Your Local Cafe/Coffee Shop
One of my favorite places to hang out most often are at cafe's.
PROS: They're semi-private places and people taking pictures of themselves or their companions is a common day occurrence. People wouldn't bother you so much and most of the time, coffee shops are really nicely decorated. It's also easy to fix yourself up or wear the wig at the cafe itself.
CONS Chair availability and lighting, as you shouldn't bother people as much there's really no room for massive lighting equipment. Besides you aren't renting the place! So you'd do well to at least be prepared to process the tinges of yellow of your face or to compensate for the lack of light through flash or small reflectors.
But remember to actually buy things from it and not overcrowd one table. It's one thing to take shoots for free at a place, it's another to rob them of their customers.
Public parks + Empty lots
The picture on the right hand side is better lit than the one that was shot in a parking lot due to over exposure and uncontrollable wind. My wig was flying all over the place and so were my fringes. A slight wind can toss a wig all over the place and make you less like the character you're trying to portray as you can see
I've always been astounded by my friends who go around public parks and do all sorts of poses. It's something that's completely nerve-wracking for me. (And that's why I usually rent studios as well) But sometimes, you can't get plants and other such greenery in studios, there's also a lack of 'texture' if you just go to a studio.
PROS: Texture and bokeh for the image, there's a lot of possibilities for the composition of your images. There's always the possibility of a beautiful sky shot, or the wind giving you an added visual beauty through uplifted skirts and twirling wigs. Plus if it's not free, you usually just have to pay a minimal fee of more or less 50 php or a dollar or less.
CONS:: Not for the weak of heart, I was really anxious as people started to wave at me. And as children started to just stare at me through fenced walls. And although there were times that I forgot about the fright, it always does come back as people tend to really flock over people in costumes. Plus Public parks mean all sorts of people from all walks of life. Not all of them will respect your 'privacy' and will jump in to get pictures of you as well.
Vacant lots, Parking lots, and Rooftops
As long as you don't start setting up lighting equipment and reflectors you won't really be bothered. They'll leave you to your whims. Most people go along their business in places like these!
PROS: Does not hurt the wallet, texture galore and composition is something that should be easy to come by. There's also wide open spaces that usually make a picture breath taking. It also makes it feel "real" unlike the white background photos I usually go for.
Cons: No place to retouch, and you would have to get to these places with most of your costume already on. Which means being ogled from wherever you parked/came from up to where the empty lot is. Another is there really isn't any place to retouch and you're at the mercy of nature. If it rains, then let's hope your makeup is waterproof! (And so is your photographer's gear)
I hope this helps someone out there!
As shooting shouldn't be 'just a dream' if you've worked hard for a costume, am sure you can muster up the courage and organize a shoot with friends!