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!

Bliss {Santa Cruz Family Portrait Photographer}

A beautiful evening with a gorgeous family…











Thanks, guys for such a fun afternoon and for bringing me to this amazing spot. It was the perfect backdrop for your beautiful crew, full of sunshine, beauty, joy, and love! xo, J

The golden hour {Aptos, CA family portrait photographer}

I love this family. We met up at one of their favorite beaches on one of the most beautiful evenings of the year and I left feeling grateful to know them.

Thank you, beautiful people for sharing such a glorious evening with me. Love to you all! xxoo

Rollin’ {Santa Cruz family portrait photographer}

I got to tag along with this sweet family as they rolled around the West Side on a gorgeous November evening. It didn’t feel much like work.

Thank you E, G, G, & I for such a lovely time, it was an honor and a joy. West Cliff Drive was shining even more brightly than usual with your smiling faces rolling along. xo, J


It is so much fun watching a family grow. In age, in numbers, in love.

Thanks, guys. You made it an even more beautiful evening. All my love, always. xo

Life is beautiful {Santa Cruz family portrait photographer}

After a few foggy evenings, the sun came out in all its glory for this beautiful family…and I know that it was not by coincidence.

Dear, dear J, C, C, & C…what can I say? Your beauty radiates and shines every day, but on this day I got to see it up close. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so very much.

All my Love, J

apples, apples {Santa Cruz family portrait photographer}

This sweet family was visiting from Prague and once again made time to have their family portraits taken. We had such a wonderful evening. I love these boys…they transported me back to a time when all that mattered was climbing the apple tree and scoring the biggest apple.

N,J,A,A, & Little E…thank you for meeting up with me. It was a pleasure and an honor to photograph your beautiful family once again. I’ll think of you and smile every time pass by the apple trees at the ranch from now on.

Much love and safe travels to you all, Jo Ann

Steph & Gil {Santa Cruz wedding photography}

Steph and Gil are both incredibly genuine, kind, and loving, so it was no surprise to Pat and I when we found their friends and families to be just the same. We loved so many things about their beach wedding…the fabulous Australian contingent, the hilarious wedding party, the rockin’ reception with some of the best music we’ve ever heard at a wedding. And of course we can’t forget the neighbors and complete strangers who showed up from a nearby campground with shovels in tow, ready to save the ceremony site from being washed away by an unusually large summer swell. It was clear that this wedding was meant to be.

Steph and Gil, it was an incredible honor to be a part of your wedding. Thank you for having us and for making us feel like part of your family. We wish you both much joy and laughter as you begin this next chapter of your grand adventure. With much love, Pat & Jo

Special Thanks to:

The Bride & Groom and their families.

Our new friends atSun and Life Photography for the referral.

Five Star Catering for the delicious food.

Marina Sousa of Just Cakes for the amazing cake.

Mary at Azhar hair design for Steph’s timeless do! (831)426-6334

Asher Nicholson for singing and playing the acoustic guitar so beautifully.

Beach Love {Santa Cruz Family Portrait Photography}


On this particular evening my job was unbelievably easy. When there is this much love and joy the magic just happens on its own. I simply watch and  press the shutter. Thank you E,G,E,P,&C for a beautiful evening…I can still feel your love for each other. It was a tremendous honor. Love to you all. xo


“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
― Will Rogers

Summer Love {Santa Cruz family portrait photography, Santa Cruz baby photography}

Thank you, beautiful family for sharing your evening with me.

I love this time of year…