What do you need to prepare for Fotomarathon Day? We have compiled a checklist, some tips on photographing people on the streets and a short version of the rules of the game to help you get prepared. Should you have further questions, please remember to visit the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.

Be well prepared: the Fotomarathon checklist

ChecklisteTo help you to be prepared, we have created a checklist that will help you to pack everything you need for the big day! We have compiled this list out of our own experience as participants, and collecting information from photographers who have sumitted tips as well.

Download Checklist – English. To download Checklist as PDF, just click on the image.

Camera & Equipment

  • Check time and date – to ensure the photos follow the given order.
  • Set format to JPG (no RAW photos accepted) or JPG + RAW at the same time if you must.
  • Empty memory card, preferably format it before.
  • 24x35mm Film (only for analog photographers, no slide film please) As from 2018 you can also shoot with middle format film.
  • Filters
  • Tripod
  • Lens and Camera cleaning kit
  • External Flash, if you have one
  • Fresh batteries for the camera -and cable for your mobile phone
  • Fresh batteries for the flash
  • Extra batteries or charger
  • Manuals for camera and flash

Camera Settings

  • Check time and date. Make sure they are correct -the download of photos depends on this data.
  • Check camera night photography settings (i.e. without flash)
  • Check camera styles. For example black / white, sepia, etc.
  • Check self-timer options -especially useful in the evening hours

Getting Around

  • Good shoes or sneakers
  • Bicycle (incl. bike lights) and lock
  • Local transport ticket (BVG Day Pass) – you will need an extra ticket for your bicycle.
  • Berlin City map, Train and Metro Map (U- and S-Bahn)
  • BVG App for Android and iPhones- to get directions or buy tickets via your phone.

Basic Items

  • Water or sport drinks
  • Snacks (Energy bars, Cereal bars)
  • ID or Passport
  • Cash or Credit Cards

Mobile Phone

  • Charge the battery, ensure there is enough credit.
  • Save the Fotomarathon Berlin emergency number on your phone. You can find it on the theme sheets.
  • Set the phone alarm clock to 15.00, 19.00 and 23.00 as reminder of meeting times. (Only for the 12 h Fotomarathon)

Small things

  • Pen, Pencil, Markers
  • Paper pad to make notes
  • Duct tape or adhesive tape
  • Safety pins
  • Copies of a Model Release Form (or App)
  • Torchlight (also useful to light paint)

Photo Storage

  • Extra memory card (to shoot non-Fotomarathon photos)
  • Card reader
  • USB Cable (to connect camera to external hard disk or for Mobile phones, to help dowload the photos at the end-station)
  • External hard disk to copy pictures onto, before handing them in.

Weather related

  • Sun-Lotion
  • Hat or Cap
  • Rain poncho or Umbrella
  • Plastic shower cap, to protect the camera if it rains

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Photographing people on the streets

For years, the spontaneous spirit of Fotomarathon has lead to countless photos in which people’s are portrayed on the streets of Berlin. Berliners and tourists have been featured in many of the 10,000 photos that are part of the history of the Berlin Fotomarathon. Sometimes the participants bring some friends with who pose as models – but mostly it’s the people that are found on the street that provide the perfect photo for the topic that needs to be photographed at that time.

Now it may be a bit difficult to get strangers to join in, but it can also be a lot of fun. Here are a few tips that will help you to find the best models of city street photography and maybe even make some new friends to do so.

Always ask, and in a very friendly way
Remember that each person has the right to decide how they want to be portrayed. Everyone has a right to their privacy. A smile and an explanation of why you want to photograph them, and for the type of event you’re on the go are sure to bring you far.

Show off your Fotomarathon number!
Display your Fotomarathon Startnumber in such a way so that everyone can see it clearly. This way, strangers can see that you are part of a photographic event, and sometimes you’ll even get asked about it, so you have a chance to tell them about your adventure at the Berlin Fotomarathon.

Sie sind im BildShow them the card! (applies only to the summer 12h Fotomarathon)
On Fotomarathon day you’ll get a card  that helps you go up and talk to strangers, and ask them if they would like to feature on your photo. The little card is also an invitation to the exhibition, which makes it easier to contact a stranger. At the same time, you can also motivate them to come and see the photos, as they will be featured in your series at the exhibition. If they come to the exhibition using this card, two people can come in and only pay a discounted price. That´s a good deal!

Tell them your story
Once you are involved in a conversation you can tell about the Fotomarathon theme and what role they play in the photo you are trying to put together to interpret it. Everyone likes a good story, and even more so if they are also part of the story.

Discover new perspectives
How about going up the first floor of a building to take a photo from a different perspective? Maybe go up to the terrace in a bar? Just ring the bell, talk to the manager, ask them in a friendly way and tell why … and invite the people to the exhibition. Just asking can work wonders!

Do you prefer to do it formally ?
Professional photographers often ask models to sign a consent form, in which the models to agree to the use of the photographic material. Then the contact details of model and photographer are then contained. Both photographers and models keep a copy.

There are many templates. Here you can download some if you want to use it for the photo marathon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_release

Getty Images also offers templates in different languages.

Download here: http://contributors.gettyimages.com/article_public.aspx?article_id=991

There are also several apps, both as iPhone and as Android, where you can get model release forms.

Asking is risk free and potentially successful
It really costs nothing to ask and you have a greater chance to get a positive response than if you didn´t. If in doubt, it is always better to ask for permission -and not risk someone getting angry with you. You might even win a new fan of your work as a photographer when the subject of the exhibition is to see your pictures.

In short
Ask for permission with a big friendly smile, tell people your story and invite the people to be on your pictures. You will enjoy your photo experience in Berlin much more if you engage with the people who live here.

Have fun!

Basic Rules in Brief

Ahead of the Fotomarathon, here is a little countdown with tips and reminders, so that nothing can go wrong on Fotomarathon day!

DatumsanzeigeFM-Tip Nr. 1: Date settings

The Fotomarathon takes place on June 16th and you can only submit photos taken during this day. So, please check again the configuration of your camera to make sure the calendar and the clock indicate the right day. We won’t make any exceptions.


Reihenfolge einhaltenFM -Tip Nr. 2: 1,2,3…One after the other

This is like the Fotomarathon’s Mantra: shoot the photos in the sequence set out in your theme sheets. It is not possible to change the order later…and it would be sad that your series turns into an unsolved puzzle because one photo does not match the theme. Remember, photo number 1 must contain your participant number and it is one of the 12  photos you will hand in at the end. For the Mini-Fotomarathon you hand in only 6 photos.


JPGFM Tip. Nr. 3: JPG, JPG and only JPG

Yes, we know RAW is much better, but at the Fotomarathon we only accept JPG. Configure your camera to shoot JPG in high quality, to make sure that your prints for the exhibition have a good definition. If you must, you can also configure to take JPG + RAW at the same time -our software will only read the JPG photos, though. If you only photography RAW, you will not be able to submit your photos at the end-station.


tipsvorlage04FM Tip Nr. 4: Frame theme

Every year there is a new overall motto, it is the leit motiv that frames the individual photos together. As in “All for one, one for all”, your photos should have a connection to each other. How you do that is up to you. It is important that there is a series aspect to your set of photos. Your fantasy can be limitless. You can see many creative series in our photo gallery on our Homepage.


Keine BildbearbeitungFM Tip Nr. 5: Absolutely no post-processing whatsoever

This is definitely not allowed – if it happens outside of your camera. You can play with the internal settings of your camera (black and white, sepia, filters) but you cannot process them once they were taken. If you modify them after taking them, our software will recognise this when you hand in your photos and you can be disqualified.


QuerformatFM Tip Nr. 6: Landscape format and 4:3

We recommend that you shoot your photos in landscape format –based on how your photos will be shown during the exhibition Each series will be exhibited as a long horizontal strip, uncut. So if they are in landscape format, visitors can admire your photos without the risk of neck problems. For the Mini-Fotomarathon we will show all photos in a slide show, and landscape is also more adequate.

Moreover, we recommend that you set up your camera in 4:3 format. If it is not possible to configure your camera to a 4:3 format, your photos will appear in full size on the long stripe, but with a white border (above or below, left or right)

12 oder 24 FotosFM Tip Nr. 7: Hand in only 12 photos (or 9/6 during the half Fotomarathon)

During the day you can shoot as many photos as you want, but at the end there can only be 12 (or 9/6) photos to hand in. You can erase the rest as you go by, or all together just before the end. If you have more or less photos in your card, you will be disqualified. Remember also, they can only be JPG.

For Mini-Fotomarathons: here you must only hand in 6 photos.

Akkus ladenFM Tip 8: Charge your batteries

Seriously, make sure they are 100% charged. Better yet, bring an extra set of batteries if you want to be on the safe side. See our checklist for useful preparation tips.

And this goes not only for your camera…have a good night’s sleep and get ready for an exciting, creative and dynamic Fotomarthon day!

This post is also available in: German English