)940-2733 did an outstanding job!10

The invitations and save-the-date cards were luscious. Seriously, the colors, simple graphics, and gorgeous papers were out of this world. They were designed by the lovely and talented Sheila George, who also happened to be a bridesmaid. Sheila has recently started her business and her work is incredible! sdgeorge@gmail.cominvite

Pat grabbed this great shot of the guys before the ceremony.


And I got to hang out with the girls. These women were amazing…


Speaking of amazing, check out some of the ceremony details.


The next two images were captured by Pat. I am not jealous…really, I’m not.


OK, maybe I am, but just a little…19

Erin, you are so beautiful.13




One of my favorites from the day.17


I love Pat’s take on the Wedding Party portraits. 23

I asked the guys to channel Mary Poppins and they pretty much nailed it…22






Hello Beautiful Couple…29

While waiting to be formally introduced at the reception, Erin and Trevor stood outside on the busy sidewalk and practiced their first dance. These completely unscripted moments are what I love most about weddings. There is no way to prepare for a snippet of time like this, it is just being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, I guess. That and great light.


Here’s the same image in sepia. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.


A few reception details:favor

The table names are from my second favorite island on earth. The first person to correctly guess my very favorite island gets a prize…leave a comment with your guess.31

Guests dined on delicious Mexican fare at Miguelito’s Restaurant in the El Cordova. I loved the cozy ambiance in the courtyard.




Erin and Trevor, thank you for sharing your day and your love with all of us. It was truly an honor for us to chronicle the first day of your marriage. We wish you much laughter, many more late nights of dancing, countless strolls on the beaches of Kauai’, and of course…many, many years of rockin’ out together to Led Zeppelin.

With all our Love,

Jo & Pat