One of the things that I love most about what I do is photography. I especially love getting a group of friends together, along with a few of my handmade clothes and anything they want to shoot, and doing a guerrilla photoshoot. Guerrilla photography is when a photographer shoots in public without permits. It's also often done on a very low (or no) budget, without special equipment like lights, umbrellas, reflectors...and usually relatively quickly.
To some people, the term 'guerrilla' also means that it's an act of rebellion - the term originates from use in describing certain styles of political uprising. This type of photography can be a bit controversial, because often we're using buildings that are businesses or homes (but only a small part.) For a really cool example of feminist Guerilla art - check out the Guerrilla Girls. We are not this radical, but I hope that in some way, our photos do shake up some norms.
Because Guerrilla photography can be a little outside one's comfort zone, I've compiled my seven top tips for a good guerrilla photoshoot.
1. Be quick. When you're shooting in public without permits, it's best to be quick. We always all drive in the same vehicle, so that when we see a good location, we can stop and jump out all together. We keep the cameras out, drive around in what we're going to wear, and have our accessories ready to go, so that we can stop, drop, and roll.
2. Stay hydrated & bring SNACKS. One of the things that you can forget to do on photoshoot day is remember to nourish the body! We bring a little "craft services" bag with us in the car with plenty of water and granola bars, nuts, fruit, and chocolate.
3. Drive the back roads. Some of our locations are well-known landmarks around town, but others we've only found by heading out to the country. We are suckers for old farms, falling-down buildings, and old graffiti. Often these are only found off the beaten path, so don't be afraid to 'waste time' driving around in the middle of nowhere...that's usually where the best stuff is hidden in plain sight.
4. Stay open-minded. When we drive around looking for places to shoot, we give each other the opportunity to choose spots, If one person in the team 'sees it' - we listen. Its easy to overlook the 100th tan building you've seen in a day, but if your shoot buddy sees it and likes the lines or texture, or just the vibe, give it a shot. Sometimes just making that one team member happy for an hour is worth it in order to make the rest of the day go smoothly. Give everyone a chance to try their vision!
5. Gather a good shooting group. Nothing wrecks shoot day faster than one grumpy person in a full car. It takes a special kind of person to go with the flow of a guerilla shoot, because it's so spontaneous. People need to be able to change clothes quickly, not be embarrassed to either model or shoot in front of traffic, and to be flexible. This isn't the shoot to bring that friend who takes ten minutes to set up each shot...unless you have more than one camera...
6. Bring multiple cameras. When we shoot, even if we only have one camera, everyone is doing multiple tasks. We have one person on camera, one person taking shots with their phone, and people switching off taking pics and modeling. This works best when you have a group who all are into social media, or who all need pics for something...because everyone wants to both GET pics and BE IN pics.
7. Make lots of stops. While you're out running around shooting, make multiple stops. Get a few pics at one location, and then move on. It's easy to fall in love with one stop and spend all day there (as long as nobody tells you to go, you essentially have all the time in the world). BUT, then you have a million shots of one outfit. Or a million shots all with the same vibe. And that has its uses, but for my purposes, I like to have the one outfit shot lots of ways, or many outfits in many settings. 3 or 4 good pics at one location can be as good as 100 - because its the variety of images that will keep your viewers interested and entertained.