Get Great Photos of Your St. Augustine Family Vacation

St. Augustine Family Vacation PhotoSince we bought the cottages on Vilano Beach, we have been lucky enough to work with scores of families planning their St. Augustine family vacation!

It’s always fun to meet the families when they come into town…there are so many happy reunions between relatives who do not see each other very often. There’s lots of hugging, and laughing, and of course eating.

If you’re planning a family vacation this year, take your planning one step further and plan a family photo as well. If you’re like most modern families, it probably isn’t too often that you’re all together. Even if you are close-knit, it’s awesome to look back and remember your happy times at the beach.

Happy couple relaxing on dock over the water; photo by Kate Gardiner

Kate Gardiner is a local photographer who has done a number of shoots for us. She is an expert at making people comfortable, and capturing relaxed, happy photos of big groups of people, and is the brilliant artist behind the lens of all photography featured in this post.

She has some great tips if you’re planning to get a photo of your St. Augustine family vacation this year! Here are her top four:

Do it sooner rather than later.

If you’re coming for a few days, Kate suggests that you plan your session early in your visit. That gives you some leeway if the Florida weather doesn’t cooperate on your first scheduled time. Plus, Kate points out that the likelihood of sunburnt faces and strong tan lines increases the longer you’re in town. But don’t plan the session for your first day–give the kids (and grown-ups!) time to recover from the travel!

Time it perfectly.

There are two golden times of day when the sunlight is extra pretty for photos–sunrise and sunset. Kate prefers sunrise, especially if you have kids under 8–it’s generally a happier time of day for littles. Plus, Kate says promising the kids donuts after the shoot works acts as a great incentivizer–even for teenagers! If you do decide to do a sunset shoot, plan an easy day–maybe with a nap built in for everyone.

Young happy family posing on the beach; photo taken by Kate Gardiner

What (not) to wear.

Remember those family pictures in the 80s where everyone wore khakis and white shirts? Kate recommends choosing a more modern, and more interesting, color palette. While khakis look clean and consistent, they blend in with the subtle natural shades of the beach in the morning. A better option is to choose a theme and ask people to stick with it. For instance, the family above who told their members to all wear pastels (you may even want to assign different colors to the different branches of the family tree). Or the family below who chose navy and red as their primary family color, then played off variations of that in the kids’ clothing.

If you’re having problems visualizing what would look great on your family, give Kate a call–she can help you plan the perfect photo session–from top to toe!

Beyond the beach.

We talked about the beach here because of the large number of families who stay in our beach cottages, but St. Augustine has lots of interesting backdrops. Think about the fort, or some of our beautiful walls and doors, or even the seawall across from the inn. Again, your photographer can help you bring your vision to life!

Family Vacation St. Augustine photography on beachSummer photography sessions book up almost as quickly as our beach cottages do, so book your stay and your photos now. You’ll create a visual memory that you can look back on for years!

SPECIAL BONUS: As an added bonus for our guests, Kate has agreed to give any guests who mention our name a $25 gift credit towards the ordering of prints from your 2019 family session! You can find her contact information on her website at, or by calling 904-466-9008.