Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Berlin Photo Booths

Berlin Photo BoothsLooking for something to do on Valentine's Day is always a challenge. Not one for fine dining or flowers, I am usually on the hunt for something more unique, or even a little weird.

This year, while I was contemplation my options and lack of funds, I came up with a semi-genius idea: a self-guided tour of the nearest Berlin Photoautomats. Cheap (2 for a 4 shot pic strip), a chance to explore the neighborhood and some ridiculous keepsake photos. I love a random Berlin adventure.

And Berlin is littered with Photo Booths (or Photoautomats), which is hardly surprising given the high hipster density. I had no idea how many until I asked the all-knowing Berlin Twittersphere,

I was almost immediately answered by resident all-things-Berlin expert, Digital Cosmonaut. He has been tirelessly working his way through the 111 unusual places to see in Berlin and had covered this very subject with his post, 111 Places in Berlin – Nr 88: The Black and White Fotoautomat (Check out his wonderful pictures and history lesson!).

@deutschbitte also pointed me to a map from photoautomat.de which helps identify many of the locations, with Digital Cosmonaut once again chiming in that if you are looking for a photo booth, "Kreuzberg has a very high density of them. They gravitate to the Hipster Center - like planets around the Sun."

We opted to visit the ones near us in the neighborhoods of Mitte & Prenzlauer Berg. Plenty of hipsters and photo booths to go around.

Tour of Berlin Photo Booths
Our path through the Photoautomats in Mitte / Prenzlauer Berg - updated map of current locations

Cosmonaut also added that:
  • The one on Prenzlauer Allee is poorly maintained
  • The color machine is very very slow
  • The ones on Schönhauser Allee 9 and Oranienburger are gone
@RS_5150 also offered that there are more Kauperts machines at http://berlin.kauperts.de/Adressen/Fotoautomat/F.

Thanks for all the info Twitter dudes! On to the picture taking...


I was contacted by Konrad of www.photoautomat.de and he offered the updated map of locations. He also told us that,
"Alles in allem ist das eine Sache für Liebhaber, kein knallharter Business, und wir können zwar leben von den Photoautomaten, aber nicht üppig."
Basically, photo booths are a costly labor of love. So enjoy and appreciate this almost-lost art.

Berlin Photo Booth at ACUDkunsthaus

Tour of Berlin Photo Booths

Berlin Photoautomat
"You are Beautiful"
First up was the booth off of Rosenthaler Platz, just in front of the music/theatre venue of ACUDkunsthaus and next to
Volkspark am Weinbergsweg. Located on what seems like a quiet side street, this is a happening little spot.

As we contemplated our first poses, another couple - complete with roses - appeared. Apparently they go to this photo booth almost every week. They let us go first as they prepared signs to use in their photos.

Pro tip: Signs are a genius idea! They also informed us that as soon as you put your money in the timer begins, so be ready. This seems obvious, but we saw no fewer than 3 groups fail to do this properly on our tour.


ebe - 7.5/10. Great location that is quiet enough to contemplate your poses but easy to get to. The helpful graffiti also pumps up your self-esteem. We kept our coats on for this one which led to a lot of black in the final product. 

Ian - 8.5/10. Nice location with the park on one side and the Fernsehturm looming beyond.


Veteranenstraße 21, 10119 Berlin-Mitte

Berlin Photo Booth on Kastanienallee

Berlin Photo Booth on Kastanienallee

Interior of a Berlin Photo boothNext stop took us to every-trendy Kastanienallee. It was fun to be out on Valentine's and see the dining and wining couples without actually having to take part in it. The whole experience was quite voyeuristic - perfect for the holiday.

This booth was actually two machines facing each other with the one on the left creating photos that run horizontal while the one on the right produces a vertical strip. Heavy traffic made it a bit awkward to stand in front of. "Yes, hello! We're busy taking pictures of ourselves".


ebe - 8.5/10. We accidentally took picture on the horizontal side. Shite.  It was also a bit confusing when your pictures are up. Each machine is supposed to take about 5 minutes, but this one was kinda stuck up in the machine so I had to fish it out. I did love the look of the dual machines and this machine had the best quality pics.

Ian - 8. I liked the look the best, the 2 machines coming together in a point. Bonus point for being right next to Prater Biergarten.


Kastanienallee 9, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg

Berlin Photo Booth in Kulturbraurei

Berlin Photoautomat KulturbraureiLocated in another hipster hot spot of old brewery turned theatre/club/shop space, this booth is heavily frequented by groups of young giggly teens...and us. Formerly located in Dresden, this bright pink transplant is tucked away by the grocery store entrance.


ebe - 7/10. We brought out some props for this shoot and I filmed as we made our poses which was pretty complicated for my little brain. No matter - it was fun.

Ian - 7/10. Nothing special except for its location in the location in the Kulturbraurei.


In the Hof at Kulturbraurei - Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg

Berlin Photo Booth

Berlin Photo Booth on Schönhauser Allee

Berlin Photo Booth on Schönhauser AlleeJust a short walk from Schönhauser Allee, this booth is neatly tucked into the wall so you could miss it if you weren't looking...and there weren't several groups waiting. I was so surprised that every booth we went to had people using it before or after us - or both. I wonder what kind of revenue these things generate?


ebe - 5/10. Luckily, the wait was quite short and allowed us to plan our next moves. The recent Seahawk Superbowl victory led us to a questionable football theme. We enacted the Richard Sherman face-smash, a tackle and held up a 12 for 12th man. However, we forgot the camera would inverse the image so we look like we're holding up a 21. Yet another whoops.

Ian - 6.5/10. Stuck between shops, this stop once again allowed for us to interact with another Valentine's couple. Two teens straight from the Berlin suburbs, they were not the brightest bulbs. Thanks for the entertainment kiddos.


Schönhauser Allee 63, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg

Tips on Berlin Photoautomats

Despite our many mistakes, this was a great night and one of my favorite Valentine's to date. We did learn a few things about using a Berlin photo booth so I'll pass on our new-found knowledge here:
  • Be ready to take your picture when you put the money in. You have about 10 seconds. Pose, hold, SNAP!
  • Bring coins. There is no opportunity to change money on the machines.
  • Plan your poses. While every dumb photo can be sentimental (magic of the photoautomat!), a little planning (like signs or confetti) add some serious pizazz to your photos. Our not particularly inventive poses included: glasses on the back of our head, kiss, attacking each other, reacting in horror and beach smiles.
  • Images are inversed. Plan according.
  • Most pictures are produced in under 5 minutes. Be patient, and then fish around in there in case it got caught. 
  • If you don't have access to the handy photoautomat.de map, follow the hipsters.

Tour of the Berlin Photo booths
Our Valentine's Photoautomat Photos

BONUS BOOTH: Warschauer

We recently wandered by this popular booth and couldn't resist.Photo Both with friends!

Photo Booths in Berlin

Photo Booths in Berlin

Have an update on a machine or picture you'd like to share? Leave a comment!


Anonymous said...

Awesome! Love this quirky thing to do next time we are in Berlin. Also pinning the gigantic guide you linked to :)

~ cheryl said...

Fun, inventive post! Loved watching your video - and always enjoy your ratings!

Unknown said...

Happy you enjoyed thriftytravelmama! It was simply fun. And so hope my Berlin tips are of help - I think you've already made a pretty fair dent in the city.

Glad you enjoyed Ms. mum :)

Patent Attorney said...

What a great way to explore the city, via the photobooths! I really want to explore Berlin one day!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008