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!

Category Archives: news

Yep, eating again…

Please excuse me as I’ve been slow to blog lately, life has been moving so fast  and I’m running to keep up. I’m in lovely Lake Tahoe this weekend  for some family time and a gorgeous intimate wedding (images coming soon). Until then, I wanted to share a few shots that I captured last week after a strawberry picking trip at Swanton Berry Farm. Now, it has been called to my attention more than once that this blog is heavy on the eating photos…and yes, I am aware of this. What can I say? I’m Greek and I love to eat and I’m afraid that my son has inherited this gene. Enjoy!

Here’s what we scored from the farm:


And here’s what became of most of it:


And of course, counting how many we ate is a favorite activity for a four-going-on-five year old!


Happy Summer, it is here!

**I also have a few spots left for the Family Portrait Special Fundraiser (see previous post) but they’re going fast, so shoot me an e-mail if you’re interested!

Huge Family Portrait Special!

Big, Huge News! It’s that time of year again.


Every year since I’ve started my business, I’ve offered a Family Portrait Special (sessions at a HUGELY discounted rate) for one month during the spring or summer and donated 100% of the session fees to a non-profit. I choose a different recipient each year, and this is always so difficult as there are so many amazing non-profits doing wonderful work. This year, I’ve chosen Santa Cruz Waldorf School as my non-profit and am so incredibly excited! I love the philosophy behind this school, their dedication to educate the whole child and to instill in her/him a true, lifelong love of learning. I’m inspired by the way that respect for the earth is nurtured at this school. This is evident by their unbelievable organic vegetable and flower garden and compost area (cared for largely by the students). I love that art, music, movement, and foreign languages are not only taught but emphasized here from the early years. I’m proud that this school is a part of our community and I know that this fund raiser will be an enormous success.

Here are the Details:

You get…

One hour of my time at the location of your choice (within Santa Cruz County).

Complete editing and retouching on all final images.

One 8×10 print of your favorite image from the session.

Two months of access to a private and secure online image gallery which you can share with family and friends. You can also purchase additional images from this gallery if you’d like.

Basically, you get a killer deal and the satisfaction of doing something wonderful at the same time!

Investment is $130 (less than HALF of the regular investment). Your check made out to Santa Cruz Waldorf School is due at the time of your portrait session.

This offer is good during the month of June 2009 only and is on a first-come, first-served basis…so call today to schedule your session. I almost always sell out of these.

A Few More Details:

Normally, a Family Portrait Session is for up to 5 people and there is a $25 charge per additional person, but the charge does not apply for this fundraiser…so go ahead and round up the entire family and get that precious portrait that you’ve been wanting!

It is called a Family Portrait, but a family can be anyone. It can be just you and your fiance, spouce, signifant other, child, pet, friend, mother… you get the idea.

This offer is for EVERYONE and ANYONE. You need not have a child enrolled in SCWS to participate…so pass on the good word. This is also a great gift idea for a friend or family member, an anniversary gift, wedding gift, new baby gift…again, you get the idea.

Call or E-mail me for more info:

Phone: (831)359-7948



“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”-Aesop

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep


I’ve put off blogging about this for awhile now because I haven’t been sure how to put it all into words, but here it goes…

In February 2005, a baby boy named Maddux was born in Colorado. He died 6 days later. Before he passed away, his parents decided that they wanted some portraits taken of him. They had three other children and their walls were filled with family portraits. They wanted images of Maddux on their walls as well. They asked the nurse about the photographer responsible for the beautiful images hanging on the walls of the maternity ward and called the number on the business card. That evening (the evening of Maddux’s death), Littleton, CO photographer Sandy Puc came and photographed Maddux with his parents. She told mom and dad to call her whenever they were ready to see the images. Mom called the next day. Sandy delivered the images a few days later and mom mentioned that as grateful as she was for the images, she knew that there had been several other mothers who had recently left the hospital without their babies…and without beautiful photographs.


Together, Sandy Puc and Cheryl Haggard (mom of Maddux) started Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a non-profit organization of professional photographers who visit hospitals or hospices to photograph babies who will not survive. There is no religious affiliation and no exchange of money, just a CD or DVD of high-resolution, professionally processed images for the family. What started off with Maddux and his parents is now a 7,000+ member organization in the U.S.and 25 other countries.

I’m honored to announce that I’m officially one of those 7,000+ members. Last Friday, I attended the first official N.I.L.M.D.T.S. regional meeting for the Monterey Bay area, headed up by the talented Andy Rea. We’re working to affiliate ourselves with nearby hospitals so that if this sad situation arises locally, we are only a phone call away should the parents be interested in our services.

For more information and details, to locate a photographer in your area, or to apply to be a N.I.L.M.D.T.S. affiliate photographer, check out the N.I.L.M.D.T.S. website.

Peek…Aren’t You Curious Sale!

emailtemplate_freindsfamily_002I’m posting this late, but Peek…Aren’t You Curious is having a sale and today is the LAST DAY! I love that they chose this image for the ad, it was one of my faves from the summer shoot. Check out their website, updated with some more images. A happy and safe holiday to all of you! xxoo

Peek…Aren’t You Curious

spring_email311Our friends at Peek…Aren’t You Curious have updated their website with some images from the spring photo shoot. I have always loved the playful and interesting nature of the site and feel so honored to have my work showcased on the homepage! Check it out HERE and let me know what you think…are you as in love with the clothes as I am?? Don’t you think that they should make both of the above skirts in grown-up sizes?

Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend!

Art Show at Azhar Hair Design

altproc_1In all of the excitement and planning lately, I completely overlooked posting about my current art show (duh!). Here’s the info:

“Postcards from Santa Cruz ” Polariod Transfer Collages by: Jo Ann Manolis

Feb 1st-April 1st

Azhar Hair Design

507 Cedar St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Phone: (831) 426-6334

(open Tues-Sat)

Azhar is on the corner of Cedar & Cathcart, just across the street from the Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

Click HERE for a map.

This was a really fun body of work to produce, a work in progress for sure. I’ve been experimenting…dividing digital images up in Photoshop and having each piece of the image converted to slide film. I then exposed the individuals onto Polaroid 669 film (no longer being made, but I’ve been madly stocking up) and re-pieced them together as transfers onto watercolor paper. Pretty time consuming, but really fun. I will definitely share a few pieces as soon as they come down on April 1st. You guessed it, I haven’t photographed any of the pieces or the show itself yet. Pathetic, I know.

Anyhow, if you’re in the neighborhood, drop by Azhar and check it out. Let me know what you think. It’s a really great salon, worth a visit regardless. The images were all taken in Santa Cruz recently but have been displayed in a nostalgic, old-school postcard sort of way. What can I say, I’m totally old school…I’d make every image look old if I could get away with it.

Thanks for stopping by…I ‘m so glad that you visited today!

New Portrait Portfolio…coming soon!

Very few blog posts lately, but I swear I’m not slacking!


Just hard at work on some new projects that I will definitely let you know all about when I can. I’ve also been updating my website with some fresh images from the last year. Choosing the new images has been such a fun and cathartic exercise, kind of like reading old journal entries…

I finally ditched the text and image on my website’s “about” page and replaced them both with something far more personal and important to me. I wrote the text over a year ago, but wasn’t sure if it actually had a place on my website. For some reason, it just feels right now. The new photograph was taken by Pat while we were on Kauai for Scott and Amy’s wedding. I never get tired of looking at it. Pat has such a great eye and I’m excited about recruiting him this year as a second shooter. Yay! You can check out the new page HERE…let me know what you think.

Featured on!


Fun News! I just found out that Jo Ann Manolis Photography has been featured as an editor’s pick on If you haven’t heard of, you’re in for a real treat… features news stories and other cool things in the form of small blurbs and links to blogs, websites, and newspaper articles covering just about anything from world news and politics to fashion to parenting information. The blurb and link are a few days old, but are still visable on Kirtsy’s homepage. Just scroll down a little under ” Most Popular” and click on what is currently #31 “Looking forward to warmer weather” . There is a short but very sweet write up on us as well as a link to this blog. Yay! The fabulous Gabby has featured our blog and images from Peek…Aren’t You Curious‘ spring photo shoot. Many thanks to Gabby and!

Family Portrait Special!


Relaxed Family Portraits have become a labor of love for me. I simply adore doing these sessions and cannot help but pour my heart into both the capture and the final images. I always feel so privileged to get to peek into the lives of families and to witness their unique bond firsthand. It’s probably because I’m in the thick of it myself, but my passion for photographing families is growing every day. What can I say? I just love it.

So, just in time for the holidays I’d like to extend an offer to all of you:

My Family Portrait prices are going up in January of 2009, but I’m offering my 2008 prices to anyone who books a Family Portrait Session with me by Dec 31st, 2008. Once booked, your session may be scheduled for anytime in 2009 but you will still get the session for 2008 prices! Shoot me an e-mail if you’re interested.

Thanks to everyone once again for all of the well wishes, I have loved hearing from so many of you and truly appreciate your kind words. My dad is getting better each day and we’re looking at busting him out of the hospital tomorrow. Yeah! I hope that the holiday season is going well for all of you. There is so much to be grateful for!

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!