Where to do your photoshoot?

Location is everything when it comes to your photoshoot. You want it to be beautiful but also represent you and your personality. This list will feature parks, beaches and city locations. Find one that fits you best and if you don't see something that interest you here, TALK TO ME! I'd love to come up with somewhere new and creative with you! Otherwise, enjoy my list of favorite places to shoot in Palm Coast and the surrounding areas.

Listed in this post:

  • Washington Oaks State Park
  • Flagler Beach Pier
  • Downtown Saint Augustine
  • River to Sea Preserve (Marineland Beach)
  • Princess Place Preserve
  • Matanzas Inlet beach
  • Castle Otttis
  • Saint Augustine Lighthouse

Washington Oaks State Park

A place with a little bit of everything!

This location is my top recommendation to pretty much everyone and the reasons are pretty obvious. This park is incredibly maintained and provides some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Florida. People come from all over the state to see this park. It is especially great for photoshoots because it has a ton of variety in terms of backdrops. The number one most recommended location from my clients is the GIANT OAK in the middle of the botanical garden area. It is absolutely magnificent and you can't really grasp the size of it until you're standing under it. I've learned the perfect time of day to be there so that the sunlight is streaming beautifully through the mossy oaks. Not far from the oak trees is a beautiful rose garden that the wonderful rangers at the park maintain year round. The roses are absolutely stunning when in bloom and probably my favorite place to shoot in the park! If the roses were not enough romantic vibes for you, try the gazebo, surrounded by a magical little pond featuring several fountains and beautiful plants everywhere!

If you walk far enough into the park you will find the inner-coastal waterway. The water here is very calm and peaceful. The way the sun sets on this coast, means that the sun will set over these waters instead of the ocean side waters - meaning beautiful LIGHT. (If you know how to use it.)

Think this place is beautiful but you were hoping for some BEACH photos? Well, you are in luck. Because this park also happens to feature one of the most beautiful beaches I've had the pleasure of coming across on this entire coast. The entrance to the beach is just across A1A from the main garden entrance. The road itself provides a cool landscape for photos, with tall wispy grass on all sides. The beach stretches for miles without any tall buildings - leaving the horizon natural and beautiful. A small walk down the beach provides you with some amazing beach rocks that wash under the tide. These make for a very cool spot for posing on.

The restrictions:

Additional Cost: $5 per car

The park charges $5 per car and they more than earn it for maintaining such a beautiful place. You are responsible for fees charged to the photographer as well, so $5 will be added to your invoice and you will pay the other $5 when you enter the park. Please bring the $5 for the park in cash.

Time: As I mentioned above, this park provides a ton of variety in backgrounds. The problem is that it takes TIME to move from location to location, especially if you want to take photos in both the garden, and the beach areas. I can work in one location or the other in sessions with less than 40 minutes. If your session has 40 minutes or longer, I can split the time in half. However this will be a little bit rushed. If you want the full 'Washington Oaks' experience with all of the beautiful backgrounds included, I recommend booking an hour or longer.

Crowds: Unfortunately, this place is not a well kept secret. When I'm shooting there on Saturday evenings during golden hour (The best time for photographers to shoot for lighting), we are likely to see at least 3-4 other photographers there working with their own clients. Sometimes we may have to wait for the most popular spots to open up. (like under the big oak tree or in front of the gazebo) However, if booked on a week day or a less popular time of year, this can be avoided and typically isn't a huge problem.

Flagler Beach Pier

The Urban Beach

Flagler beach is the perfect infusion of beach and urban feelings. Right along the beach is an adorable little beach town featuring cute beach shops, Ice cream parlors and unique mural painted walls. Walking around the town will provide us with several different backdrops you might not have previously considered. Several of the shops have colorful murals or plants overgrowing the sides of the buildings. The pier itself looks great in the background, breaking up the usually flat horizon of beach photos. I also love to get right up under the pier for a new and interesting perspective.

I would love to take advantage of some of the local shops here and do something more "Lifestyle". Meaning I'd like to have you buy yourself some ice cream/hot chocolate/donuts and let me photograph you enjoying yourself on the beach in a more candid style. Talk to me if you're interested in doing this!


Crowd: This is a popular beach and during the day it is guaranteed to have beach goers all over the place. I would only recommend shooting at this location at sunset or sunrise, and even then we will likely be dodging people. It is always manageable though!

castillo de san marcos

One of the main attractions in Downtown Saint Augustine is Castillo De San Marcos - a national monument. Or as the locals affectionately call it, 'The Fort'. I know it doesn't look like it's in the middle of a downtown area but it's right there in the middle of everything, situated between the intercoastal waterway and the grand historic city of saint Augustine. If you are a history buff visiting the area for the first time, I highly recommend a tour. However, you don't need to purchase tickets to go inside to get your photos taken around the outside! Walking around the outside of the fort is completely open to the public. You can bring a picnic blanket and enjoy your lunch in the lush greenery around the walls.


Additional Cost: $20

The parking garage in the area charges $20. Yes, sometimes you can find street parking or parking at the fort but it is always paid and not always available. To avoid searching the streets for parking and risking being late for your shoot, I always just park in the central parking garage for $20. This will be added to your invoice if you choose this location and you will be responsible for your own parking when the time comes.

Optional Cost: Entrance to Castillo De San Marcos historic monument is an additional cost. As mentioned above, it is not necessary to gain entrance to shoot around the outside of the fort. But if you want to shoot inside, you will need to pay entrance for yourself and I. Pricing is subject to change any time so you can find the info here: PRICING INFO

Crowds: This is obviously a very populated area. There will be people in the backgrounds of some of your photos and you simply have to be accepting of that. I always try to angle people out the best I can and edit out people when possible in post processing but it is not always possible. Sometimes it can take time to wait for people to clear the area enough to take an ideal photo.

Marineland Beach

The Perfect Beach

If you're looking for JUST beach phots and are not interested in the garden backgrounds of Washington Oaks, River to Sea preserve is the place for you. This beach is also called Marineland Beach, depending on what search engine/map app you are using. I love this beach because it has these HUGE rocks right at the entrance of the beach that are perfect for posing on. So it is ideal for families who have members that can't walk far distances. There is also a pier that runs horizontal to the beach that has wheelchair accessible ramps. So finally, a place where your disabled family members can still be a part of the family beach photo!


Time of Day: I only recommend doing photoshoots at this location within an hour of sunset or sunrise. There is absolutely no shade on this beach and I strongly advise against shooting in harsh, direct sunlight. While it is possible, it does not provide the same type of lighting usually shown in my portfolio.

Princess Place Preserve

For when you're "not really a beach person"...

When you live in Florida it can almost be expected that you will have your photos taken on the beach. However their are still beautiful locations NOT on the beach and 'Princess Place Preserve" is one of them! It is over 1500 pristine acers of land with large open fields, beautiful marshlands, nature trails and towering oak trees. Views of the Matanzas River provide a little bit of water that reflect beautiful sunset skies! Check out the Princess Place Preserve website to find out more about what you can find here. Plenty of history to uncover as well as activities to keep you busy all day!


Dirt Roads: The road into the preserve is UNPAVED and while it is well maintained, it can be a little bit rough on low riding cars. Your car wont be damaged but this is a fair warning to anyone who wants to keep their car sparkling!

Matanzas Inlet

If you're looking for a beach vibe with calmer waters - Matanzas Inlet is your place. I walk you a small way down the beach until we pass some driftwood that protects a private little portion of the beach. This makes the perfect romantic spot for a couples photoshoot but could also be used for families! I'm sure kids would love climbing all over the driftwood! I would not recommend this spot to anyone who doesn't want to get wet. Part of the enjoyment of the inlet is that you can wade into the water quite a ways without having to swim. This makes for fun and unique photos! If you look close in the background of some of the photos, you can see the historic Matanzas fort on the horizon line.


Crowds: On hot summer days this place can be pretty crowded and therefor eliminates the 'Private romantic beach' vibe. I wouldn't recommend it for weekend bookings and would still be prepared to be dodging beach-goers with umbrellas.

Castle Otttis

For the romantics that want to feel like royals

I can't say enough good things about this Castle. I get beyond thrilled whenever my clients decide to book here! It is quite literally a CASTLE just off the road in Vero Beach, Florida. In case you're not from Florida - We don't get many castles around here. So this is pretty amazing. Your friends are going to think you took a trip to Ireland!

This castle is privately owned and the owner is incredibly friendly! They host tours and Sunday services if you want to check it out on your own.

When I shoot here I like to start at the front to try and get the entire castle in frame. Then we move inside where everything feels truly magical. The way the light floods into this building will make you feel like you are literally being touched by the light of the divine. A huge spiral staircase stands in one of the corners and is one of my all time favorite spots to shoot. Something about the way the light casts in this area and the framing of the spiral staircase just makes my heart sing!

If the location doesn't seem magical enough to you yet, wait till you see the view from the roof at sunset! The owner will escort us up the spiral staircase to the roof of the castle where you can see the ocean! When the sun is going down over the horizon, the sky is absolutely stunning combined with the architecture of the towers.


Additional Cost: $150

The castle is privately owned property. The owner requires $150 up front to book the castle for an hour long photoshoot. An hour is the MINIMUM booking time for this location.

Saint Augustine Lighthouse

I know the photo above probably doesn't represent the lighthouse the best, but ITS MY FAVORITE IMAGE EVER. And it is in-fact, at the top of the Saint Augustine Lighthouse right after this guy PROPOSED!!!! I know this is off topic for this blog post but guys.... there was a RAINBOW in the sky. It was magic. Anyway, I'll get back to telling you about why you should or shouldn't do your photoshoot here!

I want to start by saying that the lighthouse is a very cool destination to see and is a very interesting experience. HOWEVER, It is not one of my TOP recommended locations for a photoshoot. I'll tell you why, but that does not mean I won't shoot here. I just want you to know about the restrictions before we do. First of all, the hike to the top of the lighthouse is not one you should take lightly. If you are not well in shape, it can leave you dripping in sweat by the time you get to the top and that's not something you want for your photos. Also, photos at the top of the lighthouse are restrictive in the sense that there is not a ton of space up there. Much of the lighthouse itself won't be visible in the photos and you'll mostly see the railing and the view from the top. (Which is breathtaking, by the way.)

The grounds around the lighthouse is where you are going to get the shots you probably imagined when you heard "lighthouse". Getting the entire lighthouse in the frame actually means you have to go a fair distance away from it, which can make it seem smaller than it really is. And the lighthouse is NOT located on a beach like you might be imagining. It is surrounded by a park and tour building. It can still provide some beautiful photos though!

But even when surroundings are not ideal, I can always find somewhere to photograph my client! This location is a perfect example. People book it because they think the lighthouse will make a perfect backdrop but its placement means that isn't really the case. But every location has SOMEWHERE that provides a good background if you are just a bit creative with your framing.


Additional Cost: $15 per person

The lighthouse has an entrance fee to enter the grounds and go up the lighthouse. You will be responsible for paying for yourself and I, as the photographer.

In conclusion,

There are tons of beautiful locations along the Florida coast and beyond. I'm open to shooting absolutely anywhere but these are the locations where I'd start. I'm always eager to shoot somewhere new! Here are a few more ideas I have that I don't have photo examples of:

Boneyard Beach - Jacksonville

Pier arcade - Daytona Beach

European Village - Palm Coast

Amazing Grace Family Farm - Jacksonville

Any Fast Food place


Parking Garage Rooftop (With city skyline)

I'm excited to shoot with you, no matter where it is!

-Courtney King

(Owner and Photographer of Lunar Kiss Photography)