The mere production of a photo or video recording only rarely constitutes a prohibited violation of the right to one’s own image (information on criminal law aspects can be found here). The right to one’s own image is affected much more frequently when photographs or video recordings are made accessible to the general public.
Basically, if a photo or video of a person is to be published (e.g. on a website or social media), consent must be obtained from them in most cases.
Exceptions exist according to the KunstUrhG only if the persons appear as “accessory”. This requires that it is not the person(s) but the depicted landscape or locality that shapes the content of the image. It is important to note that the number of people in a picture is not an indication of its classification as an accessory. Thus, it is often mistakenly assumed that images of smaller groups are exempt from the requirement of consent.
The GDPR also allows the publication of images without consent in individual cases via the so-called assessment of interests. This applies, for example, to the publication of team photos in clubs or larger sporting events (for further information, see the handout of the data protection authority of Baden-Württemberg). Photographs taken for journalistic-editorial purposes also do not require consent, as these are covered by the media privilege.
If photographs of buildings or objects are published, the copyright of the artist or architect must again be considered. The so-called “Panoramafreiheit” (freedom of panorama) only applies if the object of the photograph is located in the public sphere. This means that a photograph of the exterior of an unusual building may be published by anyone if it can be seen from public property. Indoor art installations, on the other hand, do not fall under this exception (for more information on “Panoramafreiheit”, click here).