Street photography in Berlin, like any city that has been through the changes of history, will offer a street photographer interesting motifs to photography. There are captures everywhere – you just have to keep your eyes peeled.
Kreuzberg Gal, Berlin. 2021
None of the below text is legal advice – just a street smart rule of thumb way to practise street photography in Berlin.
Even though when practising street photography in Berlin there are laws to adhere to, it is still legal to include people in your photographs.
You should at least have a look through the data protection laws regarding images which is in fact an appendix to the data laws regarding text and speech etc.
Lawyers have already said that it isn’t a perfect law, far from it; but, in obvious cases of street portraits, close-ups, and shots where the subject of the photo is obviously a private person who hasn’t given any permission to take a photograph of them, they can prosecute the photographer in court proceedings.
Often, in the rare case of meeting a person who objects to you taking street shots, you might hear them demand that you “hand over your camera” for inspection. Don’t do this, it’s your private property. Nor are you obliged to show them your last set of shots to ensure them you haven’t taken a photo of them. Your personal rights to privacy are the same as theirs. Use discretion about being polite and ensuring a worried person that they are not in your shots.
Sometimes it can be a person who seriously doesn’t want to be ‘found out’ to be living in Berlin, or that they are having lunch with the wrong partner. That happens.
If they doubt your answer that you haven’t taken their photo – then, they can take you to court to find out – if you don’t have their photos, it won’t go much further than a couple of lawyers who will inspect the existing evidence. Or non-existent evidence.
Street photography in Berlin is perfectly legal. You can create artistic compositions including people who help to build the composition – just be sure that when you frame the shot it doesn’t end up being a close up of a private person’t face.
Street photography is candid photos of life on the street. Normally, it’s practised in cities and large towns where there are a lot of busy streets.
You can get good ideas about what a street photography shot could look like by studying the masters of photographer. many great photographers used the streets to create and capture the qualities of a city, its people, at work and play in everyday situations.
There are opportunities to create your own style, geometrical shapes of shadows and light juxtaposed with passing people, colour shots of buildings’ siding and cladding, people’s clothing that matches or contrasts with the surroundings. These are the materials that a street photographer works with.
Also, study the painters. Go right back through history and find styles and forms of painting where people and streets are depicted and artistically handled to create art – it’s a goldmine of information and inspiration for a street photographer.
None of the above is legal advice – just a street smart rule of thumb way to practise street photography in Berlin.
You can use any camera and lens that suits you. Find out which street photography lens is best for your way of looking at the street.
Potsdamer Platz and Scooter – Early Evening
When you go out and search for street photos, you just need to feel, and look, and then things will occur; compositions will form in front of your eyes, shadows will loom up and create jagged edges that offer ideas for a simple but enjoyable composition to frame with your camera. It doesn’t matter if you only have a mobile phone camera, or an expensive´ve top of the range job, you can do street photography whenever it pleases you. It’s a relaxing experience that creates harmony in the mind and body.
Friedrichstrasse Passagen. A bright sunny morning in spring. Photo by the author
Bahnhof Ubahn with bikes
Government Quarter Berlin, 2021