Photoautomat/Vintage Photo Booths in Berlin

I love Berlin. I’ve been twice now and I still haven’t done all that I want to there. When a friend told me about the restored photo booths that are totally analog/film operated, I knew I had to find one. And with twenty-five to choose from, they were quite simple to locate.

The photoautomat project was started in 2004, in a bid to bring a touch of the 1950’s and 60’s back to the vibrant capital city, and since, a cult status has surrounded the photo booths.

A sense of nostalgia surrounds the photo-strips, in a world where digital photography results in most people never actually holding their photos physically, in their hands, anymore.

Regular photo booths are still commonly placed in shops, at train stations and in town shopping centres, but the photoautomat of Berlin are unique and much more fun. Because of the lack of selfie sticks, front-facing phones and digital cameras, most people would pull their significant other or friends in to a photo booth in the 1960’s, taking a very early version of the selfie.

So, upon locating our first photoautomat, my other half and I jumped on in and inserted our two euros, then posed for the camera. But wait a minute- how do we know when it’s going to-*FLASH*- oh.. Yep. The fun of these photo booths is in the charm of not being perfectly poised and able to see how you look before it’s taken. We actually found another booth and went in again to give it another shot. Those ones turned out better!

Waiting for the strip to print is a whole other thing. Whilst it says it takes four minutes to print on the actual booth, it’s closer to ten. We waited and waited and even saw other people give up, thinking it wasn’t working, but you have to be patient.

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You can see the locations for the booths here.

Tips:

  • Print the map beforehand and plan the visit to a booth in to your day.
  • Make sure you already have the correct money in coins.
  • Get ready for the flash as soon as you put the money in and pose.
  • Images are inversed (mirrored), so if you’re planning on making a sign, like many people do, plan for this!
  • Be patient whilst the machine prints your strip. Ours seemed to take up to ten minutes, but you may need to stick your hand up the bit where it comes out in case it needs a bit of a tug!

I’m finishing the post with another photo I took in Berlin, which gave me vintage vibes.

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