If you´d like to take photos on the streets in Germany, Berlin should be your first choice. The city is extremely diverse in people, architecture and lifestyle as well as in urban landscapes.
The city has many parks in which there is much activity and Berlin is also interesting for photographers who like shapes, lines and geometry as it has some really nice geometric buildings.
For those who want to capture the alternative scene, there is Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain where you will find a lot of artists, hipsters and graffitis as well. Karl-Marx-Allee is an very interesting place where you find massive buildings from the GDR-era. Another interesting area is Tempelhof, a former airfield where people meet in order to relax, have a barbecue or go kite boarding.
Potsdamer Platz is a place for modern architecture seekers. It´s a place where you get the feeling that you are in a kind of Mini-Manhattan. I recommend the escalators going down to the S-Bahn. They are amazing for very dramatic, contrast-rich photos of by-passers. You can also head to the sightseeing platform in the „Kollhoff Tower“ and enjoy an amazing view over Berlin.
The second biggest park in the city is the so called „Große Tiergarten“ with a lot of trails and trees, but also Mauerpark is a good possibilty for taking great photos. This park is very popular among younger people and can provide interesting motives.
Train station Ostkreuz is anew great place for Street Photography in Berlin. You can make some quite dramatic, monumental shots here. My tip for you: Wait until the early evening light shines through the massive glass windows and make some photos from the stairs.
Moreover, i am recommending photo tours to places like Oberbaumbrücke, the subway stations Schönhauser Allee, Prenzlauer Allee, Eberswalder Straße, Warschauer Straße and Schlesisches Tor in order to get good photos. Find out more about Street Photography in Berlin (German) or take your personal Street Photography tour with me.
Street Photography in Hamburg
Another recommendable city for taking street photos is Hamburg which is situated close to the sea and where you will find great places and a mixture of different cultures. A good location in Hamburg is the harbour with its enormous ships and its industrial aesthetic. At the end of the harbour there is Övelgönne, a ferry station with some nice pubs and restaurants. In the area of Landungsbrücken there is also a lot going on. There you will find people of different cultures as well as a lot of tourists who are queuing up for a boat trip.
Another option for taking photos is the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof, a very old building with a nice atmosphere. A quite popular place is also Park Planten um Blomen where you can catch a more idyllic side of Hamburg. Find out more about Street Photography in Hamburg (German).
Cologne for Street Photographers
Moreover, also Cologne offers a great ambiance for Street Photographers. There you will find outstanding places in which you can catch extraordinary moments – like for example the so called Domplatte, a place which can be found on three sides of the popular Kölner Dom. Here you can find a lot of passengers and street artists surrounded by noble hotels and souvenir-shops. Next to the Kölner Dom there is the Kölner Hauptbahnhof, a steel construction with a special atmosphere. Street Photographers who like to have it a little bit more quietly can go to the Decksteiner Weiher which is quite interesting in the early evening.
Deutz is a boardwalk at the Rhein where people like to sit on rocks in front of the water so that you will find a lot of interesting motives too. Then there is the traditional Alter Markt, a popular place in the city centre with a lot of restaurants, bars and pubs. Photographers who want to take more idyllic photos can go to the Brüsseler Platz where a lot of hipsters meet and where a lot is going too. Find out more about Street Photography in Cologne (German).
Munich is a marvelous place for Street Photography
Munich also offers good motives for Street Photographers. Most visitors arrive at the Münchner Hauptbahnhof where people from different countries can be photographed in the station concourse. On the southern side of the station there is a district with shops and restaurants which are owned by people from different cultures, but you can also go to Karlsplatz Stachus where the fountain offers a good background for interesting photos. It is Munich´s most popular place for business as well as private meetings so that you will always discover people who are waiting for someone.
Another ideal place is Marienplatz which is full people and street artists too. Behind Marienplatz there is the Viktualienmarkt where typical specialities are sold and where you will see native people as well. Another good recommendation is the café in the Literaturhaus where sometimes young authors are sitting and writing. Find out more about Street Photography in Munich (German).
Street Photography in Germany and the law
Taking photos of people in the street can be quite tricky in Germany. Nevertheless only extreme cases sometimes make it to the court, e.g. if people are photographed on the beach. There are different laws in Germany like Paragraph 22 of the so called Kunsturhebergesetz which regulates the copyright for artworks. This regulation was introduced in 1907, when Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was photographed on his deathbed. Paragraph 22 forbids the publishing of pictures without the consent of the shown people, in case the people can be recognized.
Exceptions can be found in Paragraph 23 which says that an image can be published if the people in the picture are only a kind of „accessory“ in a photo, e.g. in a landscape. Public events like demonstrations or people on stage are also an exception. Another important point is that a photographer is not allowed to violate the privacy of person without permission. So you must not, for example, take photos of mourning people in a cemetery, if you don´t ask them for permission.
But although the privacy laws are stricter here, it doesn´t mean that you can´t take any street photos in Germany. People like there privacy more than in other cities but there are a lot of Street Photographers in Germany who say that it´s absolutely possible to take photos there.
So don’t hesitate and enjoy shooting in Germany! If you want to take a portrait of a stranger just ask: „Kann ich ein Foto von Ihnen machen? Ich mag Ihren Kleidungsstil“ – which means: „Can I take a picture of you? I love your style“
The best museums and galleries for Street Photographers
Gallery Camera Work
This gallery concentrates on contemporary photography as well as on vintage masterworks. (camerawork.de, Kantstraße 149, 10623 Berlin)
C/O Berlin Foundation
The C/O Berlin Foundation is one of the most popular places for exhibiting photography. It was opened in 2014 and presents exhibitions by internationally recognized photographers like Peter Lindbergh or Annie Leibovitz. (www.co-berlin.org, Hardenbergstraße 22-24, 10623 Berlin)
The Deichtorhallen is one of the biggest galleries for contemporary photography and art in Europe. The „Haus der Photographie“ presents international exhibitions with a focus on the 19th and 20th century as well as on contemporary photographers. (www.deichtorhallen.de, Deichtorstraße 1-2, 20095 Hamburg)
Photogallery Robert Morat
A gallery which exhibits new and young positions of contemporary photography. (www.robertmorat.de, Kleine Reichenstraße 1, 20457 Hamburg)
Gallery Flo Peters
A gallery for fine art photography with a focus on black and white and contemporary photography. (www.flopetersgallery.com, Chilehaus C, Pumpen 8, 20095 Hamburg)
Persiehl & Heine
A gallery for photography with an emphasis on high-quality contemporary photography. (persiehl-heine.de, Bergstraße 11, 20095 Hamburg)
michel und elbe
A small photogallery which exhibits photos that were mostly taken in Hamburg.
This photogallery was founded in 2008 and works with international photographers. (www.g3-gallery.com, Mittelweg 41a, 20148 Hamburg)
Influential German Street Photographers
A very well known German Street Photographer is Bernd Schaefers (berndschaefers.com) who developed a passion for photography quite late in his life. He chose Street Photography because he loves the magic that exists in candid moments. Bernd Schaefer is fond of the chaos that can be found in cities, however, taking phots of this chaos slows him down. He descries photography as a kind of meditation taht makes him look closer at things which we often don´t see at first sight.
Christian Reisler (www.christianreisler.com) is the curator and founder of Fenster61 and also blogs at Obst und Muse (www.obstundmuse.com). He mostly focuses on night photography and publishes the so called „Driftwood Zine“, a kind of brochure which presents photos that were taken in different cities.
Another photographer who wants to make Street Photography more popular is Fabian Schreyer (shootingcandid.com), curator of the project Via!, the Flickr group Street Sequence as well as a founding member of „The Street Collective“. For him Street Photography is a means to show the hidden secrets of daily life and a possibility to capture extraordinary moments.
Apart from working as a freelance photographer for different magazines Frank Silberbach (www.silberbach-berlin.de) also makes his own projects. Extensive travels led him to America, Africa, Asia and Europe and he was also a founding member of the photographic gallery zff-Zentrum that can be found in Berlin.
A quite famous Street Photographer who was also profiled in the book „Street Photography Now“ is Siegfried Hansen (www.street-photography-hamburg.siegfried-hansen.de). Apart from taking photos of faces or bodies he creates graphic compositions with which he wants to present the aesthetics of coincidence in public areas.
Max Slobodda (www.slobodda.de) focuses on the banality and triviality which take place on the streets every day. For him the street is a photographic playground and he tries to look for situations in which an object or a subject become one with the environment.
Martin U Waltz (https://streetberlin.net) concentrates on exploring the emotions that exist in a city and change between happiness, boredom and being afraid. His compositions are geometrical, nevertheless he describes them as poetic as well.
Street Photography Collectives in Germany
Many photographers in Germany also belong to a Street Photography Collective like Berlin1020 (berlin1020.com) with its members Sebastian Jacobitz, Alexy Pfeiffer, Oliver Krumes, Roland Groebe, Martin U Waltz and Chris Candid. They all live in Berlin and often meet to take photos together or to have constructive discussions about their pictures. Moreover, they also talk about new things that are happening in the Street Photography Scene.
Then there is Seconds2Real, a collective of German and Austrian Street Photographers who focus on showing their life in these two countries. All the photographers know each other but their activities as a collective have ended this year. Nevertheless the website (www.seconds2real.org)can still be visited in order to have a look at their exhibitions and publications. VIA! is a German-/Italian photography project which involves ten photographers who try to document daily life in their countries. Their work is then presented on a blog or in different exhibitions.
Another collective is Soul of Street (www.soulofstreet.de) that also publishes a Streetphotography Magazine in which they present interviews with well-known Street Photograpers or interesting articles about Street Photography in general. Furthermore, they organize photowalks and everybody who wants to join can take part for free.
Munich Street Collective is a group of 9 very active Street Photographers who are organizing exhibitions, Street Photography walks and much more in the Bavarian metropolis Munich.
Street Photography Workshops and courses in Germany
If you are interested in taking part in a Street Photography Workshop in Germany there are different opportunities. In the following you will find an overview of interesting offers:
Street Photography, Short Course in Berlin (www.shortcoursesportal.com)
Until June 2018 you can apply for the workshop „Street Theater“ at the University of Applied Sciences Europe – BiTS and BTK in Berlin. The workshop concentrates on theoretical as well as practical aspects of Street Photography and the participants will have the opportunity to take photos of the pulsating street life in the popular city. During the workshop every participant will work on his/her portfolio in order to create a personal narrative which is connected with the topic.
Street Art Tour (www.berlinschoolofphotography.com)
The Berlin School of Photography offers a Street Art Tour which lasts three hours and gives participants the opportunity to improve their Street Photography skills. Together with a professional photographer you will explore Berlin Kreuzberg and its greates hotspots.
Street Photography Workshops in Berlin with Martin U Waltz (streetberlin.net)
For people who want to learn the basics of Street Photography or improve their techniques Martin U Waltz offers personal workshops in which participants can find their own style or master composition in Street Photography. Together with the photographer you will find interesting motives, you will learn to capture the right moment and how to edit your pictures as well.
Workshops with Siegfried Hansen (www.street-photography-hamburg.siegfried-hansen.de)
Siegfried Hansen offers workshops for groups as well as for individuals in which he focuses on perception and the development of your own imagery.
Photography Courses in Studio Bambek (www.stefan-roehl.com)
The studio offers different workshops in groups and also coachings for individuals.
Workshops by Knipsakademie (knipsakademie.de)
The Knipsakademie offers workshops for Street Photographers in Munich which last one day and can be attended by beginners as well as by advanced persons.
Workshops by Street Photography Munich (www.street-photography-munich.net)
Street Photography Munich also offers workshops for one day with a maximum of eight participants.
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